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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 runs through Missouri

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Photo by via @AggieFootball on Twitter

Junior defensive lineman DeMarvin Leal sacking Missouri quarterback Connor Bazelak

Texas A&M football has found its groove again after a win over SEC opponent Missouri.

The Aggies traveled to Columbia, Mo., to take on the Tigers for the teams’ first matchup since 2014. A&M showed out on both ends of the ball, taking down the home team 35-14.

“I like the way we ran the ball,” A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher said. “The game was physical. The defense got the turnovers early. There’s still a lot of things, both sides, that we got to play better.”

The win puts the Aggies at 5-2 on the season, 2-2 in SEC play. Missouri drops to 3-4 on the year, winless against SEC competition at 0-3.

A&M’s defense kept the Tigers in check for the majority of the game. Missouri’s redshirt sophomore quarterback Connor Bazelak threw for 230 yards, his second-lowest total of the season.

Two different Aggies caught interceptions off Bazelak. Sophomore defensive back Jaylon Jones picked off an errant pass on the first drive of the game to set A&M up with good field positioning that led to the first score of the game.

A few drives later, sophomore defensive back Antonio Johnson forced his first turnover of the year. The East St. Louis, Ill., native jumped a route and once again gave the Aggies favorable field positioning with the interception.

“It felt good coming home, a lot of friends, a lot of family,” Johnson said. “It was my first career pick, so it’s going to be one of those that I never forget.”

The Missouri offense, which was scoring just under 38 points per game, was held to just two scoring drives. The team’s senior running back Tyler Badie averaged 3.1 yards per carry, his second lowest mark this season.

“We knew coming into the game that they had a really good offense,” Johnson said. “They were trying to get us with different eye violations, motions. We just had to come in with the mentality that we had to stand up and play good defense.”

The Aggies seem to be finding their momentum on offense, scoring 35 or more points in their last two games. Part of their dominance this week came from the team’s running back tandem, junior Isaiah Spiller and sophomore Devon Achane. Spiller ran for 168 yards — the team’s largest total this season — on just 20 carries, averaging over eight yards per rush attempt. Achane had 124 yards as well on 16 carries. The duo combined for three rushing touchdowns, one for Spiller and two for Achane.

“Coach [Fisher] made it a big point that the run game was going to be very important,” Spiller said. “The O-line did a great job today.”

The offensive line for the Aggies not only opened up holes in the run game, but allowed redshirt sophomore quarterback Zach Calzada to be sacked just one time.

Calzada completed 13 of his 25 pass attempts for 148 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Both of his touchdowns went to junior wide receiver Ainias Smith, who has three separate games with multiple touchdown catches this season.

“We started out fast. We need to learn how to finish games, but I feel like we played a really good game today.” Spiller said. “Solid, all-around game.”

A&M will put its back-to-back wins behind them as it prepares for a home game against the South Carolina Gamecocks. The contest will kick off at 6:30 p.m. at Kyle Field on Oct. 23.

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