Hop's Defensive Grades- Baylor

Nobody is going to mistake this A&M defense for a Top 25 unit. They are still too young and a couple of good athletes in the middle of the field away from being able to match-up consistently with Big 12 offenses. However, that doesn't mean this unit can't cause some turnovers and make a couple of big plays from time to time, especially against a Baylor offense minus its playmaker at quarterback.

Nobody is going to mistake this Texas A&M defense for a Top 25 unit. They are still too young and a couple of good athletes in the middle of the field away from being able to match-up consistently with Big 12 offenses. However, that doesn't mean this unit can't cause some turnovers and make a couple of big plays from time to time, especially against a Baylor offense minus its playmaker at quarterback.

But what we do know is that last year's defense and some of the units during the Franchione era couldn't stop even the most pedestrian offenses. In 2009, A&M has proven it can stop some of the lower level offenses in the Big 12. The defense held Iowa State to 10 points, Texas Tech to 30 points, and now Baylor to three points.

A&M stopped Baylor through several means. First, the Bear rushing attack was held in check, gaining only 82 yards with two runs totaling 60 yards. The remaining24 carries netted 20 yards. When you hold your opponent to under a 100 yards rushing, there's a good chance you'll win the game. Second, the Aggies created turnovers, intercepting the ball three times. More importantly, two turnovers occurred in the red zone and thwarted potential scoring drives. The Aggie defense wasn't dominant, but they stopped Baylor when they had to, which is reflected in the 2-of-13 third down conversion rate.

I don't care who's on the other side of the ball, if a defensive unit can hold a Big 12 opponent to three points in 60 minutes of football, they've done a good job.


Defensive Line B+

Every regular in the rotation logged either a sack or a tackle for loss except player – Von Miller. Spencer Nealy continues to impress and he notched a big 12 yard loss on a sack. Eddie Brown also registered a 12 yard sack, while Tony Jerrod Eddie and Matt Featherston had one TFL each. In fact, the only blemish on this unit was the personal foul and unsportsmanlike penalties on Miller. Coach Sherman was not at all happy with his veteran playmaker, and he let Miller know that in a not so subtle conversation. Hopefully, Miller learned from it.


Linebacker B

The linebacker unit had a solid game, but receives good marks for the Kyle Mangan interception in the red zone that ended a Baylor scoring threat. Mangan also had a sack as well. Garrick Williams, Michael Hodges, and Sean Porter had solid days combining for 13 stops. Tackling was much better on Saturday compared to the previous two weeks against OU and CU.


Defensive Back A-

I thought Jordan Pugh had his best game as an Aggie. He flew to the ball in run support and made several critical solo tackles. He finished with a team high 14 stops in the game. He also had an interception and was around the ball all day. However, his efficient pursuit on the Baylor outside screens limited the Bears' bread-and-butter play. Terrence Frederick also had the crucial interception at the goal line and he had another nice pass break-up as well. Justin McQueen had a pass break-up and a impressive TFL. Overall, it was a very good performance for the secondary.


Special Teams D

Even when the return units don't give up any big return yardage, a weak-legged punter with a slow release that gets a punt blocked, and a kicker that hasn't had a touchback in several weeks and misses a 37 yard field goal doesn't warrant a good grade. This is becoming one of the greatest needs on this team for 2010. This can't happen again. Giving up an average 10-15 yards on every change of possession over the course of a season equates to 1-2 losses alone.

OVERALL DEFENSIVE GRADE B+



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