If you look at the stat sheet and weren't told the final score, you'd think the Aggies won. They held a running team with a running QB to 130 yards. The Aggies outgained the Wildcats 482-411. The Aggies won the turnover battle 3-1. A&M rushed for 272 yards, completed 10 more passes, and threw three TD's to KSU's 1. A&M sacked KSU four times and Tannehill was never on his back. Really, really strange. The result yet another close loss.
If you are keeping tally at home, that's three losses to ranked teams by a total of 8 points, an OT loss to Missouri, and a 16-point loss to Top 10 OU on the road.
Here's my initial things I liked and those things that concerned me.
Things I Liked
1) The rushing game stood strong against a decent KSU front seven. The Aggies managed 272 yards on the ground, most of those coming from Cyrus Gray, the lone senior who has lived up to his preseason billing.
2) The team had every reason to lay down after going up 14-0 and quickly giving it back. But the defense finally created some turnovers that led to several short fields for the offense that they capitalized on.
3) The rush defense has remained solid all season. Against a big, running QB and a very good zone read option, the Aggies held the WIldcats to 130 yards and more impressively only 2.5 yards per attempt. Leading the way is Jonathan Stewart. He isn't dominant presence in the middle, but he has become an efficient player and he makes the stops. He has quietly become a very nice inside linebacker.
4) The pass protection was excellent by the offensive line. That makes some of the defficiencies of the downfield passing game even more glaring. tannehill was rarely pressured in the pocket and he was not sacked.
5) On the other side, the A&M defensive front did pressure the KSU QB sacking him four times and beating him up with several knockdowns.
Things That Concerned Me
1) In just about every situation this season that Ryan Tannehill has had to win the ball game, he has come up short. You have to start wondering about his confidence level in these critical moments. The glaring play for me was the 3rd and 1 in the 4th quarter and Sherman called a play action that left Nehemiah Hicks open for what should have been the clinching touchdown. For some reason, Tannehill decides to the flip the ball and in the process flutters it to the back shoulder of Hicks that made it a very difficult catch. Had he comfortably thrown the ball to his lead shoulder, it's a TD and the ball game. Also, how many times will Tannehill stare at his target on 3rd downs that usually results in a batted ball.
2) How in the world can Toney Hurd err on coming up for a short route when a receiver in going deep in his zone up by 10 points with 5 minutes to play? My gosh, if I'm up 10 with 5 minutes to play, I'm erring on the side of the deep ball. This is his second fatal assignment mistake that has resulted in a long TD pass.
3) Jeff Fuller....I've said it before so I won't harp on it. But, if Jeff Fuller is the Jeff Fuller of his previous three seasons, the Aggies are a one-loss team. Sherman schemed a beautiful play on that game-winning two-point conversion, dragging SWope across the goal line that took the safety out of the play and there was a wide open end zone and Jeff Fuller right there to be the hero that will cast off the demons of this nightmare season for him....nope.
4) I'm not sure what the staff is teaching A&M's cornerbacks, but teaching them to NEVER look back for the ball is not the answer. When you simply shadow the receiver and you don't know where the ball is, you are begging for a pass interference.
5) Uh, A&M is starting a green, short, and under-talented safety along with a short, slow safety. How in the world can the defensive coordinator think that zone coverage and rushing three or four will work. The safeties are a huge liability this season, especially with Steven Campbell out. Outside receiver and safety are the two weakest positions talent-wise on the team.
6) The punting was again very mediocre, especially when Epperson had the wind at his back and still managed a couple of 30-something kicks.
7) As much as Cyrus Gray did on Saturday, how can your all-conference running back get caught from behind by a KSU defender in the open field? I thought Gray had 4.4 speed? If Gray doesn't get caught, A&M wins the game.
Hop's Flash Game Report
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