Hop's Offensive Grades: Baylor

Texas A&M was unable to find the end zone more than once in the first three quarters of play on Saturday, finding themselves in a 41-7 deficit in the fourth. Who was to blame on the Aggie offense? Websider's David Sandhop grades each unit on the team.

The offense had shown so much progress and the momentum of this unit provided optimism for the future. However, the unit definitely took a step backward on Saturday as a very mediocre Baylor defense used five critical turnovers to keep the Aggie offense off its game and out of the end zone most of the day until the outcome was already decided. 308 yards of total offense certainly isn't an explosive result in this day and age of the offense in the Big 12, but on the surface it sounds like the offense did some things to move the ball on the day. However, when you consider that 153 of those yards came in the fourth quarter with the team already down 41-7, the numbers are misleading. Even the final score of 41-21 was misleading. It was much worse. There's no escaping A&M's limitations and problems on defense, which is why it's so important for the offense to play mistake-free football and put points on the board. On Saturday against a very average (and that is being generous) defensive Baylor Bear unit, the Aggies committed far too many mistakes and just didn't get it done. We've come to expect that from the defense. It's especially disappointing that we are also sitting here on Monday morning talking these same problems on the offensive side.

Quarterback F

I don't know if Jerrod Johnson has hit the proverbial wall, or if it's defensive coordinators who have figured out how to defend Johnson, but whatever the case he has not been the same quarterback in the past two weeks who looked so promising in October. Johnson has had issues with protecting the ball, and that was evident on Saturday. His four interceptions and one fumble basically ended any hope of an Aggie victory. Two of those interceptions and a fumble led directly to 17 Baylor points, and a bad interception in the end zone with the Aggies knocking on the door took seven points off the board. The quarterback can't give up that many points and expect to win. Granted, Johnson was scrambling for his life in the backfield, but that has been the case all season and he never gave up five turnovers. I don't care if he completed 63% of his passes or threw for 244 yards, most of that was in trash time as a result of the five turnovers. As a quarterback who handles the ball every play, you must protect it under any circumstances.

Running Back D

Well, I was starting to get excited on A&M's opening drive when Cyrus Gray rattled off a six yard run followed by a 16-yard gallop to near midfield. Who would have thought that after those first two successful runs, running backs would account for a whopping 15 yards on 12 carries. Yep, that's it. Can the offensive line be so bad that a lowly-ranked Baylor defense can dominate the line of scrimmage? I guess the answer is yes, unfortunately. Michael Goodson's 50 yard reception that set up A&M's first score was the lone bright spot.

Wide Receiver C-

This was the first game Jeffrey Fuller really struggled. I don't know if it had to do with the lingering effects of the injury or if it was just time for the true freshman to have a true freshman day. He had a late touchdown, but finished the day with three catches for only 14 yards and missed a pass that was intercepted. Ryan Tannehill and Terrence McCoy continue to chug along having good seasons, although the receivers as a whole had a solid, yet unspectacular game.

Tight End C-

Jamie McCoy had his usual 4-5 catches and continues to play solidly. Again, he didn't have a spectacular performance on Saturday, but he's a reliable target. Blocking at the tight end position is still a concern. Heck, any kind of blocking is a concern for this team.

Offensive Line F

We've been grading this unit on a curve all season because they did start the season undermanned and they've had nothing but bad luck from an injury standpoint. However, this was Baylor, a defense that was near the bottom of the NCAA in sacks and rushing yards allowed. Well, the Aggies couldn't run the ball, and Johnson was running for his life and was sacked twice on the day. I can understand the struggles when it's Oklahoma, but this was a below-average Bear defense that dominated the line of scrimmage.

Offensive Coaching D

This isn't necessarily offensive coaching, but the decision to kick into a 30 MPH to start the third quarter down 20-7 wasn't a very good one. Having the wind in the fourth quarter only helps if the team is within striking distance, and if Baylor scored to open the second half and up the lead to 27-7(which they did), I think that puts the game realistically out of reach given A&M's defense. So by kicking into the wind, Baylor starts at the A&M 42 yard line and has the wind at their back and short field to score. Yes, they may have scored from 80 yards away, but giving them a 58-yard field with the wind to start the second half down by 13 makes it that much easier and just isn't a very sound decision.


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