Hop's Offensive Grades- ISU

What a difference two weeks make. In mid-October, this program was struggling through a three game losing streak. Fast forward to the last two weeks with a breakout victory over Texas Tech in Lubbock and then a dominating display against Iowa State. Websider's David Sandhop grades the Aggie offense against ISU.

What a difference two weeks make. In mid-October, this program was struggling through a three game losing streak. The team was shooting itself in the foot with penalties, turnovers, and drive-stopping negative plays. The offensive line was a weak link forcing Jerrod Johnson to run for his life while the running backs were bottled up and avoiding defenders in the backfield.

Fast forward to the last two weeks with a breakout victory over Texas Tech in Lubbock and then a dominating display against an Iowa State team that was making its own case for a remarkable turnaround in the north. Remember all those penalties? Well, as of Sunday morning, the Aggies are now a less penalized than their opponents for the season after being flagged 25 yards. Oh, and 15 yards of that total came on Howard Morrow's military salute on Military Appreciation Day at Kyle Field. False starts were not a problem. Holding calls…not a one of them this Saturday. How about a leg whip or offensive pass interference…nope.

And those sacks and negative plays that stopped promising drives in September and early October? Well, of the 77 plays the Aggie offense ran from scrimmage, only two resulted in negative yardage.

People have asked me since Saturday what has been the big difference in this Texas A&M football team. My answer is what I just told you. This team is playing more efficiently and they are playing clean on offense. Yes, it starts with the improved offensive line play, but the leader of this offense, Jerrod Johnson, is also playing smarter and cleaner. And why is that? This team is finally growing up, and now they are starting to believe that good things will happen every time they come to the line of scrimmage. This team is maturing and they are getting better.


Quarterback A+

It all starts at the top and you have to give Jerrod Johnson a lot of the credit. He's executing at a high level and he's taking what's given to him on the field. He had one play where he tried to force a ball in the end zone that almost resulted in an interception, but other than that he's making great decisions. Granted, a lot of that has to do with the extra time in the pocket, but I don't care how much time there is, if a collegiate quarterback is completing 82% of his passes and throws three touchdowns against a BCS conference opponent, he's a very good signal caller.


Running Back A

We knew that Christine Michael would be an exciting, explosive runner for the Aggies given his credentials in high school. But the difference in the A&M running game has been Cyrus Gray who is quietly becoming a very good Big 12 running back. He's not flashy and he's not ripping off long highlight runs, but he's a guy that maximizes his yardage between the tackles and he's getting lower and lower behind his pads and pushing the point of attack forward. Check out this stat. In the past two games, Gray has run the ball 46 times and only one of those carries has resulted in negative yardage, and that one carry was a one yard loss. He's getting positive yardage and making good things happen even when the running lanes are clogged up.


Wide Receiver A-

Just about the only mistake made on offense came when freshman Uzoma Nwachukwu stretched for a touchdown and fumbled the ball into the end zone that resulted in a touchback and taking what was sure to be another touchdown off the board. Six difference receivers caught passes led by veterans Howard Morrow (6-49) and Jeff Fuller (5-67). Amazingly, four true freshmen caught passes including Ryan Swope who looked good getting a first down on yards after the catch. The future is definitely bright at this position. That's an understatement.


Tight End A-

The tight ends were quiet in terms of pass catching, but Jamie McCoy is proving to be an effective runner out of the fullback position. He has excellent footwork running in traffic, but he also has the speed to break out like he did on Saturday's 38 yard jaunt down the sideline Eve Kenny Brown got into the act with a five yard run. Blocking was also very solid.


Offensive Line A

Coming off an A+ effort in Lubbock, this unit continued this dramatic turnaround. It's no coincidence that the team's two game win streak has come while the offensive line has finally settled down and started opening holes and protecting the pocket. Whatever it is, the starting group of Michael Shumard, Evan Eike, Kevin Matthews, Patrick Lewis, and Lee Grimes has been the answer. Also, what's truly amazing is that every time A&M needed a yard for a touchdown or a first down, the backs ran behind true freshman Patrick Lewis at right guard. He's going to be a good one. He's already a good one.


OVERALL OFFENSIVE GRADE A


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