Kneauxing the Enemy Seven
by Bryan Follins
The Tigers visit Kyle Field Saturday to face Texas A&M. The Aggies have won four straight games. One noticeable difference between the 2020 Aggies and the 2019 Aggies is the 2020 squad has an improved running game. The offensive line play is better, and hence, the running attack is better. The sacks allowed per game have decreased. The Aggie offensive line has not allowed a sack since the season opening game against Vanderbilt. They have allowed only two sacks for the entire season.
The offensive line is a rarity. It actually has players who have stayed in school until their senior years. Left tackle Dan Moore and right tackle Carson Green are seniors who are three-year starters. Right guard Jared Hocker, a senior, is a three-year starter. Sophmore left guard Kenyon Green is a two-year starter.
Hence, the running game is improved. The Aggies feature a three-pronged attack at the running back position. Sophomore Isaiah Spiller is the fourth leading rusher in the SEC with 643 yards and five rushing touchdowns. Sophomore running back Ainias Smith has 312 yards in receptions. Smith is actually the leading receiver on the team. Freshman running back Devon Achane has 124 yards rushing on 21 carries with two touchdowns.
Freshman wide receiver Chase Lane and sophomore tight end Jalen Wydermyer both have 311 yards in receptions on the season.
The quarterback is senior Kellen Mond. This year Mond has thrown 16 touchdown passes with only two interceptions. He is the seventh leading passer in the SEC, throwing for 1,468 yards for the season.
On defense, the Aggies have allowed 95.7 yards rushing per contest, 10th best in the nation and second in the conference. Texas A&M gives up just over three yards per rush.
Senior linebacker Buddy Johnson leads the team in tackles with 57, 25 solos. He has two sacks, four tackles for losses (tfls) and two forced fumbles for the year. Senior linebacker Aaron Hansford is the team’s second leading tackler with 33, 12 unassisted. Hansford also has four tfls and two sacks. Defensive lineman Micheal Clemons, a graduate student, has 4.5 tfls and four sacks for the season.
The Aggies also have active defensive backs, led by junior Leon O’Neal, Jr. and sophomore Demani Richardson, who have 30 and 31 tackles respectively. O’Neal has two tfls and two interceptions.
Unlike some SEC teams, Texas A&M actually has players who are seniors and key starters.
Once again, it is a critical game for the Purple and Gold, as they seek a winning season in a campaign of one game seasons.
*This article is written with the understanding, due to COVID issues, personnel changes are possible before the start of this game.