Hop's UAB Game Grades - Offense

Texas A&M entered Saturday's game against UAB with the most productive offense in college football, and the performance against the Blazers didn't hurt that ranking. Aggie Websider's David Sandhop grades out the offense and takes a look at the coaching decisions.

OK, so it was 544 yards of total offense and not 600. Of course, that total could have easily surpassed the 600 yard mark had the first team stayed in the game in the fourth quarter. The Aggies have rolled up big yardage numbers all year, but on Saturday they were at their most efficient with those yards scoring 56 points. There are some other incredible efficiency numbers. The Aggies completed 80% of their passes. The offense converted on a whopping 82% (14 of 17) of third down opportunities which is off the charts. And finally, the unit was a perfect 7-for-7 on red zone scoring chances – all of those were touchdowns as well. After an opening three-and-out series, the Aggies scored touchdowns on their next seven drives. That is simply a mind-boggling performance.

It was a balanced attack as the rushing game accounted for 236 yards and the Aggies aired it out to the tune of 308 yards. If there was one minor blemish, it was the offensive line's inability early in the game to establish some push and create holes for the running backs. The Aggies were stopped between the tackles repeatedly in the first half. It wasn't until the Aggies wore down the Blazers in the second half did the rushing yards from the running backs start to pile up. A&M will have a harder time wearing down opponents the rest of the way as the competition will be bigger and faster.

Quarterback A+

What's there to say that the stats can't say? Johnson was 23-29 for 290 yards and three touchdowns. If that wasn't enough, he tacked on three more rushing touchdowns and carried the ball for 61 yards. Six touchdowns and 351 yards of total offense with no turnovers isn't too shabby. If that doesn't get you an A+ I don't know what will.

Running Back B+

Even without Christine Michael, this unit is solid. Not great, but solid. Cyrus Gray is fine once he can make that first plant up-field. If he's met with a wall of defenders in front of him and he goes lateral, that usually spells trouble. He still isn't as decisive with his decisions as he needs to be for a high D-1 back. Despite almost going for 100 yards (99 to be exact), it's becoming apparent that Michael is the big play guy of this group and needs to be in the game if the Ags hope to upset some of these Big 12 South programs.

Wide Receiver A

Even with Jeff Fuller out, the A&M receiving corps proved to be a very talented and deep unit. Veteran Howard Morrow shrugged off an early drop to lead the team in receptions with five (for 71 yards). Ryan Tannehill had his usual productive day with 103 yards and a touchdown despite playing mainly on third downs. Brandal Jackson had two catches, but one of those came early when Jackson did a great job of taking the ball away from the DB on what looked like a potential interception. Ryan Swope had his first career D-1 touchdown.

Tight End A

In conversations about the offense, Jamie McCoy's name isn't a headliner and it should be. He grabbed five passes for 59 yards and was very efficient in his yards after catch. This is one player that will be difficult to replace next season. In two years he's gone from being an unproductive athlete without a position to one of the best pas catching tight ends in the Big 12. His blocking isn't too shabby this year either.

Offensive Line B

All eyes were on freshman Stephen Barrera and he did a great job. They even ran behind him early in the game on a third down and he cleared the way. Hopefully, Grimes will be back next week to cover the other tackle spot. The unit was solid, although I was a little concerned that the interior of the line was unable to get push on the UAB DL in the first half. There were too many no gains against a porous front seven. They will need to do a better job if they hope to establish the run against Arkansas.


Coaching B+

Overall, the coaching was good as it has been all season. The penalties were cleaned up and the defense did a good job of containing the UAB signal caller until the fourth quarter when the game was out of reach. What did perplex me was the series of plays at the end of the half. I thought A&M had a chance with over a minute and three timeouts to drive the field and score. In fact, it was the perfect situation to work on the two minute offense if for no other reason than to get live work in executing with a short clock. It appeared that the staff was a little undecided whether to take a shot at it or let the clock run out. The Aggies ran plays that looked to gain yardage and move down the field, yet they didn't use one of their three timeouts. If you aren't going to take a serious shot at scoring points, then take a knee. If you want to score, then be more efficient and use your timeouts. But you don't risk turnovers running plays, but then let the clock run down.

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