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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)
Saves and a robbery
June 16, 2024

Razor-thin win, Razor-sharp confidence

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Tanner Garza — THE BATTALION

I was so ready to write about how pathetic A&M looked on Saturday. Sure, I expected Arkansas to run at will, like they do against every other team, but I had faith in the offense. For three quarters, I could not have been more wrong. Heisman hopeful Kenny Hill looked decidedly less than superhuman, and an Aggie offense that was averaging 55 points per game had managed just 14 in the game’s first 45 minutes.
And then they caught fire.
Maybe it was the magic of Johnny Football on the sideline or maybe it was inevitable, but the Aggie offense started clicking in the fourth quarter. Two huge pass plays gave the Aggies the momentum to finish an improbable victory. 21 unanswered points against an SEC West opponent away from home is no joke.
This team is for real.
Remember in 2012 when A&M was down-and-out against Ole Miss? Manziel hit Ryan Swope with just under two minutes to seal the win in Oxford. A&M was still looking to find an identity in its new conference before that win. Many players looked back on that game for the confidence that they could win any contest in the SEC.
That’s what this win over Arkansas will mean to this team.
The Aggies did not play well, and they know it. They didn’t “deserve” to win the game, but somehow they did. They fought and clawed their way back even when it looked like they had no chance. As the Aggies head into an absolute gauntlet of a schedule down the stretch, Kevin Sumlin and co. will be able to point their young team back to that afternoon in Arlington as proof that this team has the potential to win no matter what situation they find themselves in.
At least, that’s the plan, because it is going to get more difficult every week for the Aggies. In the next three weeks, A&M plays No. 12 Mississippi State, No. 11 Ole Miss and No. 3 Alabama – all undefeated and all poised to knock the Aggies season off track. If they somehow manage to make it through that, A&M still has No. 5 Auburn and No. 17 LSU on their plates.
They are ready.
This isn’t the 2011 team that found a way to choke in the second half of every game. This is a Kevin Sumlin-led team that finds a way to win in the most dire of circumstances. He has a team full of veteran leaders (Malcome Kennedy, Mike Matthews, Julien Obioha and Deshazor Everett) and young talent (Kenny Hill, Speedy Noil, Myles Garrett and Shaan Washington).
You might see a nail-biter win against an unranked Arkansas team as a dark cloud, but I see a silver lining.
These Aggies have tangible proof that they know how to fight back in tough games. The veterans have been here before. They remember Ole Miss. They remember 2012 Louisiana Tech. They remember the Bama game. They remember the Duke game. And now the entire team can remember this game.
A&M has the talent, coaching staff and gumption to win this season. I’m not talking about just next week. I’m not talking about just the SEC West. I’m not talking about just the conference championship.
Will this team rise to the occasion? I have no idea. But I do know that there is not a team in the country that isn’t terrified at the thought of facing these Fighting Texas Aggies.
Tyler Stafford is an interdisciplinary studies senior and sports editor for The Battalion.

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