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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

Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp attends the Class of 1972 50-year reunion in Kyle Field on April 20, 2022.
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Texas A&M pitcher Evan Aschenbeck (53) reacts after throwing the final strike out during Texas A&M’s game against Mississippi State on Saturday, March 23, 2024, at Olsen Field. (Chris Swann/ The Battalion)
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Kennedy White, 19, sits for a portrait in the sweats she wore the night of her alleged assault inside the Y.M.C.A building that holds Texas A&M’s Title IX offices in College Station, Texas on Feb. 16, 2024 (Ishika Samant/The Battalion).
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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Texas A&M offense to face first SEC test against Auburn defense

Photo by Kaylee Cogbill

Freshman wide receiver Ainias Smith had a kickoff return for 16 yards in the Aggie win against Lamar.

No. 17 Texas A&M is coming off of a big win over Lamar. The Aggie offense put 62 points on the scoreboard against the Cardinals in an impressive offensive showing. They will need to bring that same aggression as they shift their focus to the first SEC match-up of the season against No. 8 Auburn.
Auburn will enter Kyle Field with a 3-0 record and is ranked as the fourth overall defense in the conference. The Tigers’ defense could offer many of the same challenges as the game against Clemson did for A&M, including a stout front seven and a strong secondary.
A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher noted that Auburn is an elite opponent and knows that Auburn is a force to be reckoned with on the defensive side of the ball.
“We have a very good opponent coming in,” Fisher said. “Auburn is a top ten team and are very deserving. Defensively they are outstanding. They’re as good of a defensive front as you get in college football.”
A&M has performed well offensively in its two games against non-power five opponents, scoring 41 points in the season opener against Texas State and 62 against Lamar last weekend. The dark spot on the Aggies’ offensive resume is their poor showing against Clemson, where A&M scored just 10 points. The Aggies clearly struggled to find a rhythm and were effectively shut down by the elite defense that Clemson displayed.
The Tigers are statistically the fourth strongest defense in the SEC, but Auburn also has faced a serious test where many other teams have not. Auburn defeated Oregon in their season opener three weeks ago. The Tigers limited the offense-heavy Pac 12 powerhouse to just 21 points and made it clear that the Auburn defense was a strong unit. The Tigers have only allowed a combined 43 points this season and average 292 yards to opposing offenses a game. If the Aggies want to control the game on Saturday, then they must be able to break through this formidable unit.
One thing that may pay to A&M’s advantage is the crippling effects of injuries that have plagued the Tigers.
Standout senior defensive tackle Derrick Brown is listed as day-to-day for Auburn, and this could give the Aggies a slight edge on the ground as the 6’5”, 318 pound tackle was essential to plugging up gaps and stopping the rushing attack of opposing offenses.
Junior offensive tackle Carson Green said his team welcomes a challenge, stating that he would prefer that Auburn is at full health.
“We want to beat them at their best,” said Green. “We played a ton of good d-lines last year, and we’re going to play a lot this year. We want everybody’s best shot. We’re going to say that we won because we beat them fair and square.”
For the Aggies this could be a big factor as the team will look to true freshman running back Isaiah Spiller to have a big day.
Spiller had a huge night against Lamar, rushing for 116 yards on 14 carries and adding two touchdowns. Spiller was not alone in A&M’s ground game, as three other players — including junior quarterback Kellen Mond — got a touchdown on the ground.
Mond and his receiving corps will need a big day as well if the offense wants to gain any traction against Auburn.
Mond said he feels that he is ready for a big game on Saturday following his previous performance against Lamar.
“I thought I performed pretty well,” Mond said regarding his game against Lamar. “I felt really comfortable in the pocket, and thought my eyes were really well. I feel really good starting a whole new week. We’re pretty much starting a whole new week, pretty much starting everything over, a whole new game plan, so we’re going to have to do week of preparing and training on the field.”
Mond has thrown for 747 yards with five touchdowns to three interceptions this season. It will be vital that he limit his turnovers, having thrown an interception in every game. The receivers will need to show up for him as well. Only junior receiver Jhamon Ausbon has had a 100-yard game for the Aggies, and the team will need other players to step up.
Junior Quartney Davis will return after missing last week’s game, and true freshman Ainias Smith has shown promise after racking up 66 yards and a touchdown against Lamar. Look for these two to stand out Saturday afternoon. For A&M to win the battle against the Auburn defense, the passing game will need to limit mistakes, drops and turnovers. If they can do this then the Aggies could have a big game offensively.
Kickoff between Texas A&M and Auburn is set for 2:30 p.m. on Saturday at Kyle Field. The game will be broadcast on CBS.

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