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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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One step away
June 8, 2024

Two high powered offenses clash at Bryant-Dennny

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Photo by Photo by Meredith Seaver

Junior running back Trayveon Williams scored the first touchdown of the game. 

After hosting No. 2 Clemson just two weeks ago, No. 22 Texas A&M will travel to Tuscaloosa to face top-ranked Alabama at Bryant-Denny Stadium on Saturday afternoon at 2:30 p.m.
The game will be a matchup of two high-powered offenses. The Aggies are ranked first in the SEC and fifth in the country in total offense with 1,789 yards, while Alabama leads the country in scoring, averaging just over 56 points per game.
“We’re playing a really, really good team — both sides of the ball and special teams,” Alabama head coach Nick Saban said. “Very well-coached and play hard. Scored a lot of points. A lot of production on offense.”
A&M quarterback Kellen Mond will lead the offense again on Saturday. After earning the starting job, the sophomore has looked confident from day one, throwing for 824 yards and six touchdowns. Mond has also rushed for three scores. Saban said he knows what he’s up against this weekend.
“He’s a really good athlete,” Saban said. “He does a great job of extending plays, which he did last year. … He looks a lot more comfortable and a lot more confident in the passing game, executing the passing game, which is something that they’re really good at. … I think a lot of it is because he has done a really good job of distributing the ball.”
Tua Tagovailoa will be the man under center for Crimson Tide on Saturday afternoon. The sophomore quarterback, who helped Alabama lift last year’s national championship trophy, also had a fast start to the year, totaling 646 yards, eight touchdown passes and one rushing touchdown. However, Fisher has not forgotten that Alabama has two quarterbacks that can make plays.
“Tua [Tagovailoa] is playing outstanding,” Fisher said. “And then Jalen [Hurts], when he plays, he plays outstanding. We’re going to have our hands full, that’s for sure.”
Of the eight touchdowns passes Tagovailoa has thrown, an SEC-leading six have been caught by sophomore Jerry Jeudy. The wide receiver has caught 11 passes for 287 yards this season and is averaging 26.1 yards per catch. Jeudy is not the only pass catcher making big plays, as sophomore DeVonta Smith is averaging 20.4 yards per reception.
“The goal is to always eliminate explosive plays,” A&M linebacker Tyrel Dodson said. “The goal is always to play perfect, but sometimes you don’t play perfect. … We’re going to be ready to play and be ready to stop every explosive play.”
A&M has a group of wide receivers that have shown they can also make explosive plays. Sophomore wide receiver Jhamon Ausbon has lead the way for the Aggies, totaling 201 yards this season.
“I feel very confident in our ability to move the ball against anyone,” Ausbon said. “I feel like if you want to win and go far in this league, you have to feel that way about every opponent you face. … As long as we go into the game with that mentality, we’ll be fine.”
Fellow wide receiver and sophomore Kendrick Rogers had a breakout game against Clemson, totaling 120 yards and catching two touchdowns. Camron Buckley has 165 yards to start the season, while junior tight end Jace Sternberger has totaled 146 yards and three touchdown catches this season.
How well each team is able to do on the ground will likely be key to the outcome of this game. The Aggies’ have a stud in Trayveon Williams. The junior running back leads the conference in rushing yards with 399 and has also punched in four touchdowns.
Senior running back Kwame Etwi and freshman Jashaun Corbin have capitalized on their chances in the running game. Etwi has averaged 7.3 yards per carry on 14 touches this season, while Corbin has already rushed for 113 yards and a touchdown in his young career. Etwi believes his freshman teammate can play an important role on this A&M offense.
“Jashaun [Corbin] is great, I love him,” Etwi said. “He brings speed, he’s physical and one thing about Jashaun is that he’s smart. He’s going to be great for us. I’m proud of how he’s been playing. He’s been playing amazing.”
Alabama has a capable ball carrier of their own in sophomore running back Najee Harris. He has averaged 6.8 yard per carry this season, rushing for 203 yards total yards and three touchdowns. Senior running back Damien Harris is also having a strong season, averaging 7.4 yards per carry. He gashed the Aggies for 124 yards and a touchdown last season.
“I think putting emphasis on having leverage, staying in your gap and eliminating explosive plays,” Dodson said. “Damien Harris is a good back. I love playing against him, and I can’t wait to play against him Saturday.”
This matchup of two top-25 teams has a chance to be one of the better games on the slate this weekend. Even so, Fisher knows it will not be an easy afternoon for the Aggies.
“Alabama has an outstanding team as we all know, defending national champions and all that,” Fisher said. “They’re playing outstanding this year. [It’s] going to take three phases – offense, defense, special teams…They can score points, even with their defense.”

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