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Texas A&M Football

Aggies must continue SEC-level play, run defense against No. 25 UAB

November 16, 2018
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Standings indicate Texas A&M is getting a break from challenging Southeastern Conference football competition.

A&M coach Jimbo Fisher says differently.

Alabama-Birmingham, which A&M (6-4) faces at 6 p.m. at Kyle Field, certainly is a non-conference opponent. However, Fisher says UAB (9-1), which is ranked 25th in the weekly coaches poll, doesn’t qualify as a break — not even by SEC standards.

“This is a great football team, UAB,” Fisher said earlier this week. “They can flat out play. 

"Whether you’re playing Alabama, you’re playing UAB, you’re playing Auburn, you’re playing Georgia, you’re playing LSU, you’re playing Arkansas, Mississippi … it doesn’t matter. This team right here is in the Top 25. It’s like another SEC team.”

"Whether you’re playing Alabama, you’re playing UAB, you’re playing Auburn, you’re playing Georgia...it doesn’t matter. This team right here is in the Top 25. It’s like another SEC team.”
- Head Coach Jimbo Fisher

In that case the Aggies should be cautiously optimistic because they’re 3-0 against SEC teams in games played in the state of Texas. The Aggies defeated Arkansas in Arlington and have posted home field victories over Kentucky and Ole Miss.

Further cause for optimism is that A&M limited those three teams to a combined 192 rushing yards.

UAB relies heavily on its running game. The Blazers average 238 rushing yards to rank 17th in the nation in that category. Of the 43 touchdowns UAB has scored, 29 have come on the ground. Running back Spencer Brown has accounted for almost half of those (14).

But the Dragons figure to find the going more difficult than usual against the Aggies, who are ranked second in the nation in run defense. No opponent has managed more than 143 rushing yards against A&M. Also, the Aggies have allowed only nine rushing touchdowns.

A&M defensive end Kingsley Keke credited Defensive Coordinator Mike Elko for A&M’s strong showing in run defense.

“I would say it’s definitely coach Elko and his staff,” Keke said. “They way they put us in position to make plays. It's always different. We change to different defenses every week. We just don’t have a basic defense that we do and keep that. We’re always changing stuff every week.

“We always emphasize stopping the run. That’s how you’re going to be successful in this league. That’s what we’re trying to do. We’ve been doing a really good job doing that.”

That can be problematic for UAB, which hasn’t thrown the football particularly well. The Blazers average just 195.3 passing yards.

Further, redshirt freshman Tyler Johnston has started the last two games in place of injured A.J. Erdely. Erdely injured a shoulder in a 29-21 win over North Texas and his status is unknown.

Rey Romo, TexAgs
Despite some mid-season hiccups, the Aggie offense has put up formidable numbers and will challenge UAB.

The Dragons must also contain A&M’s offense, which is among the most productive in the SEC. Aggies quarterback Kellen Mond has passed for nearly 2,500 yards and running back Trayveon Williams leads the SEC with 1,159 rushing yards.

Still, UAB is comes to Kyle Field intent on validating its national ranking. 

“I don’t know if you ever feel good about playing in front of 100,000 fans against an SEC team and all the advantages those guys have,” UAB coach Bill Clark told al.com this week. "They have great staff and players. I feel good about our team, how they are playing, how they play for each other.

“We’re going to compete our butts off and see what happens.”

Fisher expects no less. Yet, he remains more concerned with the unranked team that will be at Kyle field.

“Your opponent is faceless. They’re going to be the opponent and they’re going to play,” Fisher said. “You have to play to your standards and what you do. You have to hold to your standards.”

Discussion from...

Aggies must continue SEC-level play, run defense against No. 25 UAB

7,840 Views | 6 Replies | Last: 4 yr ago by Meximan
MikeInKeller
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UAB's football program shut down in 2014, returned to play in 2017, and now is ranked 25th.

Personally, I feel that 25-rank is a little inflated. So do others, given that A&M is a 15+ point
favorite and A&M is ranked, what?, 34th or so?

Still, that a team with UAB's recent history can be so highly ranked, and they sure didn't spend
$400+ million for their stadium, makes you wonder what A&M is doing wrong. Let's put it this
way: UAB may be doing an awful lot right that A&M is not doing.

And, yeah, I did read that part about not criticizing A&M. If we don't criticize ourselves and ask
questions about ourselves, we'll always be disappointed with our ranking. This is not a dig at the
players. It is a question that the coaching staff and administrators must be thinking about.

Agvet12
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AG
UAB is No. 25 in coaches poll not AP or CFP poll...
Danny and the Dingo
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AG
UAB's athletic teams are called the Blazers, not the Dragons. Their mascot is a dragon who is named Blaze.

Hopefully the Collies can handle the Dragons this weekend at Kyle.
BigOil
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AG
well, OP, we could leave the SEC and join their crap conference and go 11-1 every year. would that be doing something right?
Meximan
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MikeInKeller said:

UAB's football program shut down in 2014, returned to play in 2017, and now is ranked 25th.

Personally, I feel that 25-rank is a little inflated. So do others, given that A&M is a 15+ point
favorite and A&M is ranked, what?, 34th or so?

Still, that a team with UAB's recent history can be so highly ranked, and they sure didn't spend
$400+ million for their stadium, makes you wonder what A&M is doing wrong. Let's put it this
way: UAB may be doing an awful lot right that A&M is not doing.

And, yeah, I did read that part about not criticizing A&M. If we don't criticize ourselves and ask
questions about ourselves, we'll always be disappointed with our ranking. This is not a dig at the
players. It is a question that the coaching staff and administrators must be thinking about.



UAB's SoS is awful, among the nation's worst. They're doing well against it, but today will be the one and only true test of where UAB is as a program.

While I clearly hope for a resounding A&M win, I do hope the Blazers put up a tough showing, 'cause I respect the hell out of what they're doing.

Here's to a great game!
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