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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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Texas A&M outfielder Jace Laviolette (17) robs a home run from Florida infielder Cade Kurland (4) in the top of the ninth inning during Texas A&M’s game against Florida at the NCAA Men’s College World Series at Charles Schwab Field in Omaha, Nebraska on Sunday, June 15, 2024. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)
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June 16, 2024

Momentum needed for last home game

Redshirt+freshman+quarterback+Nick+Starkel+has+a+QB+rating+of+129.47+and+is+averaging+126.33+passing+yards+per+game.%26%23160%3B
Photo by Photo by Hanna Hausman

Redshirt freshman quarterback Nick Starkel has a QB rating of 129.47 and is averaging 126.33 passing yards per game. 

Coming off back-to-back disappointing losses to SEC heavyweights Mississippi State and Auburn, Texas A&M will square off with nonconference opponent New Mexico at Kyle Field. The Aggies will try to create some momentum heading into their final two-game road stretch of the season.
“I think everybody is excited to get back after it and play up to our standard,” senior punter Shane Tripucka said at Tuesday’s press conference. “We’re ready to get into Kyle Field for the last one of the season and get a little bit of a roll going.”
Nick Starkel took over at quarterback in the middle of last week’s 42-27 loss to Auburn and will get the start against the Lobos (3-6, 1-5 MW). Starkel completed 11-of-22 passes for 184 yards and two touchdowns against the Tigers and jumpstarted an offense that was struggling under the direction of true freshman Kellen Mond.
“I think it’s one of the biggest games that we’re going to have to come out here and make sure we get back on track,” senior wide receiver Damion Ratley said.
The Aggies (5-4, 3-3 SEC) will be tasked with defending an offensive scheme they don’t see very often ­— the shotgun triple-option. Bob Davie, who coached at Texas A&M from 1985-1993, installed the scheme when he took over in 2012 and the Lobos rank 19th in the country in rushing offense.
“They want to run it and they’re creative in how they run it,” A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin said. “They get the quarterback involved in read-option schemes. They’ve been able to do it for the last couple of years and be one of the top teams in the country running the ball.”
Senior defensive end Jarrett Johnson said as long as the Aggies play up to their potential they should be able to defend the option attack, which has historically given Power 5 opponents fits.
“We’re just going to have to be very disciplined and make sure that we play the speed option well,” Johnson said. “We have a good game plan and as long as we execute what we’re supposed to execute we’ll get a win.”
Saturday also marks Senior Night for the Aggies, as it will be the last home game for the A&M seniors.
“It’s gone by fast,” Johnson said. “You just get caught up in practice and school and you look up and the next thing you know it’s the last game of your career. The emotions are high right now. It’s a very important game for me, for this this team and the coaches to make sure that the seniors go out the right way.”
The Aggies’ recent struggles have re-energized the rumors that Sumlin’s job is in jeopardy. However, the players said they don’t think about his future and Sumlin said he is going about his business the same way he has in his six years at A&M.
“What I do is focus on what we have to do this week to win games, and the big picture is going to take care of itself. What we can do is the best we can do,” Sumlin said. “The best thing we can do as a program is focus week to week and whatever happens on Saturday — good or bad — you leave that alone and go to the next week. For me, that’s how I’ve approached it and that’s how I will continue to approach it.”
Winning the final three games of the season would go a long way to assuring Sumlin gets to coach a seventh year in Aggieland, and that road begins Saturday against New Mexico. Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. and will be televised on ESPNU.
“I think this game is going to be big to keep us going for the rest of the season,” Tripucka said. “We want to win and we want to win big at home.”

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