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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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Kentucky presents serious challenges for Texas A&M

University+of+Kentucky
Photo by Courtesy of Kentucky Kernel
University of Kentucky

No. 13 Kentucky hadn’t started 5-0 in 11 years before its 24-10 win over South Carolina last weekend, and hasn’t started 6-0 since the 1950s.
Now, the Wildcats put their unblemished record on the line as they head to Kyle Field to take on Texas A&M. This weekend’s matchup is the first conference matchup between the two SEC teams and only their third matchup ever. When looking at what makes this Kentucky football team good, you have to start with junior running back Benny Snell Jr.
Snell has carried the Wildcat offense the whole season, accounting for 639 rushing yards and eight rushing touchdowns in just five games. Snell’s performance put him fourth in the nation in both categories. Snell carries the offense in yards more than sophomore quarterback Terry Wilson has thrown for the Wildcats’ this season. Wilson is also dangerous running the ball, as he’s run for 344 yards and three touchdowns, averaging 60 yards per game.
“I’ve never seen a guy who can make a one-yard run into eight yards,” A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher said. “Their offensive line does a great job inside blocking, and [Snell] finds holes and boom, he’s out of there with a big play.”
Kentucky’s defense is no pushover either. The Wildcats are 12th in the nation in total defense, giving up just 288.8 yards per game. The defense is filled with upperclassmen, including eight senior starters. Kentucky is led by senior linebacker Josh Allen, junior linebacker Kash Daniel and senior safety Darius West. Allen has 33 total tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss and six sacks for the season. The TFL and sacks are the first and second highest in the nation, respectively. Daniel, who is suspended from the first half of the A&M game for targeting, leads the team with 37 tackles and five quarterback hurries. West is tied with Daniel for tackles and has racked up two interceptions so far this season.
“We’ve seen some of the best pass rushers in the country with Clemson and Alabama,” A&M junior running back Trayveon Williams said. “We’ll just lean back on our training. We just need to do our job in the right time and the right place.”
Ultimately, the key matchup in this game is Benny Snell Jr. against the A&M run defense. Since Snell carries the Kentucky offense, A&M has to assume that if it stops Snell, it can hold Kentucky enough to win the game. The Aggie defense has definitely proven they can stop the run. A&M has already played two top-30 rush offenses in No. 1 Alabama and No. 3 Clemson, and is still sixth in the country in rush defense. Since the A&M pass defense is not as strong, the Aggies have to hope Wildcat quarterback Terry Wilson continues to throw more interceptions than touchdowns, like he has in three games already this year.
“They run the ball really well, and we stop the run really well,” A&M junior linebacker Tyrel Dodson said. “I’m looking forward to a tough, physical game, and this is why you come to Texas A&M and the SEC — to play games like this.”

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