No. 24 Texas A&M is looking to avoid a two-game losing streak when it takes on No. 13 Miami on Saturday night in College Station, Texas, and it will do so with a new quarterback. Max Johnson will reportedly start under center in place of Haynes King after King struggled in his two games this year.
Johnson is no stranger to big games. He was the primary starter at LSU last year and threw for 2,814 yards and 27 touchdowns, while only throwing six interceptions. He played in six games in 2020, when he threw for 1,069 yards, eight touchdowns and only threw one pick.
This move comes after two sub-par games King. The third-year sophomore is 33 of 51 for 461 yards on the season, has tossed three touchdowns and two interceptions. He managed just 97 yards in last Saturday's 17-14 upset loss to Appalachian State. This comes one year after he threw for 300 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions in five quarters of play last season before a foot injury in Week 2 ended his first season as the starter.
Coach Jimbo Fisher didn't rule out when the possibility of a change at quarterback when he was asked about it Monday.
"Possibly could," he said. "We'll evaluate everything this week. … A quarterback is like your mother. They clean up so many messes that are around. [King] is a young guy, so he has still got to do his things right. There are a lot of things in there going on around him that he's not ready to take over. At the same time, there are three or four throws in there I wish he would have made."
The switch to Johnson comes at a critical time for Fisher and the Aggies. They have a neutral site game against No. 10 Arkansas next week, a road trip to always-raucous Starkville, Mississippi, to take on Mississippi State and the showdown with No. 2 Alabama after playing the Bulldogs. That's an incredibly tough stretch against what could be three more ranked teams if Mississippi State takes care of business between now and its game vs. the Aggies on Oct. 1. If Fisher's quarterback issues continue even with Johnson under center, he could be looking at a lost season before the leaves change color.
The move not only indicates frustration and desperation, but perhaps a change in scheme as well. King has 14 carries for 52 yards through two games. Johnson isn't exactly a statue in the backfield. He did run for 119 yards in his six games in 2020, but had negative-40 yards (sack yardage included) in 12 games for the Tigers in 2021.
The Hurricanes and Aggies will tee it up Saturday at 9 p.m. from Kyle Field. Fisher's reported switch from King to Johnson cranks up the intrigue on what is already one of the most interesting games of the weekend.