Texas A&M has improved to 3-1 in the season and landed in the top 10 at No. 8 in the country after defeating Mississippi State on Saturday, Oct. 17.
Going into this coming week, the Aggies will return to Kyle Field, taking on Arkansas at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 31. Offensively, A&M will be matched against a Razorback defense that has had a total of 10 interceptions and three resulting touchdowns.
A&M coach Jimbo Fisher said he and senior quarterback Kellen Mond have taken note of the Razorbacks’ strength in creating turnovers.
“You make [Mond] aware of what they do well,” Fisher said. “These guys play the ball well. They see the ball with their eyes very well, they see the quarterback very well. They understand routes, they match routes. They do things, you have to make him aware of what that team does and why they’re having success in the plays they are.”
Against Mississippi State, Mond threw for 139 passing yards and two touchdowns and has a season total of 80 completions, 984 yards and nine touchdowns.
In the upcoming game against Arkansas, Mond said A&M will be putting an emphasis on its ground game.
“It is a really key and important piece,” Mond said. “One of the things that we’ve done very well over the past couple weeks is that communication. Our offensive line, that chemistry and communication that they continue to have [is key], along with the receivers blocking down field. I think the whole run game has been really well for us because we’ve had all those pieces and a lot of people being unselfish, we need to continue doing that this week.”
A&M sophomore running back Isaiah Spiller has had a standout season so far. Spiller has garnered 430 rushing yards and four touchdowns, averaging one touchdown per game, with an additional 37 receiving yards.
An integral part of the A&M offense this season has been the strength of the offensive line, which has only allowed Mond to be sacked twice so far this season.
Senior offensive tackle Dan Moore said Mond is the offensive line’s main priority.
“It’s always important to keep pass protection up, obviously you want to keep your quarterback off the ground and able to complete passes,” Moore said. “So, every week that is emphasized. Just like every other week, that’ll be emphasized this week.”
Arkansas is also coming off of a bye week and a win of its own. The Razorbacks’ last game was against Ole Miss on Saturday, Oct. 17, which they won 33-21. Against the Rebels, Arkansas’ defense allowed their opponent to put up 200 passing yards and 242 rushing yards.
Arkansas sophomore safety Jalen Catalon has been a star for the Razorbacks’ defense. He leads the team in solo tackles with 29, totaling 45 tackles overall, one interception and one touchdown. However, he is beaten out by senior linebacker Grant Morgan who has 52 total tackles, one sack and one interception which resulted in a touchdown.
Mond said he is not worried in the slightest going into the Halloween game.
“I think [Arkansas’ interceptions] are something to always be aware of. But there is nothing that scares me or concerns me,” Mond said. “I think that Coach Fisher, he does a phenomenal job of game planning within the week and having an idea of the type of defense they’re going to bring.”