I have mixed feelings about Saturday's offensive performance. Granted, the offense scored 30 points and rolled up 544 yards on the day. However, most of that came after KSU jumped out to a 27-3 commanding lead. After an impressive opening 73-yard drive that resulted in a field goal, the offense needed to answer the Wildcat touchdowns early in the game and they couldn't. The next three drives totaled 41 yards on 12 plays and no points. For the third game this season, the offense didn't start scoring until the team fell into a 21-point or more deficit, and that's not the same as scoring early and putting pressure on the opposing offense to score. I'm not going to give a full endorsement of this offense until they can show success in crunch time with the game on the line.
I like what Jerrod Johnson is doing under the circumstances. He's scrambling for his life and he knows he's going to get beat up in the pocket. Yet, he keeps making plays. Now, there are still the young mistakes, but for a sophomore and playing behind a makeshift, rag tag offensive line, completing 70% of his passes for a school record 419 yards and another two touchdowns by air and one by land is not too shabby at all. It's also promising to see no mistakes in terms of turnovers.
Running Back C-
55 yards on 16 carries just isn't going to cut it for this talented backfield, even with a shaky offensive line. Michael Goodson ran hard after a quarter suspension, but he's a junior and he knows better than to break team rules. Cyrus Gray just hasn't cut it loose yet and hasn't shown that playmaking ability except for one 60 yard run this season. It's hard to blame Jorvorskie Lane on those two short yardage plays, but he's in there to score and he didn't. Bradley Stephens has been almost non-existent in the backfield and you have to start wondering about his situation and where he goes from here. Overall, take away Goodson's spirited runs when he returned in the second half, and that doesn't leave much to praise.
Wide Receiver B+
Who would have thought that one of the greatest one-day performances by a wide receiver would actually come from the third string quarterback? Ryan Tannehill is proving he's one great athlete and football player by establishing himself as the number one target for Jerrod Johnson. He snagged 12 passes for 210 yards including a 55-yard touchdown. He caught five passes each for over 20 yards so he's making the big play as well. His one blemish was a second quarter fumble during KSU's first half run that put the game essentially out of reach at 27-3. Still, the redshirt freshman and his fellow freshman counterpart Jeff Fuller have been the biggest bright spots in an otherwise dismal season. Fuller had a solid outing catching seven balls for 78 yards. That's closing in on 300 yards receiving for the freshman duo.
The other bright spot of note was Howard Morrow. Seeing spot duty most of the year, Morrow made a beautiful full-length horizontal fingertip catch for 38 yards that set-up the Aggies first touchdown of the game. He also had a critical block to spring Tannehill on his 55-yard touchdown. If Morrow does more of this next week, expect to see him in the lineup a lot.
Tight End C
Jamie McCoy continues to be a consistent weapon in the passing game collecting four passes for 43 yards. However, it wasn't a spectacular day for Jamie as he dropped a crucial pass in his hands that stalled a drive and he struggled some with his blocking assignments. Still, he has become a trusted target for Johnson.
Offensive Line C+
I know some of you will disagree with this grade, but I'm definitely grading the OL on a curve this week given the extensive injuries. For all the issues and weaknesses on the line with the injuries to Travis Schneider, Michael Shumard, Robbie Frost, and Lee Grimes, I thought the makeshift line with Vincent Williams, Danny Baker, and a gimpy Grimes shifted to tackle survived a gutty performance under stressful conditions. Johnson didn't have all day in the pocket, but the line held up long enough for Johnson to make something happen to the tune of 419 yards passing. I'll give them 10 bonus points for the effort, because this unit had every reason to completely fall apart.
Offensive Coaching C+
Another solid effort for the most part. The staff is still stubbornly burning plays trying to establish the outside run with a line that just doesn't have the quickness or athletic ability to get outside and hold their blocks. However, they are spreading the ball out to accommodate for Johnson's abilities and it is paying off more times than not. The development of the passing game with a sophomore QB and two freshmen receivers is very encouraging. The future is bright when you consider injecting Uzoma Nwachukwu and Brandal Jackson into this system.
OVERALL OFFENSIVE GRADE B-
SPECIAL TEAMS F
This is where I'm scratching my head. Special teams are so important in the NFL and pro coaches spend a lot of time getting it right. Well, something's broken with special teams because major hiccups occur every week. This time it was a punt block for a touchdown. Throw in a missed extra point, and this group doesn't get a passing mark this week.
Hop's KSU Offensive Grades
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