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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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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Players to watch: Ole Miss

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Photo by Chris Swann/The Battalion

Graduate WR Ainias Smith (0) breaks a tackle during Texas A&M’s game vs. South Carolina at Kyle Field on Saturday, Oct. 28, 2023.

After defeating the South Carolina Gamecocks last week to snap a two game losing streak, the Texas A&M football team looks to continue improving against the Ole Miss Rebels. Here are the players to watch for as the Aggies take on the Rebels at Vaught Hemingway Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 4 at 11:00 a.m.
Jaxson Dart, Ole Miss quarterback
Junior quarterback Jaxson Dart was recently named one of 35 quarterbacks nationally on the Davey O’Brien quarterback class of 2023 list. Dart’s consistency in leading his team to wins proves the consideration for such a prestigious award.
In his second season as starting quarterback for the Rebels, Dart has been dangerous in the air with 2,080 passing yards, 14 touchdowns and has completed 136 of 211 passes so far this season. Dart’s effectiveness has contributed majorly to the Rebels’ offense, ranking third in the SEC in both scoring, 38.9 points per game, and total offense, 474-yards per game.
In 2022, he led Ole Miss to a close 31-28 win over the Aggies at Kyle Field and will be looking to get the win again this season on the Rebels’ home turf.
Ainias Smith, A&M wide receiver
The graduate wide receiver has been key for the Aggies, bringing much needed energy to the field with his dynamic runs and punt returns.
Smith has been a consistent contributor to the Aggie offense this season, ranking 13th in the SEC with 64.4 receiving yards per game and leads the SEC in punt returns, averaging 20.2 yards per return. Against the Gamecocks, Smith recorded his longest reception of the season with a 42-yard receiving touchdown and totaled 118 receiving yards in the game, his second highest of the season.
The Aggies will need Smith to continue producing on offense in order to move down the field and compete with the Rebels.
Jared Ivey, Ole Miss defensive back
In last week’s matchup against Vanderbilt, senior defensive back Jared Ivey led the Rebels with 2.5 sacks, his highest of the season and seven tackles for loss. Three other Rebels also recorded sacks for the squad.
Ivey has been dynamic this season with a total of 31 tackles, 11 solo, for 47-yards of loss.
Protecting Aggie quarterback Max Johnson in the pocket will be crucial as Ivey and the Rebels defense will continue to attack in their quest to record sacks and make big stops.
Edgerrin Cooper, A&M linebacker
It’s safe to say that even with a 5-3 season, the Aggies’ defense has been on fire. After an early season loss to Miami, many questioned the defense’s ability to get the job done. However, the Aggies have proved that they are here to stop major offenses and make big time plays.
The Maroon and White defensive line leads with 33 sacks in the SEC and has been creating chaos for its opponents’ offensive line all season long.
Junior linebacker Edgerrin Cooper has tallied 52 tackles and 6.5 sacks this season. Cooper has recorded a sack every game in SEC play except for the matchup against Tennessee. The Bednarik Award Player of the Week also ranks fourth nationally with 13.5 tackles for loss.
Cooper’s grit and ability to make stops makes him a defensive threat and could help shake up the Rebels’ offense.

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