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

Advertisement
Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp attends the Class of 1972 50-year reunion in Kyle Field on April 20, 2022.
A&M System’s Title IX director suspended after supporting Biden's Title IX changes
Nicholas Gutteridge, Managing Editor • May 23, 2024
Advertisement
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)
Saves and a robbery
Ian Curtis, Sports Reporter • June 16, 2024

Texas A&M baseball sophomore RF Jace LaViolette is known for his bat — and for good reason. LaViolette ranks sixth in the country in home...

Advertisement
The Fighting Texas Aggie Band performs at halftime during Texas A&Ms football game against ULM at Kyle Field on Saturday, Sept. 16, 2023.
Gridiron glory to multi-event marvel
Shalina Sabih, Sports Writer • June 7, 2024

Special teams: Special events  “My favorite thing about an event is seeing the people come into the stadium and seeing their excitement...

Kennedy White, 19, sits for a portrait in the sweats she wore the night of her alleged assault inside the Y.M.C.A building that holds Texas A&M’s Title IX offices in College Station, Texas on Feb. 16, 2024 (Ishika Samant/The Battalion).
'I was terrified'
April 25, 2024
Advertisement
Chris Hemsworth as Dementus in Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga.
Review: ‘Furiosa’ is a must-see
Justin ChenJune 4, 2024

My jaw dropped open in 2016. Rarely in life does that happen, but the viewing experience of “Mad Max: Fury Road" was something to behold....

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)
Saves and a robbery
June 16, 2024

Players to watch: Liberty Bowl

Texas A&M (7-5) and West Virginia (7-5) will compete in the 56th Autozone Liberty Bowl, which will be played 1 p.m. Monday on ESPN.
Both teams possess talent up and down their rosters. Listed below are the players to watch who could each heavily impact the matchup. Because the Mountaineers and the Aggies involve a plethora of players in their air raid schemes, most of their playmakers stem from the offensive side of the ball.
For Texas A&M:
Josh Reynolds (WR) – In his first season starting at wide receiver for the Aggies, the 6-foot-4 sophomore caused nightmares for opponents with his ability to find the endzone. After 11 games, Reynolds tied Mike Evans and Jeff Fuller for the most receiving touchdowns (12) in a single season in school history. That could create problems for the Mountaineer defense, which ranks 60th in the nation in passing defense.
Myles Garrett (DE) – The freshman sensation is similar to Reynolds in his familiarity with the record books. In just his ninth game of the season against Louisiana Monroe, Garrett amassed sack number 8.5, breaking the SEC freshman sack record held previously by last year’s number one overall pick in the NFL Draft, Jadeveon Clowney. Now, Garrett has 11 sacks, but could struggle to find more against a quarterback who has only been sacked once in his three games of play.
Kyle Allen (QB) – In what will be his fifth start of the season, Allen will need to be convincing. He will be in yet another quarterback battle in 2015, this time against Kenny Hill and the number one quarterback of the 2015 class, Kyler Murray. Coming into the game, the Arizona native is 96-for-157 with 1,028 passing yards, 12 touchdowns and six interceptions. Don’t be surprised if Hill takes over the quarterback duties if the freshman plays poorly.
A&M running game- The starting runningback position has rotated amongst Trey Williams, Brandon Williams and Tra Carson. None of the three has reached 500 yards this season. With a 3-3-5 defensive look, West Virginia is susceptible to getting hammered by the running opposition, who in four of the five Mountaineer losses ran for over 200 rushing yards per game.
For West Virginia:
Kevin White (WR) – The 6-foot-3 senior transfer from Lackawanna College racked up the 7th most receiving yards in the country in just his second year with the Mountaineers at 1,318 yards, earning him a finalist bid for the Biletnikoff award. White also tacked on nine scores while registering eight games with over 100 yards. Although he is not known to be a deep threat, White was a reception machine, snagging seven or more receptions in eight games. This included a 16-grab outing against Texas. If White’s production is limited, watch out for senior receiver Mario Alford, a speedy deep threat who compiled 888 yards through the air this season.
West Virginia running game – While being 44th in the country for yards on the ground, the Mountaineers are very similar with A&M in the sense that they utilize three different backs: Rushel Shell, Wendell Smallwood and Dreamius Smith. Together, they’ve combined for 14 touchdowns and almost 2,000 rushing yards. They will face a defense that allows over 220 yards on the ground per game.
Skyler Howard (QB) – Like Allen, Howard was not originally the starter. After taking over the Kansas State game and earning the start for the Iowa state matchup, Howard was named the official starter for the A&M game after the first-string quarterback, Clint Trickett, retired due to recurring concussions. Being referred by many as dual-threat, Howard dashed for 69 yards in the regular season finale. Through the air, Howard is 36-65 for 483 yards, five touchdowns and zero interceptions.
Takeaways:
Texas A&M’s defense is not playing at a high enough level to halt both the running and passing game. They will have to decide which to minimize. Either let West Virginia’s stable of backs and Howard’s running ability run loose, or make the new, inexperienced quarterback attempt to win it through the air. The second option should be better, unless Kevin White and Mario Alford have a field day, something that could very well happen. If the Aggies commit and stop one of the Mountaineers strengths, A&M’s offense should be good enough to outscore them.
Win the turnover margin. Even by ending the regular season with a -7 turnover margin, the Aggies still have the advantage over the Mountaineers, who come in at -15. As one would expect, A&M was a lot more successful when they won the takeaway battle.
Grind it out. A&M averages 4.6 yards per carry, while West Virginia is T-104th in sacks and T-48th in tackles for loss. Since the Mountaineers have a three-man defensive front, there should be no problem getting the running game going based on the numbers. If the Aggies can control the tempo by running effectively, they will have the advantage by tiring an already weak defense.
The Aggies are 3-0 in their last three bowl games. They will attempt to win four consecutive bowl games for the first time in program history.

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Battalion

Your donation will support the student journalists of Texas A&M University - College Station. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Battalion

Comments (0)

All The Battalion Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *