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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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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Taking on the Tigers: A&M’s offense vs. LSU’s defense

Sophomore+QB+Jaylen+Henderson+%2816%29+throws+the+ball+during+Texas+A%26amp%3BMs+game+against+ACU+on+Saturday%2C+Nov.+18%2C+2023+at+Kyle+Field.+%28Ishika+Samant%2FThe+Battalion%29
Photo by Ishika Samant

Sophomore QB Jaylen Henderson (16) throws the ball during Texas A&M’s game against ACU on Saturday, Nov. 18, 2023 at Kyle Field. (Ishika Samant/The Battalion)

If there is any glimmer of hope for Texas A&M football to end its nine-game road losing skid, it is taking advantage of the LSU defense that ranks No. 103 in the nation in yards per game.
With an offense that consists of one of the Heisman favorites in senior quarterback Jayden Daniels, the Tigers would be contending for a playoff spot if their defense was not so putrid. LSU’s opponents are averaging 169.9 yards on the ground and 241 yards through the air per game.
However, the A&M offense does not pose the same threat as teams like Ole Miss and Missouri, who accumulated 90 total points combined on the Tigers’ defense. The Aggies’ offense ranks in the middle of the pack in the SEC and will likely be starting its third string quarterback in junior Jaylen Henderson.
Henderson will be making his third career start this week, looking to improve to 3-0 in leading the Maroon and White’s offense. Against a stronger defense in MIssissippi State, who ranks No. 51 in the nation in total defense, Henderson led the Aggies’ offense to 51 points, accounting for four of the touchdowns.
A&M will need a similar performance from Henderson, knowing how high-powered the LSU offense is. The Tigers’ offense is No. 1 in the nation in yards per game, so the Aggies will likely need to score at a high rate.
In Week 12, A&M freshman running back Rueben Owens rushed for over 100 yards for the first time in his career. As the season goes on, Owens continues to improve and look like the five-star prospect he was coming out of high school.
There appears to be an opportunity for a breakout game for Owens, facing the No. 101 rushing defense in the nation. In 2022’s contest, which resulted in a 38-23 victory for the Aggies, running back Devon Achane exposed the Tigers’ run defense, accumulating 215 yards on the ground with a pair of touchdowns.
It may take a similar performance for the Aggies’ running game to pull off back-to-back upset victories over the Purple and Gold.
Also in last year’s contest, A&M wide receiver Moose Muhammad III hauled in five catches for 94 yards and a touchdown. However, before last week, Muhammad had been limited to just 16 catches for 159 yards on the season.
Last week against Abilene Christian, Muhammad put on a show, hauling in four grabs for 104 yards and a touchdown.
“When the plays were called, [Muhammad] was there and Jaylen [Henderson] made really great throws to him,” interim head coach Elijah Robinson said. “We all know what he is capable of. He can make those tough catches and he can do something after he catches it.”
One-handed grabs like the one Muhammad made against the Wildcats should not be a surprise to fans of the Tigers after watching him make them routinely in last year’s matchup.
Regardless if Muhammad has a similar game to last year, the Maroon and White would benefit tremendously from one of their wideouts stepping up and making life easier for Henderson.
Another option is senior wide receiver Ainias Smith, who leads the team in receiving with 736 yards and will likely be playing in his final regular season game with the Maroon and White.
It would be a proper send off for Smith if he is able to lead his team to victory in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, something the Maroon and White have not done since 1994.

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