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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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Texas A&M outfielder Jace Laviolette (17) robs a home run from Florida infielder Cade Kurland (4) in the top of the ninth inning during Texas A&M’s game against Florida at the NCAA Men’s College World Series at Charles Schwab Field in Omaha, Nebraska on Sunday, June 15, 2024. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)
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June 16, 2024

Back in Kyle Field, Aggies look to prove their progress

Junior+running+back+Trayveon+Williams+rushed+for+152+yards+Saturday+afternoon.
Photo by Photo by Cassie Stricker

Junior running back Trayveon Williams rushed for 152 yards Saturday afternoon.

The last time Texas A&M and No. 13 Kentucky met, Dwight Eisenhower was president and Elvis Presley’s music career was just starting to take off. Sixty-five years later, both teams are looking to walk out of Kyle Field, with a win but only one will.
For A&M, the biggest emphasis of this week will be running the ball and against the run. The Aggies have the best rushing defense in the SEC, allowing an average of 80.6 yards a game and 3.1 yards per carry. Kentucky has the leading rusher in the conference with junior running back Benny Snell, who averages 132.8 yards per game and 5.8 yards per carry.
A&M junior middle linebacker Tyrel Dodson said he’s ready for the challenge the ranked team and their elusive running back will bring.
“[Kentucky] being a top-25 team, we’re very excited to just got out and play football again,” Dodson said. “They’re a very physical team and Benny is a good running back so I’m looking forward to playing him.”
A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher said Snell’s playmaking ability is one of the best he’s seen from opposing running backs this season. Fisher said the way Snell runs reminds him of Hall of Fame running back Emmitt Smith, and in order to find a solution to such a skilled back, 

A&M’s run defense is going to have to stay focused.

 “Emmitt made yards on everything he did,” Fisher said. “[Snell] finds space in places that there shouldn’t be. It’s going to be a huge challenge. We’re playing the run really well so we’re really going to have to tighten those screws to make sure [we stop their offense].”

 For the first time since 2007, Kentucky is 5-0 and ranked in the AP top 25 poll. Dodson said while Kentucky hasn’t been as competitive in recent years, that doesn’t mean A&M is taking this game lightly.

 “I’m not really surprised [that Kentucky is 5-0],” Dodson said. “Kentucky has kind of struggled in the past years, but [there is] no telling with SEC teams. In a year, a team can be strong because there is so much talent in the SEC, so it just depends on what team is clicking at a certain time.”

 In the victory against Arkansas, sophomore quarterback Kellen Mond threw for 201 yards and had two interceptions. Fisher said despite not throwing for a touchdown in the win, he expects Mond to bounce back against Kentucky.

 “There are times as the quarterback that you’re making decisions and plays and you’re going to have [mistakes],” Fisher said. “Part of growing is saying ‘Okay, you made those plays, how are you responding from it?’ and he did a great job of responding right back after he made those plays and led us back down to some points.”

 There are close coaching ties between Fisher and Kentucky’s Mark Stoops. As Fisher kicked off his first three years at Florida State, Stoops served as Fisher’s defensive coordinator. 

 Stoops, now in his sixth season as a head coach, said his first impression of Fisher as a first-year head coach still resonates with him till today.

 “I just thought when I went to work for him [that] he was a guy that really, for being a first-time head coach, was extremely organized,” Stoops said.

 Texas A&M will host No. 13 Kentucky on Saturday, Oct. 6 at 6 p.m. at Kyle Field. The game will be televised nationally on ESPN. 

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