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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

Wildcats stunned by Aggies in first loss of the season

Photo by Photo by Jesse Everett

Texas A&M’s defense earned seven sacks in the upset of 13 ranked Kentucky at Kyle Field.

No. 13 Kentucky never ran an offensive play in Texas A&M territory during their 20-14 overtime loss at Kyle Field.
Much of the Wildcats’ lackluster offensive performance was due to A&M’s defense holding the SEC’s leading rusher, Benny Snell Jr., to his most unproductive game of the season.
“We knew they were going to make it difficult for us to run,” Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops said. “We thought it would be difficult to run, and sure enough it was. … We were ineffective.”
Coming into tonight’s matchup, Snell had averaged 125 rushing yards per game and lead the SEC with 639 yards and eight touchdowns. The Wildcats’ junior running back only managed 60 yards on the ground against the Aggies and never found the end zone.
“We were beating ourselves,” Snell said. “We just didn’t click as an offense. We usually get it together in the second half, but we weren’t able to finish.”
The Aggie defense held Kentucky to just 70 yards on the ground, only allowing the Wildcats to average 2.3 yards per carry. Despite the offensive struggles, sophomore center Drake Jackson said it was nothing they had not seen on film.
“It’s all stuff we game planned for,” Jackson said. “We just have to execute better. That’s on us as an offensive line to communicate better.”
On Kentucky’s first and only possession in overtime, the Wildcats faced third and two. Kentucky at first lined up with Snell in the backfield, but after a timeout, decided to put the ball in the hands of sophomore quarterback Terry Wilson. That decision resulted in a sack, and ultimately lead to a missed field goal and their first loss of the season.
“My thought was ‘it’s going to be wide open,’ because everyone in the stadium was thinking that Benny is going to get the ball,” offensive coordinator Eddie Gran said. “Bad decision. … Looking back on it, I wish I would have handed it to [Snell].”
Snell was only handed the ball 13 times on Saturday night, an unusual low for the explosive player. Over the first five games of the season, Snell averaged 23 carries per game. Gran said it might have been better for Snell to get more touches early in the game.
“We were trying to keep him balanced,” Gran said. “They were pretty good against the run going into this thing, but our guys were confident. We probably should have given him the ball a little bit more to get him going, because Benny is like that. As he gets going, as he gets warm, as he gets that vision, I think Benny gets better as the game goes on.”
Snell’s Aggie counterpart had a drastically different game. Trayveon Williams rushed for 138 yards on 24 carries and scored the game-winning touchdown in overtime. The junior now leads the SEC in rushing, with 720 total yards, as Snell’s total only climbed to 699 after tonight.
Despite Kentucky’s disappointing night, Snell and the rest of his teammates have not lost any confidence heading into their bye week and the rest of the season.
“I could say it’s a good time for a bye week,” he said. “Guys can get a break, but where I’m at with this team, guys are ready to get after it. … We want to get after it and get on the next opponent because we know how good we are. The game was in our hands. We beat ourselves.”

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