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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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Ready for Clemson

Junior%26%23160%3BTyrel+Dodson+had+three+tackles+in+the+victory+over+Northwestern+State.
Photo by Photo by Jesse Everett

Junior Tyrel Dodson had three tackles in the victory over Northwestern State.

Ahead of their matchup against Northwestern State, the Texas A&M defense was a big question mark for the team as many positions were still up in the air and freshman were working to fill those spots.
But when the time came to take the field on Thursday, the Aggie defense proved to be a major asset, allowing only 21 rushing yards and giving up only one touchdown against the Demons, aiding in the Aggies’ 59-7 win.
Senior defensive lineman Landis Durham said stopping the running game was a key part of their plan to stop Northwestern State from getting down the field.
“If you stop the run, all they can do is pass,” Durham said. “If we take one part of the game away from them, then they have to lean on the other [and] then we’re doing our jobs. It was a big part of the game for us.”
However, the defense faced multiple challenges during the game. A few major mistakes could have cost the Aggies their season opener if veteran players and freshman alike hadn’t stepped up to pick up the slack.
Senior linebacker Otaro Alaka and senior defensive back Donovan Wilson were both ejected from the game on separate occasions in the first half. Alaka and Wilson were charged with targeting, a rule that prohibits players from hitting a defenseless player above the shoulders or hitting their opponent with the front of their helmet. Defensive lineman Kingsley Keke said the early loss of two starting players kicked the rest of the defense into gear.
“Everyone stepped up,” Keke said. “Tyrel [Dodson] can play multiple positions. Be linebacker, right linebacker, Tyrell can do both. Then Buddy Johnson can step up. Everyone was doing good, you know, just communicating. Everyone felt comfortable about what they were doing.”
Head coach Jimbo Fisher said he was happy with the defense’s ability to keep their composure in the second half after being forced to shift players and positions around.
“Our defensive front has done a great job,” Fisher said. “We’ve been running on offense but in the second half of that thing, boy they stepped up and really fit in the run… You’ve got to be able to do that.”
With Clemson right around the corner, Durham said A&M’s defense is looking to keep a similar strategy when facing the No. 2 offense on Saturday.
“Just carrying over,” Durham said. “Look at the little things we did right today and make sure that carries over these next couple preparation days for this next game. We’ve got to go out there and do the same thing we did today.”

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