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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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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Finding A&M’s offense ahead of SEC road match against Mississippi State

Freshman+WR+Evan+Stewart+%281%29+celebrates+in+the+end+zone+with+freshman+WR+Chris+Marshall+%2810%29+after+Stewart+scored+the+Aggies+first+touchdown+of+the+game+and+the+first+of+his+college+career+during+the+Southwest+Classic+on+Saturday%2C+Sept.+24%2C+2022%2C+at+AT%26amp%3BT+Stadium+in+Arlington.
Photo by Photo by Robert O’Brien

Freshman WR Evan Stewart (1) celebrates in the end zone with freshman WR Chris Marshall (10) after Stewart scored the Aggies’ first touchdown of the game and the first of his college career during the Southwest Classic on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022, at AT&T Stadium in Arlington.

The offensive line has been a hot topic this season for Texas A&M football. After the thrilling win against No. 20 Arkansas over the weekend to open up SEC play, the squad seems to be finding its offensive niche and setting the tone for the remainder of the season. 

Head coach Jimbo Fisher has had to continuously make offensive adjustments throughout the start of the season.

Ahead of the matchup against the Miami Hurricanes in Week 3, junior Max Johnson was named starting quarterback. Although the Aggies got the win over the Canes, the team was missing key pieces on offense from freshmen wide receivers Evan Stewart and Chris Marshall, who were suspended from the matchup.

Against Arkansas, Stewart scored his first career touchdown and broke A&M’s scoring drought with a 10- yard pass from Johnson into the end zone. 

Junior running back Devon Achane, one of the most explosive offensive components for the Aggies, has scored a touchdown in all four games this season and rushed for a season high 159 yards against Arkansas. 

Unfortunately, during such a big night for the team, senior wide receiver Ainias Smith suffered a lower body injury and will be out the remainder of the season. 

Smith is one of the team’s leaders and an offensive weapon. With his absence, Fisher will be forced to make additional offensive adjustments as A&M prepares to take on Mississippi State this Saturday, Oct. 1.

“Now we have to get ready to go on the road against Mississippi State, which is an excellent team,” Fisher said. “[Defensive coordinator Zach] Arnett does a great job of mixing things, multiple blitzes, multiple fronts, three-down, four-down, standing guys up, mixes the secondary coverages up. They’ve been great on defense.”

This week’s offense performance against Mississippi State could set a precedent for the rest of the season, hopefully proving that the Aggies have found their balance, a goal of Fisher’s. 

“I’m not very happy in the way we played,’’ Fisher said. “I don’t think we played close to our best. And that’s encouraging in that there’s a lot more in there in how we have to play. But also we need to realize that and get it done.”

Mississippi State is currently 3-1 and looks to extend its win streak against the Aggies after defeating the team last year.

Arnett is in his third season with the Bulldogs and seems to have a pretty solid system in place. The defensive line held last week’s opponent Bowling Green to just 79 rushing yards. 

Senior safety Collin Duncan recorded his second sack of the season with an 8-yard sack that forced a punt. 

Redshirt linebacker Nathaniel Watson is no stranger to making big stops as he led the Bulldogs with 10 tackles, marking his fourth career double-digit tackle game while also recording a sack that resulted in a loss of five yards. 

Defensive forces like Duncan and Watson could shake up A&M’s ability to move the ball through the air and on the ground.

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