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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Texas A&M outfielder Jace Laviolette (17) reacts in the dugout after Texas A&M’s game against Tennessee at the NCAA Men’s College World Series finals at Charles Schwab Field in Omaha, Nebraska on Monday, June 24, 2024. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)
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Texas A&M pitcher Kaiden Wilson (30) delivers a pitch during Texas A&M’s game against Tennessee at the NCAA Men’s College World Series finals at Charles Schwab Field in Omaha, Nebraska on Saturday, June 22, 2024. (Chris Swann/The Battalion)
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Texas A&M outfielder Jace Laviolette (17) reacts in the dugout after Texas A&M’s game against Tennessee at the NCAA Men’s College World Series finals at Charles Schwab Field in Omaha, Nebraska on Monday, June 24, 2024. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)
United they fall
June 24, 2024
Texas A&M pitcher Kaiden Wilson (30) delivers a pitch during Texas A&M’s game against Tennessee at the NCAA Men’s College World Series finals at Charles Schwab Field in Omaha, Nebraska on Saturday, June 22, 2024. (Chris Swann/The Battalion)
Winner-take-all
June 23, 2024

A&M falls to Ole Miss in front of record Kyle Field crowd

A sold out Kyle Field was filled with 110,633 fans Saturday night to watch a nationally televised matchup between No. 3 Ole Miss and No. 14 Texas A&M. The game failed to live up to the hype, however, as the Rebels rolled over A&M, 35-20.
“We are appreciative of the fans,” Sumlin said. “110,000 people; I think we set a couple of records tonight. It was a great atmosphere. It was disappointing, but Ole Miss had a lot to do with that with us offensively not being consistent.”
Saturday’s attendance was an all-time high for attendance for an SEC game, Kyle Field, or any game – professional or college – in the state of Texas.
For the second week in a row, the normally potent Aggie offense was kept quiet, scoring only 20 points against a staunch Rebel defense. The Land Sharks, as the Ole Miss defense is known, swarmed all night, allowing just 54 yards on 35 carries.
“Stuff wasn’t happening,” junior center Mike Matthews said of the running game. “As an O-line, we’ve got to take that on our shoulders. We’ve got to block better and we’ve got to create holes for those running backs. We just weren’t able to make it happen.”
Not satisfied with just keeping the opposition off the board, the Rebel defense found the end zone twice – once on an interception and once on a fumble, both courtesy of A&M quarterback Kenny Hill.
“We had two turnovers for 14 points,” Sumlin said. “It’s hard to win whenever that happens, particularly against a team of that caliber. [Ole Miss is] an excellent football team.”
After finding themselves in an early hole, the Aggies looked to salvage their first promising drive in the second quarter – finding themselves within field goal range with 1:09 to go in the half. But, instead of attempting a 45-yard field goal, A&M elected to run a fake. Holder Conner McQueen was stopped well short of the first down marker and A&M turned the ball over on downs.
For the first time since 2010, A&M was held scoreless in the first half; they entered the break down 21-0.
“There were a number of times today where we just got whipped,” Sumlin said. “It’s kind of hard to fix that.”
The Aggies finally got on the board with a three-yard touchdown run from Trey Williams to make the score 21-7. Any notion of a comeback was quickly vanquished when Hill’s fumble was returned for a touchdown to put the Rebels back up by three scores.
“Turnovers. That’s my fault,” Hill said. “I had three turnovers and two of them were for touchdowns. We can’t win like that; that’s on me.”
The Aggies outgained the Rebels 192 to 31 in the fourth quarter, but it was far too little, too late. Hill hit wide receivers Josh Reynolds and Sabian Holmes for touchdowns – the latter as time expired – late in the game, but the ending was a foregone conclusion.
Hill finished the game 42-of-53 for 401 yards and two touchdowns, but also had two interceptions and a fumble.
After giving up five touchdowns last week to Mississippi State quarterback Dak Prescott, the defense faced a similar challenge in Ole Miss quarterback Bo Wallace. Both are big guys who are threats to run or throw on every play.
“I knew coming in we were going to have two of the same quarterbacks in Bo Wallace and Dak Prescott,” senior defensive lineman Ivan Robison said. “It’s just something we’re going to have to get better as a team – tackling against those read-zone types of teams – because Auburn also has that same type of offense.”
The much-maligned A&M defense only gave up 21 points to the Ole Miss offense, but that didn’t make the loss feel any better.
“I’m very frustrated,” sophomore middle linebacker Jordan Mastrogiovanni said. “You kind of look at it from a pride standpoint. Back-to-back losses are obviously something that no one is happy about, especially with a team with the amount of talent that we have. We feel like we’re better than that.”
One of the lone bright spots for the Aggies was the performance of freshman Speedy Noil. Three weeks removed from arthroscopic knee surgery, the five-star recruit appeared closer to full health than he did in recent weeks – hauling in 11 catches for 105 yards, both best on the team. Noil also made his presence known in the return game, garnering 192 total return yards – not including a big return that was called back due to penalties.
“There’s a lot on with [Noil] right now,” Sumlin said. “There’s a lot going on, but he is coming along as good as anybody we have. He’s a tough guy. He loves to play and he loves to compete and he’s only getting better every week.
Ole Miss (6-0, 3-0 SEC) finished the game with less yards, first downs, time of possession, third down conversion percentage, and total plays than the Aggies, but they did not turn the ball over and committed just two penalties to A&M’s six.
A&M (5-2, 2-2 SEC) does not have much time to dwell on the loss as they will travel to Tuscaloosa, Al to face the Alabama Crimson Tide next Saturday.

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