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Texas A&M Football

Learned, Loved, Loathed: Texas A&M 17, Vanderbilt 12

September 27, 2020
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Although Texas A&M’s opening 17-12 college football victory over Vanderbilt wasn’t pretty, there were some beautiful moments.

There were also moments of frustration that raise concerns moving forward.

Here’s a review of what we learned, loved and loathed from the Aggies’ first week.

What we learned

Practice doesn’t always make perfect: Coach Jimbo Fisher has frequently touted Kellen Mond’s progress in practice. However, Mond didn’t show it against Vanderbilt. He threw just one touchdown pass, and, dating back to last season, this marks the sixth consecutive game he’s been limited to one touchdown pass or less. He managed just 207 yards of total offense and fumbled three times.

The sophomore safety showed he isn’t just good, but he’s at his best when it matters most

Demani Richardson is a clutch player: The sophomore safety showed he isn’t just good, but he’s at his best when it matters most. Richardson had a third-quarter interception to quell a Vanderbilt threat at the 8-yard line. Then, with Vanderbilt 30 yards away from taking the lead midway through the fourth quarter, Richardson deflected a pass to Leon O’Neal for an interception. Richardson also had seven tackles.

A&M’s offense has to be much more efficient: A mere 17 points against Vanderbilt is alarming for several reasons. First, the Commodores allowed 30 points or more in seven games last season. Also, A&M’s next three opponents — Alabama, Florida and Mississippi State — scored at least 38 points in their season-opening victories.

What I loved

The Aggies run defense: Vanderbilt was held to 105 rushing yards on 38 attempts, but one-fifth of that yardage came on a 21-yard run on the third play of the game. Aside from that play, Vanderbilt averaged just 2.2 yards per carry. Linebackers Buddy Johnson and Aaron Hansford both had 11 tackles.

Isaiah Spiller: Although he did not start, Spiller showed he probably should have. He rushed for 117 yards on just eight carries. He had runs that covered 57, 30 and 24 yards.

Micheal Clemons: The potential turned into production. Since arriving at A&M four years ago, Clemons has been touted as a potentially powerful pass rusher. He showed it with 1.5 sacks — all in the fourth quarter.

What I loathed

Maria Lysaker-USA TODAY Sports
Mond’s ball security was a concern heading into the season, and on Saturday, he fumbled three times.

Kellen Mond’s fumbles: Ball security has been a recurring problem throughout Mond’s career. That issue resurfaced with three fumbles. The first could be blamed on left tackle Dan Moore, who allowed a blindside hit. But the other two were on runs. Mond lost a fumble at the A&M 43-yard line that led to a Vanderbilt touchdown, which brought the Commodores within 14-12 late in the third quarter. Later in the fourth quarter, with A&M leading 17-12, Mond fumbled while trying to execute a zone-read on fourth-and-one. If he held on to the football, he likely would’ve had a 35-yard touchdown run. Instead, the Aggies failed to convert, and Vanderbilt took over possession with a chance to take the lead.

Special teams decisions: Chase Lane fielded a kickoff that rolled eight yards deep in the end zone. Rather than down it and allow the offense to start at the 25-yard line, Lane ran it out. He only reached the 7-yard line. Unfortunately, that was not even the biggest special teams gaffe. Ainias Smith opted to field a punt in the end zone. To make matters worse, Brian George was called for a block in the back in the end zone, which resulted in a safety.

Slow starts: Last season, the Aggies tended to sputter in the first half. That trend continued. A&M managed just seven points in the first half against Vanderbilt. Last season, A&M managed one touchdown or less in the first half of seven games. That includes the final four games of 2019.

Discussion from...

Learned, Loved, Loathed: Texas A&M 17, Vanderbilt 12

6,344 Views | 6 Replies | Last: 1 mo ago by Agsuffering@bulaw
MMantle
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AG
Agreed, our slow starts are a recurring theme.

Why do we have to get into 3rd quarter before our play-caller begins to figure things out?

With our unimaginative / pop-gun offense it's tough to be playing catch-up (against a good team) for 60 minutes.

RR
AggieBlu
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AG
I spit out my drink when I heard Mond said he played clean! I've never heard a guy be soooooo satisfied with mediocrity
Somewhere, the toddler president is sitting on the toilet lying in a tweet! LOL
Briggs
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Briggs
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APHIS AG
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AggieBlu said:

I spit out my drink when I heard Mond said he played clean! I've never heard a guy be soooooo satisfied with mediocrity
Well, he is about to be "dirtied" this Saturday.
Agsuffering@bulaw
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