COLLEGE STATION, TEXAS – SEPTEMBER 03: Texas A&M Aggies Head Coach Jimbo Fisher stands with teammates following their 31-0 win over the Sam Houston State Bearkats at Kyle Field on September 03, 2022 in College Station, Texas. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)
No. 6 Texas A&M (1-0) vs. ASU (0-1)
Game time: 2:30 PM CT
TV/Radio: ESPN2/Sirius XM 192
What’s at Stake: Aggies trust in QB Haynes King and momentum heading into what is hopefully Texas A&M’s first real test- No. 15 Miami Hurricanes
When Texas A&M has the ball
Establish the running attack by any means necessary.
Running back Devon Achane is a necessary and capable weapon for the Aggie offense yet rushed for only 42 yards on 18 attempts in the season opener against Sam Houston State (2.3 yds YPC).
Achane’s Saturday afternoon output on the ground was the worst of his collegiate career when getting 10+ carries. Before facing SHSU, his career worst performance on the ground came at the conclusion of last season against LSU when the running back averaged 4.1 YPC in a 27-24 loss.
In preparation of Appalachian State, A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher had this to say, “We’re going to have to run the football, that’s what we do”. Look for the Aggies to utilize Achane in open space early and often.
When Appalachian State has the ball
Build on the foundation that has been laid.
The Texas A&M defense did their job last week to start the 2022 season. The Aggie defense made it a long afternoon for Sam Houston State, and did not allow a single point to reach the scoreboard at Kyle Field.
The young and often rotating rush attack up front must keep constant pressure on Appalachian State QB Chase Brice. If D.J. Durkin’s defense shows discipline in their assignments to contain the QB, expect a long and aggravating Saturday afternoon not only for Brice, but for ASU running back Nate Noel as well.
Two Key Aggies to Watch
- QB Haynes King
The 12th Man has been starved for a player under center they can trust week in and week out; King did not satisfy that need in the first game of 2022.
The athleticism of the young QB is evident, but the Longview native will need to show the capability to make the right decisions. The vertical passing game raises eyebrows, but King will need to show the ability to make intermediate throws and identify safeties in coverage throughout this game.
2. WR Chris Marshall
Texas A&M’s receiver group could be downright scary for the opposition in 2022 and for years to come. Expect QB Haynes King to find his big target-freshman Chris Marshall multiple times on Saturday, especially in any red zone situation. The 6’ 3” WR is hungry and could help King stave off the wolves who might already be calling for LSU transfer Max Johnson.
The Bottom Line
Coach speak often tells us, “We are focused on this week” but… Let’s be real. Texas A&M must tune up and be ready for #15 Miami next week when they welcome the Hurricanes to Kyle Field. Jimbo Fisher and the Aggies must find a way to run the ball while maximizing QB Haynes King’s athleticism and the abilities of their receivers.