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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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Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
The Battalion May 4, 2024

A&M’s ‘8 a.m.’ won’t stop Kyle Allen’s progress

Kyle+Allen
Photo By: Kevin Chou
Kyle Allen

No matter what major you are or the courses you take in college, everyone is forced to face the inevitable: the dreaded 8 a.m. class.
This Saturday, Texas A&M football hosts Nevada in college football’s version of an 8 a.m. class — a bright and early 11 a.m. matchup.
Now, that time of day doesn’t strike as a particularly early time (except for me). But when figuring the logistics of the hours of preparation leading up to the contest, it’s early, and one can look at the Aggies past to verify that. 
Last season, the Aggies failed to show up in their two 11 a.m. games — Mississippi State and Louisiana Monroe. 
After allowing an A&M touchdown to open the game, Mississippi State went onto score 28 unanswered points and eventually won 48-31, handing the Aggies their first lost of the season. To rub salt into the wound, Bulldogs quarterback Dak Prescott exploded for five touchdowns.
Kyle Allen earned the first start of his young career against Louisiana Monroe, and looked horrendous. Now, there’s not much one can do when handed the reigns after three humiliating losses. Nevertheless, Allen struggled to compile over 100 yards through the air, and the Aggies were outgained by more than 100 yards. In the end, A&M crawled to a 21-16 victory.
Almost a year later, the Aggies must deal with their first football equivalent to an 8 a.m. against a Nevada team that gave No. 20 Arizona fits the week before, trailing by a mere eight points at halftime.
A&M is in the midst of a mellowed quarterback competition, has yet to see progress from top receiver Speedy Noil – due to injury, is plagued with problems at the linebacker position and was outscored 20-7 by the Ball State bench in the second half of last week’s game. All signs lead to skepticism going forward, but there’s a reason not to be worried, and that reason is Kyle Allen.
The Wolf Pack should make it closer than people expect. Sumlin will continue to play some “human victory cigars” and give players like A.J. Hilliard their first snaps of the year, which will work in Nevada’s favor. But no one should look much into it if the game is close, because Allen is becoming the real deal. If there was any doubt that he can’t lead this team solo, people will find out very soon.
While Allen wasn’t what people wanted when it mattered against Arizona State, Kyler Murray certainly had his struggles too. But Murray appeared wide-eyed and unsure of his arm, while Allen merely looked rusty. That happens in season openers.
In the first few quarters, Allen was out of sync with his receivers, except of course, Christian Kirk, who wouldn’t be out of touch in a highway tunnel. But, as the game grew old, so did Allen. 
Sumlin said after the ASU game that Allen made plays that he would have never made as a freshman, particularly the 12-yard touchdown run that gave the Aggies a two possession cushion in the fourth quarter.
Under the sophomore’s guidance, A&M outscored ASU 21-3 in the last quarter of play, and Allen’s confidence soared through the roof of NRG Stadium. What was initially rust turned into polished iron.
However, the three shaky quarters from Allen still loomed in Aggie fans’ minds, and the question remained as to whether he would receive the majority if not all of the snaps at quarterback.
It didn’t last long for those concerns to quickly dissolve, as Allen scored six out of his seven opening drives against the Ball State Cardinals. The sophomore looked nearly perfect on the stat sheet as well, amassing 126 yards on 10-for-13 passing with three touchdowns. His play was good enough to be pulled again, but this time for being too good, and with over nine minutes left in the second quarter. 
Against the Cardinals, Allen sparked the offense with contributions from almost every receiver. He even dished a touchdown to tight end Jordan Davis, the first of his career. Obviously the competition didn’t meet the likes of ASU, but still, there were no flashes of the Louisiana Monroe performance or the rustiness against ASU. Not even close.
A&M could run out to Kanye’s “Power” Saturday to 100,000 fans and still look sluggish, and Sumlin could cause issues if he continues to sit his questionable but impactful players. But, as long as Kyle Allen does his thing, the Aggies shouldn’t have a problem despite their peculiar history in morning games.
It may be an “8 a.m.” for Texas A&M, but this class isn’t upper-level organic chemistry — it’s more like pilates. It might take awhile for the Aggies to stretch and get loose, but in no time, they should be moving.

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