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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 looks to recover from uncharacteristic performance in last week’s loss to Mississippi State

Sophomore+wide+receiver+Kendrick+Rogers+celebrates+after+the+Aggies+scored+a+touchdown.%26%23160%3B
Photo by Photo by Annie Lui

Sophomore wide receiver Kendrick Rogers celebrates after the Aggies scored a touchdown. 

Saturday’s matchup between No. 20 Texas A&M and Auburn will feature two offenses that have had inconsistent production over the course of the season.
Both teams will enter Jordan-Hare Stadium with three losses on record. The Aggies are coming off a tough loss to Mississippi State, while the Tigers are coming off a bye week after a challenging October in which they won only one game. Under head coach Gus Malzahn, Auburn is 7-0 in games played after their bye week.
The quarterbacks of each team have had respectable, yet up-and-down seasons. In eight games, A&M quarterback Kellen Mond ranks fifth in the SEC with 2,032 yards, 11 touchdowns and eight interceptions, while Jarrett Stidham rank sixth in the conference, totaling 1,714 yards, eight touchdowns and four interceptions.
Mond said that he understands what the offense must do to produce a more consistent performance on the field.
“Being more consistent in my reads, and playing a little more confident,” Mond said. “That’s something that’s going to be the whole offense, not just me. We are looking forward to another new week, and hopefully we can get that going this week.”
A Texas native, Stidham said that he enjoys getting the chance to play Texas teams– especially A&M. Last season at Kyle Field, the junior led the Tigers to a 42-27 win, throwing for 268 yards and three touchdowns.
“I love playing Texas A&M obviously because it’s A&M,” Stidham said. “They’ve got a lot of guys that are back from last year. They’ve got some experience in different places which is good for them. Obviously it’s a different coaching staff from last year. It’s going to be a challenge, but we are very excited for the challenge.”
Auburn’s freshman running back JaTarvious Whitlow, did not practice last week and is considered day-to-day, according to Malzahn. If the 626 yard, four touchdown man cannot suit up on Saturday, Malzahn is confident that the rest of his backs can carry the workload.
“Kam Martin got a little banged up last time, but it’s going to be by committee,” Malzahn said. “Right now we feel like all of our guys can go in there and do a great job, and then we’ll go with the hot hand.”
Martin, Shaun Shivers and Anthony Schwartz would likely be the committee that Malzahn is referencing. The three have combined for 622 yards and six touchdowns on the ground in 2018.
A&M running back Trayveon Williams, the SEC’s second-best rusher with 824 yards and eight touchdowns, is ready to go this weekend. The junior will be looking to bounce back from a lowly 26-yard performance last week. Head coach Jimbo Fisher is also pleased with the development he has seen from freshman running back Jashaun Corbin.
“[Corbin] has been a very productive guy. He’s really starting to do the little things a lot better…I’ve been very pleased with his physicality and his naturalness to run. …” Fisher said. “He’s really learning the passing game and the blocking game…I hope his role will continue to grow as the season goes on. It needs to because we need to add the depth, and we have to get more quality reps for him.”
Both teams have depth at the receiver position. Auburn comes into the game with three players with at least 300 yards receiving– junior Darius Slayton, senior Ryan Davis and freshman Seth Williams.
A&M boasts the SEC’s top tight end in Jace Sternberger. The junior has totaled 509 yards and six touchdowns this season. Sophomore wide receivers Quartney Davis and Camron Buckley each have 369 yards and 359 yards to their name, respectively, while Kendrick Rogers is capable of making big plays downfield.
Despite their talent, an uncharacteristic number of drops in last week’s game was a big part of what cost the Aggies a chance to win in Starkville. Even so, Mond is confident that his pass-catchers will rebound on Saturday.
“I look for them to have a big week,” Mond said. “Also, Jace Sternberger had a couple of drops. That’s not really usual for him. [I] tell everybody each and every time to be ready to bounce back. You can’t dwell on the past game. We’re really looking forward to this week.”
A&M has also struggled with finishing drives and coming away with touchdowns in the red zone. They rank last in the SEC in scoring offense, but Fisher said the coaching staff is working hard to turn things around.
“We work red zone as much as anybody,” Fisher said. “In the past I’ve never had much trouble doing it…We’re evaluating everything known to man to give our kids the best chance, and we do it every game.”
Despite some lackluster finishes to the season in recent years, players are determined to have a strong finish.
“Over the years after the bye week we come out and struggle,” Rogers said. “This year we’re changing that. We’re not going to be the same team. We’re not going to have that drought in November going into December.”

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