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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 to play Florida as both try to salvage season

Courtesy of Bailey Orr/Texas A&M Athletics

Sophomore wide receiver Caleb Chapman injured his leg on a 51-yard touchdown reception against Florida on Oct. 10.

Last week’s 31-28 home loss to No. 11 Ole Miss continued Texas A&M football’s four-game losing streak, but there were some promising developments that showed light at the end of the tunnel for the 3-5 program.

Newly promoted starting quarterback Conner Weigman played great in his first career start with four touchdown passes and 338 passing yards. Coach Jimbo Fisher said the true freshman’s preparation and intangible gifts led to Saturday’s performance.

“[Weigman’s] a hard worker, and he has a natural knack to do things,” Fisher said. “He has a feel for things, an instinctive part of the game. He’s really natural at what he does. He’s accurate in what he does. Again, he’s played one game. Listen, let him be a freshman and play his second game, and let him keep playing. I’m extremely happy, and I love coaching the guy.”

Unfortunately for A&M, the team did pick up a number of injuries against Ole Miss. Fisher said it’s something that is out of A&M’s control and comes with the game.

“There have been [injuries], and it’s different injuries,” Fisher said. “It’s a physical game, and you’re playing a heck of a schedule. Sometimes I’ve had them, it’s just the way it is. And unfortunately, sometimes it goes that way. That’s football … they’ve been different injuries. I mean whether it’s ankles, knees, shoulders, it’s a physical game, and most everybody’s been a game injury, almost. Probably 95% of them have all been in games. That’s just the nature of the beast sometimes, unfortunately.”

Freshman defensive lineman Albert Regis said the losses are a learning experience for the team. With some many young players, there’s a lot to be learned from losses in the SEC. The hope for A&M is the team will learn from this season’s struggles as the program looks toward the future.

“After every game, there’s always something to build on, and every week it collectively adds up in a positive way,” Regis said. “Yes, we don’t want to come out of a game with a loss. But you take your losses like your wins, your wins like your losses and you learn from everything. After every game, we take what we learn from it, we work on it and then we try and fix it to the best of our abilities and execute.”

Up next for A&M is a home matchup against the similarly struggling 4-4 Florida Gators. With both teams still within range of qualifying for a bowl game, the matchup on Saturday, Nov. 5, is vital — something has got to give for either team. One of these teams will walk out of Kyle Field with an important conference victory.

Fisher said a potential bowl game is still crucial for the maroon and white.

“It’s always important,” Fisher said. “You always want to go to a bowl game. I think it always helps. That’s one of your goals which you set. And that gives you 15 more practices. As much as anything, that, before you even go to the bowl game … that’s time for your guys. Anytime you play, you get better. You always want to be [in] a bowl.”

Florida is coming off a 42-20 loss to No. 1 Georgia. The team showed fight in the matchup by battling back to within 8 points in the second half after falling behind 28-3 — look away Matt Ryan — early in the first half. 

Saturday’s matchup will mark the sixth game between the two programs, with A&M holding a 3-2 edge. Currently, A&M is on a two-game winning streak against Florida dating back to 2017.

Sophomore Florida cornerback Jaydon Hill said he expects a raucous environment at Kyle Field on Saturday based on prior experiences at the stadium.

“If I’m not mistaken, that was [the COVID-19] year,” Hill said. “[A&M] probably [had] the most packed stadium out of everywhere we went that year. I just know since there are no restrictions it will be pretty rowdy.”

In spite of all of the losing streak, A&M knows the 12th Man will be behind them on Saturday against Florida. All A&M can do is bring the same energy as its fans and hope it leads to a victory.

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