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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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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Hot or not?: Know who to look for Saturday

Bryan Johnson

The Aggies have a lot of momentum going into their first game in the new Kyle Field stadium. 

Freshly ranked at No. 16, Texas A&M opens their home schedule against Ball State Saturday. Here’s a look at who’s hot and who’s not.

Who’s Hot

The Aggie defensive line

With the emergence of junior Daeshon Hall and impact freshman Daylon Mack, the Aggie defensive line harassed ASU quarterback Mike Bercovici all over NRG stadium last Saturday. The combination of Myles Garrett and Daeshon Hall totaled six sacks against an Arizona State club who seemed overmatched by the edge rushers of the Aggies. Garrett was a menace off the edge, compiling two sacks, 2.5 tackles for loss, a forced fumble and three quarterback hurries. Even when he didn’t get a tackle, he was often creating havoc and collapsing the pocket. There’s even some early Heisman chatter being associated with Garrett. 

The dual quarterback system

The saying usually goes, “If you have two quarterbacks, you have none.” In the case of the Aggies, the dual quarterback system of Kyle Allen and Kyler Murray went as planned against the Sun Devils last Saturday, said Head Coach Kevin Sumlin.

“They call it a controversy whenever you have two good ones or two bad ones,” Sumlin said. “We don’t have two bad ones. I’ll put it that way.”

The starter going into the game, Kyle Allen, struggled a bit in the first half accounting for an interception and a fumble deep into Aggie territory, which led to an ASU touchdown. Right before the end of the first half, Sumlin inserted highly-touted freshman Kyler Murray and Murray didn’t disappoint. Displaying his speed in getting out of the pocket, Murray infused some life into an Aggie offense that only put up seven points on offense in the first half. After Murray left the game with a hip injury, Allen led the Aggies down for a touchdown drive and put the game out of reach.

Who’s Not

Speedy Noil 

One catch for 15 yards was not what most A&M enthusiasts were expecting from sophomore receiver Speedy Noil. Coming off of 583 yards receiving and five touchdowns his freshman season, Noil was expected to continue this season where he left off — with a bang. It seems as if Noil has lost his spot on kick return duties with freshman Christian Kirk returning a punt return to the house last week against ASU. Let’s see if Noil can bounce back against a Ball State defense who gave up 36 points to a Football Championship Subdivision team in the NCAA FCS last week. 

What to Watch For 

A balanced Aggie attack

The Aggies are going to have a lot of momentum going into the first game ever played at the completely renovated new Kyle Field. The Aggie running game seemed to be clicking against ASU, with senior Tra Carson carrying the rock 29 times for 96 yards and a touchdown. Look for the senior to get his hands on the ball and give the Aggie offense some balance.

Continued usage of Christian Kirk

With Ball State giving up 13 receptions for 118 yards to Aaron Sanders of VMI last week, breakout star Christian Kirk should have the ball in his hands early and often on Saturday. As shown from last week, Kirk has incredible speed and ability with the ball in his hands. From bubble screens to punt returns, look for No. 3 to leave his mark come Saturday.

Crowd noise

After the festivities throughout the day surrounding Kyle Field, Aggie fans ready to yell and affect the game. Defensive Coordinator John Chavis should use this to his home-field advantage to send pressure quarterback Jake Milas’ way. Ball State should try to pound the ball with sophomore Darian Green to keep the Aggies from pinning their ears back in obvious passing situations, where an energetic Kyle Field crowd can really be bothersome.

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  • Myles Garrett races around the edge in pursuit of ASU quarterback, Mike Bercovici.

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