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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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When the night calls: A&M will kick-off a night game against Mississippi State

Sophomore+DB+Bryce+Anderson+%281%29+and+the+team+celebrate+after+winning+the+game+vs.+New+Mexico+on+Saturday%2C+Sept.+2%2C+2023+at+Kyle+Field.
Photo by Ishika Samant

Sophomore DB Bryce Anderson (1) and the team celebrate after winning the game vs. New Mexico on Saturday, Sept. 2, 2023 at Kyle Field.

In what seems like forever, Saturday, Nov. 11’s football matchup will take place underneath the bright lights of Kyle Field at 6:30 p.m., as Texas A&M welcomes Mississippi State. For both teams, it’s been a subpar season that they’d like to forget and a win this weekend would be a good indicator as the final stretch of games approaches.
For the Maroon and White, it hasn’t been an easy season. An early loss to Miami tacked on with an injury to sophomore quarterback Connor Weigman were huge blows to start conference play. Then, back-to-back close losses to Alabama and Tennessee led to more frustration. Though last week’s matchup against Ole Miss came down to the wire, it was yet another close loss.
Through the ups and downs, one thing the football team can rely on is the support of the 12th Man. Coach Jimbo Fisher said it’s nice to have the home crowd come out no matter the time.
“It’s funny, everyone says night games, but at 11:00 [a.m.], we’ve been over 100,000 [in attendance] every game,” Fisher said. “It’s amazing how [the 12th Man] shows up no matter what the circumstances.”
However, as good as the home crowd has been, the play on the field has not translated, at least offensively. The offense is ranked 37th in passing offense and 94th in rushing offense, with injuries and offensive line struggles playing a hand in the middle-of-the-pack rankings.
On the other side of the ball, the A&M defensive line has been dominant for the majority of the season. It’s ranked second in team sacks (34) in large part to junior defensive linemen Fadil Diggs and Shemar Turner and linebacker Edgerrin Cooper. While the secondary have been torched at times, the line has been consistent.
No matter what, though, it just seems like the offense and defense can’t sync up. In the losses to Alabama and Tennessee, the defense kept the offense in it and gave them a chance to win, but the offense failed to put up points on the board.
Then, in the most recent loss to Ole Miss, the offense fired on all cylinders besides a red zone interception. The mix of sophomore quarterback Max Johnson and running back duo of sophomore Le’Veon Moss and junior Amari Daniels kept the Aggies in the game. Aside from a scoop-and-score, the A&M defense failed to stop the Rebels’ offense from scoring in the final minutes of the game.
If the Maroon and White hope to finish the season strong, they’ll start with putting away a Mississippi State team and being on the same page both offensively and defensively.
Visiting College Station is a Bulldogs team hoping to get back on track after coming off a two-game losing streak.
For Mississippi State, it’s also been a rough season for first-year coach Zach Arnett. Offensively, the team ranks second-to-last in the conference in passing yards per game (191.9) and is dead last in points per game (22.7). In the past three games, the Bulldogs have failed to crack the 20-point mark, and against a strong A&M defense, it’s unlikely to change.
However, a positive note for Arnett is that senior quarterback Will Rogers will most likely be back after missing the previous three games with an injury. In his absence, senior quarterback Mike Wright threw a pick in every game he started, a less than favorable outcome for the Bulldogs.
The defense has not fared much better as it ranks as a bottom-five total defense in the SEC. In the first three-game losing skid, the Mississippi State defense gave up 30-plus points, and in the latest two-game losing streak, it has given up 20-plus points in both games.
Anchoring the defense to the best of their abilities are graduate linebackers Jett Johnson and Nathaniel Watson. The duo combine for 12 sacks and 179 total tackles. Through the losing skids, Johnson and Watson are the two who’ve been consistently showing up.
Overall, while the 12th Man will be treated to a night game, the narrative is that both SEC teams are in the midst of a struggling season.With a win this weekend, a bowl game is still in sight for both teams.

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