UK football set to face strong offense, stiff defense against Texas A&M


Kentucky Wildcats running back Benny Snell Jr. (26) is tackled during the game against Mississippi State on Saturday, Sept. 22, 2018, in Lexington, Kentucky. Photo by Jordan Prather | Staff

Roman West

The Texas A&M Aggies are 3-2 headed into their matchup against the UK football team. Their first loss was a 26-28 loss to Clemson after an interception on a last-minute two-point conversion attempt sealed the victory for Clemson. Their second loss was a 45-23 loss against top-ranked Alabama. Their three wins have come against Northwestern State, Louisiana-Monroe and SEC rival Arkansas.

While their record and ranking (or lack thereof) doesn’t shout great team, the Aggies are a force on both sides of the ball. They have held opposing offenses to a 24.6 percent third down conversion rate, good enough for fourth nationally.

Benny Snell could be in for a long night this weekend as the Aggies have the best rush defense in the SEC and are top five in the country. They are giving up only 85.0 yards per game on the ground. They are led by linebacker Otaro Alaka, who has 29 total tackles on the season including 4.5 tackles for loss.

The A&M offense is a SEC powerhouse as well. The Aggie offense is led by quarterback Kellen Mond. Mond is one of four Power Five quarterbacks who has at least four rushing and seven passing touchdowns on the season. Mond is also third in the SEC in total offense with 287.2 yards per game.

Texas A&M running back Trayveon Williams is second in most of the conference’s rushing categories behind Snell. He has 582 yards on the season to go along with six touchdowns. The rushing game helps the Aggies own time of possession. They are far ahead of the rest of the conference in total time of possession, holding the ball for 19 more minutes than second place Kentucky.

This game could very well be decided in the trenches. All five of the Aggie starting offensive linemen weigh more than 300 pounds. Their starting tight end, Jace Sternberger, leads all tight ends in the conference in touchdown receptions.

Their defensive line is almost as big as their offensive line. They start three 300-pounders and have an average weight of 295 pounds.

The game will take place Saturday, Oct. 6, at 7 p.m. and will be aired on ESPN.