COLLEGE STATION -- The Texas A&M Aggies could be getting back three key players for its season finale against LSU.
Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher said he was "very optimistic" of running back Devon Achane and receiver Evan Stewart's status for Saturday's home game against the No. 6 Tigers. Tight end Max Wright is still listed as "day-to-day" with a lower-body injury.
Stewart did not play in Saturday's 20-3 win over Masschaussets after taking a hit in the fourth quarter against Auburn in Week 11. Achane, who did not play in the Aggies' 13-10 loss to the Tigers, tried to suit up against the Minutemen but elected to sit after further testing.
“It didn’t feel quite right,” Fisher said of Achane's status. “He came out there today and said he wanted to try again today to see what it felt like pregame, and it didn’t ... there’s no sense to press that."
A&M filled the void in the duo's place thanks to upside play from Noah Thomas and Le'Veon Moss. Thomas, a native of League City, caught a 22-yard touchdown pass from Conner Weigman to extend the lead by seven in the second quarter. Moss, a native of Louisiana, sealed the win with a 12-yard run with five minutes remaining.
Thomas finished with two catches for 40 yards. Moss totaled a team-high 78 yards on 12 carries.
"You can see Le'Veon is explosive," Fisher said. "He's going to be a really good player. Noah made good plays. I thought Amari Daniels ran the football very well. Those young guys are going to be really good players."
The return of Achane and Stewart gives Texas A&M a second boost in terms of speed. Stewart has been the Aggies' top weapon since Week 4 in place of senior Ainias Smith, recording 49 catches for 607 yards. Achane, who needs 113 yards to surpass the 1,000-yard marker for the first time in his career, has been the driving force on the ground.
Of Texas A&M's 317 carries, Achane has been credited with 49.8 percent of the snaps. Achane has also totaled 36 receptions for 196 yards and three scores as a pass-catcher.
Weigman, who finished Saturday 11-of-19 passing for 191 yards and a touchdown, will make his fourth start. Fisher that he sees upside in the freshman's play after dealing with the ravenous weather conditions from last week's Senior Day festivities.
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"Anytime you get more time on the field, you get experience," Fisher said. "We know he has a chance to be a tremendously good player ... he's a hard worker, he's got a great future, especially with his ability, his mind, his competitiveness. The more time he gets, the better he gets."
The Aggies (4-7, 1-6 SEC) will be bowl ineligible for the first time since 2008 regardless of Saturday's outcome. That won't stop Texas A&M from playing the "spoiler" role against a surging Tigers program that will play for the SEC title in Year 1 of the Brian Kelly era.
The Tigers (9-2, 6-1 SEC) must win their next two games — and hope for a bit of chaos — to make the College Football Playoff. A third loss would mathematically eliminate them from all postseason conversations.
Of course, Texas A&M must find a way to contain freshman linebacker Harold Perkins from attacking the middle of the field. Perkins, who initially committed to the 12th Man program at the Under Armour All-America Game in January, has been the Tigers' top defensive player, recording 57 tackles, 7.5 sacks and two forced fumbles.
"You just see a natural athlete," Fisher said of Perkins. "He's great in space, rushes, plays physical. He's a very intelligent young man. We knew going in he was a very highly recruited guy ... he's a very good player. I always enjoyed being around him."
Kickoff from Kyle Field is set for 6:00 p.m.
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