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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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Mississippi State’s defense creates new opportunity for A&M offense

A&M is looking to get over the hump offensively, and there is no better opportunity to improve than at home against Mississippi State on Saturday.
The Bulldogs rank in the bottom three in points allowed in the SEC, and their last three games have been a struggle.
Mississippi State gave up 56 points on the road to Auburn, followed by 20 to Tennessee and 36 against LSU last week.
For A&M, the offense has continued to struggle. Despite a win on the road, junior quarterback Kellen Mond had his worst passing performance since facing Arkansas in 2018.
Tight end Jalen Wydermyer was the leading receiver for the Aggies, and the defense was the leading factor in putting the offense in scoring position in the second half against Ole Miss.
“I think we just need to play as a unit and just feed off of each other,” wideout Jhamon Ausbon said. “I don’t think we do a good job of playing with a winning mentality off of every play.”
With the air raid becoming less effective, the run game is stepping up, with tailback Isaiah Spiller leading the way with Mond.
“[Spiller] keeps getting better,” A&M coach Jimbo Fisher said. “He did a really nice job in pass protection, his pass protection keeps growing. Now he’s learning to use his tackles inside, where he fits and how he does things, and he’s doing a really good job in there getting after it.”
Mond said that in order for the offense to be successful, there has to be some rhythm throughout the game.
“It’s easy to say what we should be doing, but we still got to be able to execute,” Mond said. “We got to be able to be more consistent.”
Now, A&M will have another chance to develop the run game against another inferior rushing defense. Mississippi State is tenth in the SEC for rushing yards allowed per game and is giving up nearly two touchdowns per contest.
The Aggies have figured out how to get a significant amount of yardage for the first time this season, finding space on screens and the edges of the offensive line. If A&M’s offensive front is able to create space up front like Mississippi State’s last three opponents, the Aggies could have their best running game performance against a Power 5 team this season.
Mississippi State is also looking to get back on track with its defense. The defense gave up six rushing touchdowns to Auburn, and has given up more scores on the ground to its last three opponents than in the first five games of the season combined.
The Bulldogs’ defensive secondary is having a tough time defending the pass, as well. It has allowed a 73 percent completion rate and 283 yards per game through the air from opposing quarterbacks throughout the team’s losing streak.
A&M will face Mississippi State Saturday morning at Kyle Field. Kickoff is set for 11 a.m. and will be televised on SEC Network.

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