COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP) — No. 6 Texas A&M's defense didn't look great against FCS school Sam Houston State, giving up some huge plays in the Aggies' 65-28 win.
The good news is that several suspended defensive starters will be back this week.
The bad news? Their first live action of the season will be against top-ranked Alabama on Saturday.
Cornerback De'Vante Harris, linebacker Steven Jenkins and defensive end Gavin Stansbury return this week after missing the first two games serving suspensions for violating team rules. Cornerback Deshazor Everett was suspended for the first half for a targeting penalty last week, but returned after halftime and had an interception.
Coach Kevin Sumlin said they've had to run a "vanilla" defense with so many starters on the bench. He's looking forward to seeing his defense at full-strength.
The biggest problem for the defense on Saturday was the big plays it gave up. The unit surrendered a touchdown run of 68 yards and a TD pass of 75 yards. Without those two plays, the Bearkats gained 247 yards. Sumlin was also unhappy about a 36-yard run by Sam Houston and a 33-yard touchdown reception by the Bearkats.
"We had our moments," Sumlin said. "You look at about four big plays that weren't good. You can't do that. We've got some guys that can be corrected. We've got to continue to keep coaching. To get those guys all back in the huddle will be a big deal. Everybody sees the difference."
The Aggies expect to get a boost in their first game with a full complement of players. Sumlin noticed a difference in the defense in the second half on Saturday with Everett back on the field. Everett sat out the first half of Texas A&M's opener serving a suspension for violating team rules before drawing his targeting penalty and another suspension in the second half against Rice.
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