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Texas A&M Football

Shorthanded Aggies applying 'next man up' mentality to Texas Bowl

December 26, 2023
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Injuries, exits and early entries for the NFL Draft have diluted Texas A&M’s football roster.

Even if the lineup is something of a skeleton crew, the goal for the Aggies (7-5) in their 2023 TaxAct Texas Bowl clash with Oklahoma State (9-4) remains the same.

The Aggies and Cowboys vie at 8 p.m. CT on Wednesday at Houston’s NRG Stadium.

“Our goal is to end (the season) on a win,” quarterback Jaylen Henderson said. “That’s our whole mindset, no matter who’s playing, no matter who’s not playing. We feel very confident with the game plan. Anytime you can play football, it’s always exciting. We just want to finish this game out and leave the 12th Man with a win.”

That would be much more likely if the Aggies were at full strength.

But Henderson, who has started only three games, was thrust into the lineup because of injuries to Conner Weigman and Max Johnson.

He’ll be without top target Ainias Smith, who’s out with a broken finger.

Also out are injured receiver Noah Thomas and receiver Evan Stewart.

Stewart counts among a half dozen starters who have entered the transfer portal.

The Aggies also figure to be without guard Layden Robinson, defensive tackle McKinnley Jackson and All-American linebacker Edgerrin Cooper — who have all declared for the NFL Draft.

“Our goal is to end (the season) on a win. That’s our whole mindset, no matter who’s playing, no matter who’s not playing. We feel very confident with the game plan.”
- A&M quarterback Jaylen Henderson

However, interim coach Elijah Robertson — who also will be departing for Syracuse after the game — vowed the Aggies are undeterred by the absences and defections.

“It has to be a ‘next man up’ mentality,” Robinson said. “It’s no different if a guy was injured or just not here. We’ve got to adjust. Our players know they have to step up and play. We’re ready for our guys to do that.”

Henderson has stepped up nicely. He’s thrown for 704 yards and six touchdowns as a starter.

Also, receivers Jahdae Walker and Muhsin Muhammad III have been productive when given playing time. Walker has 27 catches for 453 yards. Muhammad has caught 24 passes for 277 yards.

However, the Aggies need defensive players to step up similarly.

A&M’s defense has been among the best in the nation against the run. Now without several key starters, the run defense will be challenged by Oklahoma State’s Ollie Gordon II, the nation’s leading rusher with 1,614 yards.

Gordon failed to reach 100 rushing yards in three of the Cowboys’ four losses, so containing him obviously is a top priority.

“He is elite. He won the Doak Walker (Award) for a reason,” Robinson said. “He’s a patient runner. He’s getting downhill. The defense understands the challenge. They’re willing to stand up to the challenge, no matter who’s out there.”

Discussion from...

Shorthanded Aggies applying 'next man up' mentality to Texas Bowl

14,660 Views | 14 Replies | Last: 3 mo ago by bigfoot10s
4
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AG
Isn't it exciting?!!!

I can't wait!!!
greg.w.h
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AG
Extra rewarding for those who stay and play.
CuervoAg
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AG
Great real game scrimmage opportunity for the A&M up and comers for next season.
"Fat, drunk, and stupid is no way to go through life son." -- Dean Wormer, Faber College President
AGDAD14
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4 said:

Isn't it exciting?!!!

I can't wait!!!


You can say that again!
Lake08
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What team isn't undermanned?? Welcome to 2023
RaggedConverge
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AG
Thanks OB
sharpdressedman
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Opt outs, transfers, and injured players collectively make team rosters for insignificant bowl games a stew that includes a combination of favored and less favored ingredients that the cook and guests hope will have a pleasing taste. BTHO osu!
lagoag
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Last game of the season and I hope to see us BTHO cowpokes.
txag72
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AG
I hope it's a shoot out. Meaning, I hope we can score as many as they will.
greg.w.h
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AG
sharpdressedman said:

Opt outs, transfers, and injured players collectively make team rosters for insignificant bowl games a stew that includes a combination of favored and less favored ingredients that the cook and guests hope will have a pleasing taste. BTHO osu!
Insignificant is an abuse word. Try using evidence not judgment.
ABATTBQ11
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AG
Nice to see us not p****ing out of a bowl game citing roster concerns
ScudAg56
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You would think Nolen and Cooper would relish the publicity of stuffing the nation's leading rusher in a bowl game.
ScudAg56
Fanatic15...Drs2B!
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ScudAg56 said:

You would think Nolen and Cooper would relish the publicity of stuffing the nation's leading rusher in a bowl game.


Wish it was still like it was 20 years when kids tried to win these games for the pride and fun of winning a bowl game.

But I also understand why those going pro have to protect thwmaelves from potential injury.

Still... makes me worry about a future when a player might quit even earlier - like a few games away from the end of the season if their team has been eliminated from playoff contention.

Can't help but wonder if the lack of Evan Stewart on the field toward the end of the season (when was the last game he played?) was just him healing up and left saving himself for the portal.

I also wonder if Walter Nolen, knowing he would be transferring to Ol Miss next semester, would even be allowed to play in this game even if he wanted to do so.
bigfoot10s
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AG
I definitely think that Evan was being selfish and looking out for himself the last few games of the year. Gotta make that $$$
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