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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Battle in the SEC West: Tough A&M defense faces off against high-octane Ole Miss offense

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Photo by Katelynn Ivy

unior DL Fadil Diggs (10) attempts to sack South Carolina QB Spencer Rattler (7) during Texas A&M’s game against South Carolina on Saturday, Oct. 28, 2023 at Kyle Field (Katelynn Ivy/The Battalion).

A showdown takes place between a high-powered Ole Miss offense and a stonewall Texas A&M defense bright and early on Saturday, Nov. 4 in Oxford, Mississippi.
Through an up-and-down season, the one thing A&M can rely on every game is its defensive line. The front seven is No. 1 in the country in total sacks with 33 and leading the way is the do-it-all junior linebacker Edgerrin Cooper.
Cooper has been dominant this season, leading the team in tackles (52 total) and sacks (7). Coming off another assertive game against South Carolina where he stuffed the stat sheet, he earned SEC Co-Defensive Player of the Week and will be looking to feast on an Ole Miss offensive line that has allowed 19 sacks.
Flanking Cooper at the sides is sophomore defensive back Bryce Anderson and junior defensive lineman Fadil Diggs. With the injury to sophomore defensive lineman Walter Nolen that kept him out of the South Carolina game, Anderson stepped up. He flew around the field, totaling seven tackles and garnering two sacks, his first of the season. Diggs has also remained consistent and has seemed to hit his stride, tallying a sack per game since the Alabama matchup.
The A&M secondary has also been steadily improving. Though they’ve been roasted on several occasions, most notably against Alabama and senior receiver Jermaine Burton, the pass defense has rebounded since then. They held Tennessee’s receiving core to just 100 yards total and only gave up 176 passing yards to Gamecocks senior quarterback Spencer Rattler, his lowest of the season.
While Cooper and company have been a force to be reckoned with, the Ole Miss offense will have something to say as they come into the matchup as one of the best offenses in the country. The Rebels are ranked 12th best in yards per game (474) and 10th in points per game (38.9).
Leading the way for Ole Miss is junior quarterback Jaxson Dart. Dart is having his best season so far throwing for 14 touchdowns to four picks. Whilst being a tremendous passer, the junior has shown that he can also pick up yards on the ground, rushing for 136 yards against Georgia Tech.
It doesn’t hurt that Dart has a trio of solid wide receivers that each have more than 500 receiving yards through eight weeks. Senior receivers Dayton Wade, Tre Harris and Jordan Watkins can go off at any given time. Each of them have multiple games with 100-plus receiving yards and will be a handful for the A&M secondary.
Sophomore running back Quinshon Judkins has also played a crucial role in the high-octane Rebels offense. Though he had a slow start to the season, he’s picked it up since the loss to Alabama. In the past four games, he’s rushed for over 100 yards, including back-to-back weeks with 124 rushing yards as well as a season-high 177 yards against LSU.
Overall, each team will wear the other down and a win for either squad will go a long way. For the Aggies, it’ll be both a sweet avenging loss from last year’s matchup as well as a shot for a bowl game and for the Rebels, it’s another step towards a potential playoff appearance.

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