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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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The Battalion May 4, 2024

A&M kicks off SEC play against Tigers

Photo by Meredith Seaver

Junior quarterback Kellen Mond rushed for one touchdown against Lamar.

The No. 17 Texas A&M football team looks to stay on a roll after its bounce-back victory over Lamar last week. As the Aggies head into the start of Southeastern Conference play, No. 8 Auburn will visit Kyle Field coming off an impressive offensive performance of its own.
While the Aggies lead the all-time series over Auburn 5-4, the Tigers have yet to drop a game at Kyle Field since A&M joined the SEC.
Even if this is the SEC opener for the Aggies, head coach Jimbo Fisher said the team has to be ready to reset every week whether or not it is facing a divisional opponent.
“You have to reset the tone each and every week,” Fisher said. “It doesn’t matter. It’s just one game at a time. … It puts you in a great position if you can have success, but you have to practice and prepare to have success.”
On Saturday, the A&M run defense will face another test when going up against a Tigers offense that outgained Kent State 467 to 92 in rushing yards last week. With sophomore running back JaTarvious Whitlow leading the Auburn offense with an average of 113.7 yards per game, the A&M defense will have its hands full this weekend.
Auburn’s sophomore wide receiver Seth Williams — who provided the late game-winning touchdown catch in the Tigers’ win over the Aggies last season — has an injured left shoulder from Week 2 and his status for Saturday is still undetermined.
If the A&M defense wants to have any success in their SEC opener, it would have to start with being able to contain Auburn’s freshman quarterback Bo Nix, a prone running threat. Even if the Tigers ultimately focused on the run game last week, there is no forgetting Nix’s performance in Auburn’s comeback win over Oregon in Week 1. If the Tigers are unable to establish the run early on Saturday, the Aggies should expect Nix to take full control of the Auburn offense.
Coming off confidence-boosting performances at home against Tulane and Kent State, Nix is expected to look just as, if not more, secure in leading the Tiger offense in his first appearance at Kyle Field. As the A&M defense will want to do their best in limiting Nix, they need to be strategic when doing so.
While they do want the rush to be effective against the freshman quarterback, Fisher said the Aggies also need to be sure that they’re not opening running lanes for Nix to take advantage of.
“Bo can run, he can move, and he has really good feet,” Fisher said. “For young athletic quarterbacks, sometimes giving them running lanes is the best thing you can give them.”
With the Tiger defense limiting each of their opponents through Week 3 to 120 yards, it is crucial for the Aggies to clean things up offensively. While the offense gave away a fumble and an interception last week to Lamar, junior quarterback Kellen Mond has turned the ball over four times this season. Going into Saturday’s SEC matchup, Mond said he has moved forward and is now looking for a fresh start this week against the Tigers.
“I feel really good,” Mond said. “Obviously, [we’re] starting a whole new week and pretty much just starting everything over with a whole new game plan. We’re going to have to do a good job of preparing and training on the field.”
Fisher also said that it’s important that Mond has been able to look forward to what is next and what he can improve on instead of being fixated on mistakes from previous games.
“Just because you didn’t play your best game doesn’t mean that your confidence has gone away,” Fisher said. “Sometimes games just don’t go as well. Sometimes you just won’t make as good of a call, and that’s ball.”
A&M wideout Quartney Davis is expected to return to the field on Saturday after sitting out last week’s contest against Lamar as he took time off to recover from a minor back injury.
The A&M defense also expects to have two players back in the defensive lineup for this weekend’s matchup. After sitting out against Lamar, junior defensive back Elijah Blades and junior defensive lineman Jayden Peevy resumed practice earlier this week and are set to return to action against Auburn.
The Aggies are set for kickoff against the Tigers on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. at Kyle Field. The game will be televised on CBS.

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  • Junior wide receiver Jhamon Ausbon had four receptions and a touchdown against Lamar.

  • Junior wide receiver Cameron Buckley breaks a tackle on his way to the endzone.

    Photo by Kaylee Cogbill
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