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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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Sophomore LHP Shane Sdao (38) reacts after a strikeout during Texas A&Ms game against Texas at Disch-Falk Field on Tuesday, March 5, 2024. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
A Sunday salvage
May 12, 2024

Matchup comparison for Saturday’s contest

There are many intriguing matchups this weekend in Texas A&M’s game against Ole Miss. Here are the best.

Quarterbacks:

Kyle Allen is coming off of his worst collegiate performance, where he threw three pick-sixes and only completed 50 percent of his passes, going 20-for-40 with 263 yards while also adding a touchdown. It’s easy to forget that the sophomore entered the game with 14 touchdown passes compared to two interceptions, while also rushing for a pair of scores. Besides struggling against Alabama, Allen has performed well in every other game this season. Even with the occasional slow start,  Allen has ultimately led his team to victory in the previous games and is third in the SEC in passing yards with 1,537.

Despite starting the year hot and leading the SEC in passing with 2,234 yards, Chad Kelly has struggled putting points on the board in two of his last three games in losses against Memphis and Florida, where the Rebels only scored 10 and 24. Kelly won’t have it easy facing a tough A&M defense that has the SEC’s leader in sacks, Myles Garrett along with one of the most complete defenses led by defensive coordinator John Chavis. In the first loss against Florida, Kelly went 26-for-40 passing for 259 yards and a touchdown with one interception. Against an unranked Memphis team, Kelly completed 33-for-47 passes and threw two touchdowns and two interceptions. The loss of Ole Miss starting center Robert Conyers also will pose problems for Kelly.

Advantage: Kyle Allen
 

Running Backs:

There’s no question that James White’s absence has caused the depth at the running back position to be thin and has forced Carson to carry the ball more. White should be active against Ole Miss, which should provide Carson with some help. Carson is averaging 4.41 yards per carry and is ninth in the SEC in rushing yards with 476 yards and sits in sixth place in touchdowns with five. The senior averaged 3.5 yards per carry against Alabama, which is better compared to Arkansas’ Alex Collins — who is considered a premier back in the SEC — who only averaged 2.5.

The Rebels have an extremely pass-heavy offense, which reduces carries for running back Jaylen Walton. The senior has only rushed for 331 yards but takes advantage when he carries the ball by averaging 5.71 yards per attempt. When the opposition has been Alabama and Florida, Walton rushed for an average of only 2.7 yards per carry.

Advantage: Ole Miss
 

Wide Receivers:

The Ole Miss vs. A&M matchup features Laquon Treadwell and Christian Kirk, the top two wide receivers in the SEC. Treadwell leads the SEC in receiving yards with 654 yards and Kirk is right behind him with 609 yards . Both have four touchdowns apiece. Treadwell is a hefty 6-foot-2 go-up-and-get-it receiver, and Kirk is a speedster and considered an “athlete.” The rest of the Rebels’ receiving corps pose a threat to the Aggies and John Chavis who said they were “underrated.”

Josh Reynolds is sixth in the SEC in yards with 439 and is averaging 21 yards per reception and has found the endzone three times. The rest of the star receivers for the Aggies include Ricky Seals-Jones, who led the team in yards and receptions against Alabama, and Speedy Noil, who hasn’t played much but is capable  of making big plays.
 

Advantage: Slightly Texas A&M
 

Defense:

Ole Miss is giving up 34 points per game in SEC games this season compared to A&M’s 26. The Ole Miss defense struggled giving up 31 first downs and 491 total yards against Memphis.

A&M’s defensive line is significantly better than Ole Miss’ and has the SEC’s sack leader in Myles Garrett, who also is third nationally in sacks with 8.5. Daylon Mack and Zaycoven Henderson have made their impacts on defense especially against Alabama. The Aggies are fourth in the SEC in sacks, which is just two spots short of the leader, Alabama.

Ole Miss has trouble getting to the quarterback, recording only 11 sacks this season. The Rebels Robert Nkemdiche is a leader on defense and was a preseason All-American pick. The defensive tackle suffered a concussion against Memphis, but was just cleared to play according to multiple reports Thursday night.

A&M’s secondary has improved with players such as Donovan Wilson shining and Brandon Williams adapting well to the cornerback position. The play at safety has been excellent for A&M this season. The play at corner has been improved but still hasn’t been as solid as the Rebels. Ole Miss dominates A&M in terms of turnovers forced by the secondary with 10 interceptions and three returned for touchdowns, which is second in the SEC compared to Alabama’s 12 picks. Defensive back Trae Elston leads the Rebels with four interceptions and is second in the SEC behind Alabama’s Eddie Jackson. The Aggies only have three interceptions, which is tied for the least in the Southeastern Conference.
 

Against the Rush

Advantage: Texas A&M
 

Against the Pass
Advantage: Ole Miss

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