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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Five things to look for ahead of A&M at Colorado

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Junior running back Isaiah Spiller surpassed the 2,000 rushing yard milestone  in the Saturday, Sept. 5 game against Kent State. 

The 1-0 Texas A&M Aggies will face the 1-0 Colorado Buffaloes in a run-heavy contest as both teams strive to put together an early-season win-streak. The matchup will take place at Empower Field at Mile High in Denver on Saturday, Sept. 11, at 2:30 p.m. Here is what you need to know before you watch:

Comfort in the passing game
Redshirt freshman quarterback Haynes King and the passing offense occasionally showed flashes of brilliance. King finished his debut completing 21 of 33 passes for a hair under 300 yards. He even had a spectacular scramble, with A&M fans reminiscing about former quarterback Johnny Manziel. Despite this, there were still moments when the offense stalled out, or poor decisions were made, as evidenced by King’s 3 interceptions compared to his two touchdowns.
King is still young — he will continue to learn and become more comfortable in himself and the weapons around him. Colorado will offer another chance for him to improve and another chance for the fans to watch his continued development.

Colorado’s rushing attack
Last season, the Buffaloes were 23rd in the nation in rushing yards per game, averaging 212.3 yards per contest. Last week, in a 35-7 win against Northern Colorado, four different players rushed for 40 or more yards as the team put up 281 yards and 4 touchdowns on the ground. A&M was second in rush defense last year, allowing only 92 yards-per-game, but gave up 226 yards to Kent State’s high-powered rushing attack last week. Jarek Broussard, Colorado’s sophomore running back who was named to the All-Pac 12 First Team last season, is a player to keep an eye on.

A&M’s two-headed backfield
Isaiah Spiller, A&M’s junior stand-out running back, hit the 2,000 career rushing yards landmark last week against Kent State, yet sophomore running back Devon Achane stole the show. A&M appeared to share the rushing load more evenly than fans may have expected. Spiller had a solid showing, toting 17 carries for an efficient 113 yards. Achane, however, led the team in yards on the ground. He had 124 yards on just 12 carries and 2 touchdowns, including a 63-yard touchdown where Achane outran the Golden Flashes’ defense down the numbers.
The two running backs’ styles compliment one another very well. They both occupy different roles in A&M’s run-heavy scheme, where Spiller is the bruiser up the middle and Achane is the speedster out wide. As King continues to improve, Spiller and Achane’s success in the running game will prove valuable to the Aggies.

Turnovers
Last week against Kent State, A&M mustered 2 interceptions on defense, including a takeaway by senior safety Leon O’Neal Jr., who returned it 85 yards for a score. Colorado threw 7 interceptions in six games last year, so turnovers will be less common to find for the Aggies. However, the Buffaloes only caught 4 interceptions themselves last season. These two teams might find it easier to take care of the ball against one another, but that will only make each possession more valuable.

The away stadium
It’s never easy to play in Colorado for any team, and A&M is no exception. The elevation will be a major factor, as College Station is a city near sea-level. The game is being played in, aptly named, Empower Field at Mile High in Denver, home of the Denver Broncos. Conditioning will be an important factor for the Aggies to keep up.
Typically this stadium hosts the Colorado-Colorado State rivalry match, but with this matchup not taking place this year, the A&M game will be played instead. A&M has seen victory in its last five road matches dating back to last season, but Colorado has won their last five matches in the Broncos’ stadium dating back to 2015. One of these streaks will have to come to an end.

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