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The Battalion

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

The Battalion

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Seeing double: 3-6 A&M preps for 3-6 Auburn

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Photo by Robert O’Brien

Freshman QB Conner Weigman (15) scrambles for a first down during Texas A&M’s game against Ole Miss at Kyle Field on Saturday, Oct. 29, 2022.

The winning drought continues for Texas A&M football as last week’s 41-24 loss to the Florida Gators extended the Aggies’ losing streak to five. The 3-6 squad was burdened by flu and injuries, causing several key players — including freshman quarterback Conner Weigman and 11 other starters — to be out. 

Led by sophomore quarterback Haynes King, the Aggies showed up big in the first half but lost momentum and concluded the second half scoreless. 

Junior running back Devon Achane was completely unstoppable, scoring all three touchdowns made by A&M. Ranked third in the SEC for rushing yards, Achane totaled 122 yards on the ground against Florida’s defense and marked his fourth 100-yard game of the season. 

Noticeably, Achane did not get many touches on the ball in the second half. Coach Jimbo Fisher said the team could not get the running game going in the second half, preventing a strong closer. 

“We got in the drop-back game, which was tough,” Fisher said. “They were able to run the football. That was the other thing. They were able to continue to run the football and move the clock. It’s a shame. We had a chance to be right there and just didn’t get it done.

This has been a season of constant adjustments for A&M due to injuries, and it has affected the team and its success. Fisher said that he has not experienced anything like it. 

“It’s one of the worst I’ve had as far as that goes,” Fisher said. “[Sophomore defensive lineman Fadil] Diggs will be out for the year. He’s had an injury. [Sophomore defensive back] Deuce Harmon will be out for the year, just had surgery. A couple of other guys are banged and bruised. We’ll have to wait and see where they’re at and what they’re doing. Besides the sickness and the guys coming up out, that’s neither here nor there. You got to play with the guys you got, and we have plenty of good players.”

Clearly, the season has not gone exactly as the Aggies envisioned. Junior offensive lineman Layden Robinson said despite a disappointing season, the team is keeping its heads held high. 

“You never fold during tough times because that means you’re a weak-minded person,” Robinson said. “I feel like this team is not a weak-minded team at all. That’s why we keep fighting every single time we face adversity. I feel like that’s the reason why we keep our heads up. You just have to take stuff like this under the chin. Even though it’s like a repetitive thing that’s happening, we just have to bear down and figure out what’s wrong. That’s the main thing, for a problem, you’ve got to find a solution.”

The Aggies will go back on the road to take on the 3-6 Auburn Tigers, who, like A&M, have struggled this season to execute and produce on either side of the ball. Both teams have only one conference win and would benefit greatly from pulling off the victory Saturday.

“I know that it’s not been a great season, but we still want to come out and win,” Achane said.  “We have to watch film, correct things and at practice, focus on the little errors.”

The Auburn Tigers have seen drastic changes this season, as head coach Bryan Harsin was fired just before of last week’s game. Harsin finished his time at Auburn with a 9-12 record. 

Filling the leadership gap as interim coach for the Tigers is running back coach Carnell “Cadillac” Williams. Led by Williams, Auburn is coming off a 39-33 loss to Mississippi State, but the team displayed major resilience and played hard.

In the second quarter, the Tigers fell behind 24-3 but rallied back to take the lead twice late in the fourth quarter and force overtime where the Tigers ultimately fell short.

“Forget the scoreboard,” Williams told his team at halftime. “We’re going to keep fighting, keep punching. Those kids didn’t blink. Nobody quit.”

Despite the loss, Williams said he was proud of the squad, especially after such a rough week of ups and downs. 

I’m so proud of my guys — they fought,” Williams said. “I emphasized two things all week, serve and believe. Those guys exemplified that. We didn’t complete the mission, but I’m proud of those guys. They fought their tail off.”

Saturday’s 6:30 p.m. kickoff will mark the 12th matchup between the two teams, with A&M holding on to a 6-5 winning advantage over Auburn. 

Although the two teams’ seasons look very similar, a battle of ground versus air could ensue on the Tigers’ home turf. The Aggies have recorded 1,120 rushing yards and 2,166 passing yards this season while Auburn has rushed for 1,630 yards on the ground with 1,813 passing yards.

The matchup between the Aggies and the Tigers will be a must-watch as two teams with mirroring seasons hit the turf, both with hopes for a much-needed victory. 

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