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

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

The Battalion

Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp attends the Class of 1972 50-year reunion in Kyle Field on April 20, 2022.
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Texas A&M utility Gavin Grahovac (9) throws the ball during A&Ms game against Georgia on Friday, April 26, 2024, at Olsen Field. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
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Texas A&M pitcher Evan Aschenbeck (53) reacts after throwing the final strike out during Texas A&M’s game against Mississippi State on Saturday, March 23, 2024, at Olsen Field. (Chris Swann/ The Battalion)
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Kennedy White, 19, sits for a portrait in the sweats she wore the night of her alleged assault inside the Y.M.C.A building that holds Texas A&M’s Title IX offices in College Station, Texas on Feb. 16, 2024 (Ishika Samant/The Battalion).
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Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
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The Battalion May 4, 2024

A&M to host Kent State for remembrance game


Texas A&M’s 2021 season opener will take place at Kyle Field on Saturday, Sept. 4 at 7 p.m. against Kent State. 

Texas A&M football will kick off its 2021 season against Kent State on Saturday, Sept. 4. After a 2020 season which came just short of qualifying for the College Football Playoff, expectations are high for the Aggies as they enter their new campaign.
Nearing the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, A&M will be reviving its red, white and blue theme to open the season.
The maroon and white is coming off its most successful season under the tenure of head coach Jimbo Fisher. The 2020 season, which was shortened to 10 games by COVID-19 restrictions, only featured opponents from within the Southeastern Conference. After an early loss against Alabama, the Aggies won eight straight to finish 9-1. The squad was ranked fifth by the playoff committee, just outside the four-team bracket.
Ready for a fresh start, Fisher said he is optimistic about the new season, with hope after last season’s results and his squad’s showing at the team’s Fall Camp.
“It’s game time,” Fisher said. “There’s nothing like the excitement of the season and the first game out of camp. [I am] anxious to see us get out and play a game.”
The team lost several key pieces to the 2021 NFL Draft this offseason, including defensive tackle Bobby Brown III, offensive tackle Dan Moore, linebacker Buddy Johnson and quarterback Kellen Mond. Despite these departures, the routine of strong recruiting during the Fisher era has allowed the squad to maintain momentum with new faces on both sides of the ball.
A&M’s offseason was highlighted by a competitive battle for the role of starting quarterback between redshirt sophomore Zach Calzada and redshirt freshman Haynes King, who will be starting quarterback this Saturday
King has plenty of returning weapons on offense this season. The Aggies welcome back the talented running back duo of junior Isaiah Spiller and sophomore Devon Achane. Spiller has been A&M’s feature back during the past two seasons, producing over 2,000 yards from scrimmage and 19 touchdowns in just 23 career games. Achane joined the scene in 2020, averaging more than eight yards-per-carry and scoring five touchdowns.
The Aggies are also returning talent at the wide receiver and tight end positions. Junior double threat running back and receiver Ainias Smith and junior tight end Jalen Wydermyer led the way for the 2020 receiving corps, with Smith compiling 564 yards and six touchdowns, and Wydermyer finishing with 506 yards and six touchdowns.
The defensive side of the ball lost some notable players due to legal matters. Graduate defensive end Michael Clemons and sophomore defensive tackle McKinnley Jackson currently face indefinite suspensions due to legal troubles off the field. Clemons has been a member of the team since 2017, and Jackson is coming off a freshman season in which he looked poised to replace Brown in 2021.
Despite these losses, the Aggies still boast defensive prowess. Junior defensive end DeMarvin Leal enters the season as a Walter Camp Preseason All-American and senior Jayden Peevy returns at defensive tackle, utilizing his extra year of eligibility. The squad also welcomes back key members of the secondary, as senior Myles Jones and junior Demani Richardson return at cornerback, and senior Leon O’Neal Jr. and junior Demani Richardson return at safety.
In 2020, O’Neal led the A&M defense in interceptions and was second in tackles, with 48. Leal, Richardson, Jones and Peevy also made impacts, each breaking the 30-tackle threshold.
The newest 12th Man will be making his debut for the Aggies. On Aug. 28, the team announced junior deep snapper Connor Choate has been selected to continue the storied tradition. Choate is entering his third season as the team’s starting deep snapper and will likely don the number for both the 2021 and 2022 seasons.
Kent State is coming off of a shortened season of its own. After the final two games of its season were canceled, the Golden Flashes finished with a 3-1 record, second in the Eastern division of the Mid-American Conference. Led by senior quarterback Dustin Crum, the Golden Flashes boast an explosive offense that scored more than 60 points in two of their four games last season. Saturday will mark the first meeting between the Aggies and the Golden Flashes in the programs’ histories.
Although the Golden Flashes had an electric showing on offense, their defense struggled during the 2020 campaign. They surrendered 21 touchdowns and 152 total points in their four-game season, including a 70-41 loss to Buffalo. The squad is returning eight of their nine leaders in tackles, but they lost standout cornerback Tony Butler to graduation. The MAC is known for its emphasis on the passing game, so this experienced defense could present a covert challenge for King in his first career start.
A&M’s game against Kent State is slated to kick off at 7 p.m. at Kyle Field.

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