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

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Ole Miss matchup places all eyes on Garrett, Tunsil

Photo by Photo By: Bryan Johnson
Football Preview

Football is often referred to as a game of matchups. Saturday evening, there will be one matchup on display that will serve as “the game within the game” due to the caliber of the two players involved — Myles Garrett and Laremy Tunsil. 

Through the first six games of the No. 15 Aggies (5-1, 2-1 SEC) 2015 campaign, the true-sophomore defensive end Garrett leads the SEC in sacks, and has now been named SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week following A&M’s past two games against Mississippi State and Alabama. 

Lining up against Garrett this week for No. 24 Ole Miss (5-2, 2-1 SEC) will be All-SEC left tackle, Laremy Tunsil. The 6-foot-5, 305-pound junior will play in his first game since last year’s Peach Bowl and has been projected to be a high pick in next year’s NFL Draft. His absence was due to the combination of an injury and a suspension following allegations of receiving improper benefits. 

The Mississippi quarterback that front line will protect is the junior college-transfer, Chad Kelly. Texas A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin praised Kelly, who leads the SEC in passing yards by over 500 and in passing touchdowns with 16. His favorite target, Laquon Treadwell, leads the SEC in receiving yards with 654, surpassing Christian Kirk by 45 yards.

“Chad Kelly is a big, strong guy, has a great arm, live arm and their perimeter guys are fabulous,” Sumlin said. “They’ve got exceptional talent on the outside.”  

With Kelly at the helm and with an upgraded front line, the task for the A&M defense might be its toughest of the season. The Rebels, through week seven, lead the SEC in scoring, producing 43.6 per game and put up 520 yards on average. Even with the loss of linebacker Otaro Alaka, Freeze said he is not overlooking the Aggies defensive attack, especially when considering who is calling the shots. 

“They are super talented,” Freeze said in his Monday news conference. “Coach John Chavis has been in this game a long time, and he has good schemes. He keeps you off balance. Then you add that to the fact that they have very talented guys, it makes for a good defense.”

The improved Aggie defensive unit managed to only allow 20 points to a high-powered Alabama offense last week, and the difference of the game was mostly from three pick-sixes on offense. After looking at the tape at the conclusion of the Aggies primetime matchup in College Station last week, one thing that stuck with Sumlin was the play of senior running back Tra Carson. 

“I couldn’t be happier with Tra Carson’s effort,” Sumlin said. “Tra has been awesome this year as far as a leader, as a guy who has run the ball and taken a lot of shots.” 

The 6 p.m. matchup between the Aggies and the Rebels Saturday will serve as the nation’s lone AP top-25 contest of the week and will also be the first time that the Aggies travel outside Texas this season. 

Sumlin has said throughout the season, “we have still not played our best game.” Saturday night in Oxford will be a chance for Sumlin’s team to put an end to that expression.

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