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

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Photo by Photo by Hanna Hausman

Texas A&M gained 96 yards on the ground against Mississippi State. The Aggies have not rushed for more than 100 yards over the past three games this season. 

Things were looking up for Texas A&M football after a tough win in The Swamp and followed by an off week. However, the Aggies took a step back in their game against Mississippi State with poor performances virtually across the board.
The quarterbacks combined for 16-41 for a mere 189 yards and three interceptions, the running backs combined for just 68 yards on 21 attempts, the offensive line was shaky and the receivers had their worst game of the season with some inexcusable drops.
Mississippi State quarterback Nick Fitzgerald shredded the A&M defense for 141 yards in the air and 105 yards rushing and the Aggie defense had an uncharacteristically tough time getting to the quarterback.
Overall, the game left fans feeling like they did following the UCLA game — completely disheartened. The loss also evoked emotions of ‘here we go again’ entering the month of November, the same month the Aggies have struggled in during the past three years. A&M football has a combined SEC record of 3-7 in the last month of regular season play during that span.
Despite the historic struggles, A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin is convinced this team is different and won’t have the familiar November drop off, because they have already proven they can comeback from a tough loss.
“I think that they’ve shown a resiliency before, I think that they’ve shown a toughness before, and I think they’ve shown the ability to finish before,” Sumlin said at Tuesday’s press conference. “As we got out to practice yesterday, these guys’ attitudes and how they’ve approached things led me to believe that, that’s who we are.”
A huge part of the past late-season collapses has been the A&M defense conceding too many points to remain competitive. The Aggies defense has averaged 25.8 points per game allowed in SEC games in the month of November in the last three seasons.
Senior safety Armani Watts has been part of the late-season collapses in the past three seasons and points to the November crashes in the past as issues in the teams’ mentality. However, he said he is confident this team is different in between the ears.
“This team is way different mentally than years past, we’re not worried about the outside noise,” Watts said. “We’re sticking together as a family and we know if we stick together there’s nothing anyone can do against us.”
The first step in avoiding another subpar record will be getting a win on Saturday against Auburn. In order to do that, the Aggies will have to do something that hasn’t been done by either team in A&M and Auburn’s five meetings in SEC play: Win at home.
Junior wide receiver Christian Kirk said the 12th Man gives the Aggies an advantage, but in order to beat a strong opponent such as Auburn, the Aggies need to make competitive plays they haven’t made in years past.
“The 12th Man is great, they have an effect on the game, but they’re not playing in the games, that’s up to us,” Kirk said. “We have one of the biggest fields in the country and we have great coaches, but at the end of the day it comes down to players making the plays that we need to make.”
The game will kickoff at 11 a.m., the Aggies’ third of the season in that timeslot. A&M had slow starts in their other two morning games, trailing at halftime to Louisiana-Lafayette and Arkansas. Junior linebacker and 12th Man Cullen Gillaspia said he’ll be alert and will make sure his teammates are energized so as to avoid another early deficit.
“I’ll be awake, I’ll be going crazy on the sidelines. That first hit will wake some guys up,” Gillaspia said. “I’ll be in their ears all day long,”
Gillaspia and his teammates will look to start a new November chapter this Saturday. The game will be televised on ESPN.
“We really need a win this week, it’s going to be a big time test for us,” Kirk said. “We went to Auburn last year and got a win so they’re going to come in here looking to do the same. They’re going to have the right mentality and a lot of energy and we’re going to have to match.”

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