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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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One step away
June 8, 2024

A&M removed from SEC West conversation with 23-3 loss to Ole Miss

Kyle+Allen+A%26M+vs+Ole+Miss
Photo by photo by Jenna Rabel
Kyle Allen A&M vs Ole Miss

A week removed from a three pick-six performance from Kyle Allen against Alabama, Texas A&M had its backs against the wall facing Ole Miss in a SEC West elimination game.
The sophomore quarterback responded by failing to surpass 100 yards through the air, rendering the Aggies to a 23-3 loss to the Rebels.
“It is really disappointing,” senior defensive tackle Julien Obioha said. “At this point, we controlled our own destiny and now we don’t.”
For the night, Allen passed 12-for-34 for 88 yards and an interception. He started the second half with 13 consecutive incompletions, and was eventually replaced by sophomore transfer Jake Hubenak with 10:38 left in the contest. Center Mike Matthews said that Allen is still a quality quarterback and his team still trusts him.
“I’m not really sure what’s going on; maybe we need to give him more time,” Matthews said. “He’s our guy. We are not going to fold after a bad quarter or something like that. We have faith in our guys.”
Head coach Kevin Sumlin said he chose Hubenak over Kyler Murray because of their play in practice, and that he will decide the starter for next week based on this week’s practices.
“We got whipped,” Sumlin said. “Offensively, we couldn’t move the ball. Turnovers, penalties and getting off the field enough on defense the first half, when we did get opportunities we had… we weren’t able to stay on the field and move the football.”
The Aggies (5-2, 2-2 SEC) leading receiver, freshman Christian Kirk, caught just two balls for 16 yards on the night. Tra Carson did not eclipse 50 yards on the ground again, but Ricky Seals-Jones remained involved with 75 receiving yards.
Ole Miss (6-2,3-1) saw its projected first round NFL Draft pick, offensive lineman Laremy Tunsil, play his first game of the season after being suspended and injured. In turn, the Rebel offense churned out 230 rushing yards, over 70 more than their average.
Following a missed field goal on their opening drive, the Rebels scored the games first 13 points. The first seven came on a six-play, 79-yard drive capped off by a 7-yard touchdown pass to tight end Evan Engram.
The Aggie defense kept them within striking distance for most of the game, as they forced four turnovers. The first came after two Ole Miss field goals in the form of an interception. Failing to move the ball, A&M relied on Taylor Bertolet to score its only points of the night with a 44-yard field goal.
On a positive note, sophomore safety Armani Watts loaded the stat sheet by tallying 20 tackles, two TFLs, one interception, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.
“Armani has been very, very solid this year,” Sumlin said. “You look at all three of those safeties — Armani, Justin Evans and Donovan Wilson — they make play after play after play. Putting them on the line of scrimmage, putting them deep, they’ve been very, very active in those positions. But certainly, Armani showed up a lot.”
Consecutive fumble recoveries by the Aggie defense occurred on the drives following the interception, which included a Watts strip of Jordan Wilkins. However, A&M was unable to capitalize, following the theme of the night.
Besides going for it and turning it over on downs twice, the Aggies punted on every drive of the second half. Blowing the game open, Kelly found the SEC leading receiver Laquon Treadwell, on a 58-yard bomb to notch the final count of 23-3 with 9:16 left in the third quarter.
Although the Aggies forced four turnovers, they coughed it up thrice and yielded 100 penalty yards. The good news, however, is A&M plays away once at Vanderbilt before the season finale in Baton Rouge, and the Aggies will not face a currently ranked opponent before then. 
“The message is, we have to go back and it’s about working on us,” Sumlin said. “Just like I said, you can’t give away 100 yards in penalties… and [three] turnovers. Ole Miss played well, give them credit…But we’ve got to compete at a higher level.”

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