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Aggies’ Defense Appears Dominant But Has Yet To Face Sufficient Test

Texas A&M's defense looks the part of a championship contender, but has yet to be sufficiently challenged

Now through its first three games of the 2021 season, the Texas A&M Aggies defense looks every bit the part of a College Football Playoff contender.

Heading into Week 3, the Aggies ranked fifth in the nation in scoring defense (8.5 points per game), third in the nation against the pass (99.5 yards per game), and were giving up just 298 total yards per game (42nd in the country). 

In fact, their lone blemish has been in the run game, where they ranked 109th in the country, giving up just under 200 yards per contest. 

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On Saturday against New Mexico, it looked even better, allowing the Lobos to accumulate just 89 yards on the ground and 33 yards in the air, while pitching their first shutout since a 67-0 win over Prairie View A&M on Sept. 10, 2016.

"It shows that we're trying to stop the run, stopping the pass and having a complete game where we're locked in from start to finish," Aggies star DeMarvin Leal said.

But with a lack of true competition through the first three weeks, there is still very little known about the Aggies defense moving forward. 

Yes, as the stats have indicated thus far, the Aggies defense has been dominant for the most part.

However, warts have still shown through, particularly in the run game.

"We’re playing very average," Jimbo Fisher said of his team after the win. "Potential is the worst thing you can have. That means you haven’t done it."

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Against Kent State, the Aggies surrendered 226 yards and 5 yards per carry on the ground. 

It was much of the same in Denver, with Colorado averaging 4.5 yards per rush and the Aggies giving up 171 yards on 38 attempts. 

While Saturday's tilt with New Mexico obviously yielded better results (just 2.5 yards per rush for the Lobos), the Aggies will face their toughest test of the season thus far in that department next weekend with Arkansas.

The Razorbacks demolished Texas 40-21, amassing 333 rushing yards and 7.1 yards per attempt.

So did the Aggies do enough between Week 2 and Week 3 to fix their issues up the middle? Perhaps.

Either way, the Aggies, and the rest of the nation will find out next weekend when Texas A&M and Arkansas kick-off at 2:30 p.m. in AT&T Stadium.

"Confidence is going to be the key," Leal said. "First SEC game of the year, there is going to be lots of craziness going on. Being able to dial down and get after it is going to be key."

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