No. 24 Texas A&M continues to gain offensive momentum through the season following a 30-6 win over South Carolina. Now the Aggies prepare for the season’s home stretch that begins with a road trip to face the No. 4 Georgia Bulldogs.
The Aggies are following a big ground performance game against South Carolina. A&M rushed for 319 total yards in the game and averaged 6.9 yards per carry. The rushing attack has easily been the Aggies’ most improved area on the offense, and much of that success can be attributed to freshman running back Isaiah Spiller. Spiller rushed for 129 yards against South Carolina and now has back-to-back games with over 100 yards.
Spiller will look to add to his 796 yards and eight touchdowns of the season as he heads to Georgia, and fellow running back sophomore Cordarrian Richardson is also looking to ride the momentum the ground game generated in A&M’s latest win. Richardson had an explosive night against South Carolina, leading the team with 130 yards on six carries. Richardson has seen limited action this season, but had success as he rushed for 40 more yards than his previous season total of 90 yards.
A&M coach Jimbo Fisher said the two-back system is an important part of his offense.
“We're always going to do that,” Fisher said. “And then you build from two-back, to one-back, and how you take and replace the guy out in the blocking assignments. That's still your foundation. It still goes back to where everything starts from and always will.”
While the Aggies’ run game may be steadily improving, they will possibly face their biggest test of the season in the Georgia run defense.
The Bulldogs enter this game as the third overall run defense in the nation and first in the SEC. Georgia allows an average of just 75.5 yards a game on the ground and has only allowed a single rushing touchdown this season. The Bulldogs also boast the sixth overall defense in the nation and the top defense in the SEC, allowing 267.2 total yards a game.
Junior wide receiver Jhamon Ausbon said if his team can play in the moment, rather than seeing the moment bigger, it will have success.
“I think that if we can learn to not make the moment bigger than it is, not see any rankings, and just see ourselves out there playing football and competing against another guy, then we’ll do a really good job,” Ausbon said.
While the Georgia defense offers many challenges, junior quarterback Kellen Mond has been tested all year.
Mond has thrown for a combined 835 yards against the three ranked opponents the Aggies have faced this season. Mond ranks third in the SEC in passing yards with 2,435 yards and has 18 touchdowns to six interceptions.
Mond emphasized the importance of reading defenses, and what it can do for your offense.
“It definitely helps the quarterback in being able to read defenses,” Mond said. “A lot of times we are able to gash them and keep the defense on their toes.”
Meanwhile Georgia’s passing defense ranks 20th nationally and is similar to Alabama’s who is ranked 19th. The Georgia passing defense allows 191.7 passing yards a game, but if Mond can maintain his average of 243.5 yards a game, then he can put his team in position to win.
Kickoff for A&M’s match-up with Georgia is set for 2:30 p.m. on Saturday. The game will be broadcast on CBS.