Texas A&M’s defense is coming off of another week of solid play after the Aggies’ 49-30 win over Mississippi State.
During their matchup against Mississippi State the Aggies effectively shut down the Bulldogs’ offense, though the final score of the game hardly reflects this as Mississippi State scored almost half of their points when the game was already out of reach. While A&M did allow 433 yards in the game, the defense made up for that statistic by forcing three turnovers.
A&M coach Jimbo Fisher said the turnovers were an important factor in the game because of the offensive production that resulted.
“We did create three big turnovers,” Fisher said. “Those three turnovers were very good, and I thought the offense transitioned very well from the turnovers and scored three straight times.”
With the prospect of leading early against UTSA, defensive focus can be hindered and it can become easy to allow sloppy play with a big points cushion. Junior defensive back Keldrick Carper said this is something that A&M will need to improve before Saturday.
“When you’re up by a lot of points, naturally you’re going to relax,'' Carper said. “But we have to do a better job, not only as teammates, but as leaders to encourage everyone.”
The defense is showing continued improvement, especially in its last two performances against Ole Miss and Mississippi State. In these two games the Aggies have forced a combined total of five turnovers, allowed 838 yards, and won by an average margin of 13 points.
More importantly A&M is ranked 38th nationally in total defense and 37th in passing yards allowed. The Aggies finished the 2018 season ranked 43rd in total defense, and the team’s secondary has improved as they finished ranked 99th in passing yards allowed last year.
Junior linebacker Buddy Johnson said he likes the direction his defense in trending towards, and wants to ride momentum going into Saturday.
“At the end of the day we just got to keep working to get better,” Johnson said. “I definitely feel the momentum. Guys are buying in, and Coach Fisher’s doing a great job of making sure we’re not losing track of the big picture.”
UTSA comes into Kyle Field on Saturday ranked as the 116th overall offense in FBS football. The Roadrunners have proven to be effective at rushing offense, as they are ranked 50th nationally, but they struggle passing the ball. Sophomore quarterback Lowell Narcisse has only thrown for 485 yards this season with three touchdowns to three interceptions. Considering Narcisse’s current play, the Aggies will have an opportunity to further bolster their secondary.
A&M will host UTSA at 11 a.m. on Nov. 2. The game will be broadcast on the SEC Network.