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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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A&M looks to maintain momentum as it heads into matchup with UAB

Donovan+Wilson%2C+Debione+Renfro+and+Roney+Elam
Photo by Photo by Cassie Stricker

Donovan Wilson, Debione Renfro and Roney Elam

After a big 38-24 win over Southeastern Conference opponent Ole Miss, Texas A&M is turning its attention to the University of Alabama-Birmingham. 

The Blazers — ranked No. 1 in Conference USA — pose a surprising non-conference challenge for the Aggies as they bring a dominant defense into Kyle Field on Saturday. The UAB defense is ranked first in sacks per game, first in third down conversion defense, third in total defense, fourth in scoring defense and fifth in tackles for loss.

A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher compared UAB to playing “another SEC team,” and said that the momentum from last weekend’s win will be important for the Aggies’ success this weekend.

“UAB is a great football team,” Fisher said. “We need to build off this last game, get the momentum offensively and defensively and get ready to go play a great game.”

UAB is not only dominant on defense, but its offense and special teams units pack a punch as well, senior running back Kwame Etwi said.

“Defensively, they’re great and offensively really good as well,” Etwi said. “They’re on point on special teams as well, their record says it. You can’t take them lightly because they’ve proved that they can play.”

The A&M run defense is ranked second in the nation, after holding Ole Miss to just 67 rushing yards on 30 attempts.

A&M’s defense is focused on creating more turnovers as senior defensive lineman Kingsley Keke created and recovered the Aggies’ 

second fumble recovery of the season. Keke said the fumble was critical, with the Rebels leading by one touchdown and inside the red zone.

“They were moving the ball way too fast,” Keke said. “I had my mind on getting the football out and I put my hand on it and got it out, so that was a good turnover for us.”

Against Ole Miss, Trayveon Williams picked up 228 yards on 31 carries to climb to a season total of 1,159 rushing yards. This marks the second time in Williams’ career that he has surpassed the 1,000-yard mark, making his career total 3,014 yards.

Despite losing a fumble and throwing an interception on back-to-back drives, sophomore quarterback Kellen Mond accounted for four touchdowns — three through the air and one rushing — to match his career high. 

“[Mond] played an unbelievable football game,” Fisher said. “To come back like he did after two turnovers — I don’t think we give athletes enough credit psychologically and mentally to come back after a bad play. It takes very special types of people to compete like that.”

Saturday will be Senior Night for the Aggies. Etwi said he can’t believe his four years as an Aggie are almost over. 

“It’s very bittersweet,” Etwi said. “It’s crazy it’s been four years and it’s been a heck of a ride but I know us seniors are going to leave nothing in the tank.”

Fisher said the reason for planning Senior Night during the UAB game rather than the last home game against LSU was due to the high intensity and emotion that come from honoring the seniors, partnered with facing a tough SEC opponent. 

“You add the rivalry to it and all those type of things and the emotion of a last home game —   I elected back then [at Florida State] to make the adjustment to the next to last home game,” Fisher said. “Just to take some pressure off rivalry games. LSU is a huge rivalry game in my opinion.”

The Aggies will look for another home win on Saturday against UAB. Kickoff is at 6 p.m., and the game will be televised on ESPN2. 

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