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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

Weakness versus weakness

Junior+RB+Devon+Achane+stops+to+see+where+to+take+the+ball+during+a+game+against+Florida+on+Saturday%2C+Nov.+5%2C+2022+at+Kyle+Field
Photo by Ishika Samant

Junior RB Devon Achane stops to see where to take the ball during a game against Florida on Saturday, Nov. 5, 2022 at Kyle Field

Saturday’s matchup between Texas A&M and Auburn is a battle of the worst teams in the SEC West both having records of 3-6. The loser of the game will miss out on a bowl game. Such an outcome would put either team in unfamiliar territory, so it’s safe to say both could use a win. 

For A&M, much of this season’s struggles have been attributed to its offense. This is due in large part to the revolving door at the quarterback position and struggles on the offensive line. Last week’s loss to Florida was no different.

In the game, A&M found itself with a 24-21 lead at halftime. Unfortunately for A&M, its offense sputtered in the second half as Florida scored 21 unanswered points to win the game 41-24. Junior running back Devon Achane attributed the second-half performance to A&M losing concentration.

“I feel like we had a lot of energy in the first half,” Achane said. “Basically, just us coming out fast. In the second half, we just lost focus. It’s just something that we [got to] fix.”

The maroon and white offense initially did a great job of running and throwing the football but was unable to combat adjustments made by the Gators at halftime. Coach Jimbo Fisher said the Aggies’ inability to establish the run hurt their offense in the second half.

“[We] came out in the second half and we just couldn’t get it going again [on offense],” Fisher said. “Couldn’t get the running game going again. [Led to us getting] in some third and longs.”

Due to true freshman quarterback Conner Weigman being out with the flu, sophomore quarterback Haynes King stepped in his place and performed admirably but struggled with consistently finding his target on passing plays. The backup only managed to complete 23 out of 45 passes. 

Fortunately for A&M, freshman receiver Evan Stewart and sophomore receiver Moose Muhammad III continued to play well and looked like true building blocks for the team’s offense. Achane also chipped in 127 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns.

Luckily for A&M, this week’s matchup against Auburn presents its offense with an opportunity to find its footing. Auburn’s defense has made a habit out of giving up points to its opposition. The unit has given up at least 35 points to the opposing team’s offense in five out of its last seven games. 

Despite Auburn’s struggles on defense, they still have talented players A&M will need to watch out for. Senior edge rusher Derick Hall and junior defensive end Colby Wooden have combined for 20 tackles for loss and 10.5 sacks. Auburn’s ability to pressure Weigman and contain the running game could decide the outcome of the game.

Fisher expects Weigman to be back on the field in Saturday’s conference matchup.

“They cleared him,” Fisher said. “He took IV’s [and medicine] all weekend. [He] should be good to go [for] practice.”

The return of Weigman should give a boost to A&M’s offense as a whole. The freshman quarterback threw for four touchdown passes and 338 yards in his first game against a ranked Ole Miss team. A&M hopes he can continue to build on his first start and take control of the quarterback position. 

Kickoff at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn, Ala., is set for 6:30 p.m. 

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