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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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LSU focusing on pass rush in first game at Kyle Field since seven-overtime thriller

Sophomore+running+back+Ainias+Smith%26%23160%3Bis+A%26amp%3BM%26%238217%3Bs+team+leader+in+receiving+yards+with+312+yards.
Photo by Courtesy of Craig Bisacre/Texas A&M Athletics

Sophomore running back Ainias Smith is A&M’s team leader in receiving yards with 312 yards.

No. 5 Texas A&M has not had a season start of 6-1 since 2016.
The fact that A&M has an all-SEC schedule has made the task of a 6-1 start even more difficult. However, the Aggies and its offense will be aiming to achieve that record during their game against LSU on Saturday, Nov. 28 in Kyle Field.
Fisher said achieving a 6-1 record is another step in the right direction for A&M’s football program.
“It takes steps to go where you have to go,” Fisher said. “To get to the top of the mountain you have to take one step at a time. [That record] is another step and is showing us that we can play with more consistency and we are learning to do that and we’re appreciating how to prepare and get ready to play these important games in our own conference… you’re in the best league in ball, the toughest division in ball so I think it gives your kids confidence.”
The A&M offense has been on a roll so far this season. In the six games they’ve played, the offense led by senior quarterback Kellen Mond has garnered 1,157 receiving yards and 1,135 rushing yards.
This offensive balance has been key to the team’s success so far and is something most coaches, including Fisher, want to achieve.
The LSU defense has had a pretty poor defensive performance so far this season, as it is ranked No. 114 in the nation. The Tigers give up an average of 472.7 yards per game, with 136.8 of that average being rushing yards.
A major strength of A&M’s offense has been its offensive line. The Maroon Goons have not allowed a sack in five consecutive games and lead the country in sacks allowed.
LSU coach Ed Orgeron said pressuring Mond will be key to winning the game.
“Last year we put some pressure on [Mond] and we’re going to have to [again],” Orgeron said in his press conference on Monday. “If we have to blitz him, we have to put some pressure on him, a bunch of blitzes. I think that the first thing that we need to do is be able to rush with four.”
The biggest weakness for the LSU defense is its passing coverage. The Tigers are ranked No. 127 nationally in passing defense and have allowed opponents to put up about 2,015 passing yards so far this season.
Mond became A&M’s leader in all-time passing touchdowns with 68 during the Aggies’ latest matchup against South Carolina. On top of this, the signal caller has thrown for 1,468 yards and rushed 112 yards in the six games A&M has played.
LSU sophomore cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. has put up 20 total tackles for the Tigers during their 2020 season and was an All-American as a freshman. However during LSU’s last game against Arkansas, Stingley was injured during a punt return toward the end of the first half. He is expected to play against the Aggies and will be one to watch for the LSU defense.
Another threat the LSU defense will have to combat if it wants to pull off the upset over A&M will be the dual threat of A&M’s strong running and passing game.
This can be seen through sophomore running backs Ainias Smith and Isaiah Spiller. Smith is A&M’s team leader in receiving yards with 312 and Spiller leads the way in rushing yards with 643.
Smith is a unique player in that while he does also line up as a receiver, he is listed as a running back, just like Spiller. Meaning, the LSU defense cannot just worry about shutting one of them down; it will have to worry about both Smith and Spiller in addition to the entire offense.
Spiller said the LSU defense will have to be concerned about the duo of himself and Smith.
“[The dual threat] is the defense’s problem to worry about,” Spiller said. “We’re just going to keep doing what we’re doing, our job. I feel like it’s really hard for them because Ainias is a great player and I make plays [too]. So, the defense is going to have a hard time stopping us.”

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