Story Poster
Photo by Craig Bisacre/Texas A&M Athletics
Texas A&M Football

Learned, Loved, Loathed: Texas A&M 28, Mississippi State 14

October 18, 2020

The Starkville jinx was put to rest. The once-beleaguered pass defense was dominant in coverage and with pressure. Isaiah Spiller was amazing again.

There was a lot to love in Texas A&M’s 28-14 Southeastern Conference football victory over Mississippi State. There was also a lot to be learned.

And by looking really hard, there were even a few things to loathe.

What we learned

The Aggies have a pass rush: All the hints that A&M could get to the quarterback came to fruition. The Aggies swooped in on Mississippi State quarterbacks to register six sacks. They did it with a three-man rush, a four-man rush and with blitzes. Buddy Johnson and Micheal Clemons colluded on a sack and fumble that set up A&M’s final touchdown. A&M also was credited with five quarterback pressures.

Craig Bisacre
Lane showcased his world-class speed.

Chase Lane is really fast: Defensive backs can chase Lane, but they probably won’t catch him. Lane showed off his impressive speed with a reception on a crossing pattern that he turned into a 51-yard touchdown. A couple of Mississippi State defensive backs looked to have an angle on him but still couldn’t stop Lane from reaching the end zone.

A&M’s pass protection is really good: Not only has A&M allowed just one sack, but the offensive line has thwarted two of the best pass-rushing teams in the SEC. Mississippi State entered the game with an SEC-leading 12 sacks. The Bulldogs were unable to get to quarterback Kellen Mond. That’s a heck of an encore from last weekend when the Aggies held off Florida’s pass rush, which was averaging four sacks per game before facing A&M.

What I loved

Isaiah Spiller: The sophomore runs with conviction. He carried seven times for 54 yards on the Aggies’ 8-play, 66-yard drive for their first touchdown. He went on to rush for 114 yards on 18 carries for two touchdowns. Spiller has exceeded 100 rushing yards in three of A&M’s first four games. He’s rushed for 430 yards through four games.

Linebacker play: Aaron Hansford and Buddy Johnson both had strong outings. Hansford had nine tackles, a sack and was credited with a quarterback pressure. Johnson had 12 tackles, a sack, forced a fumble and broke up two passes. They were key figures in holding Mississippi State to minus-two rushing yards and just 217 yards of offense.

Special teams: Chris Russell blocked a punt to set up a point-blank touchdown. Ainias Smith had a 22-yard punt return. Nick Constantinou averaged 43.4 yards on five punts. He killed two inside the 20-yard line. One was down at the 6-yard line.

What I loathed

Craig Bisacre
Penalties and mental mistakes didn’t kill the Aggies on Saturday, but A&M’s coaching staff will certainly look to clean that up.

Penalties: The number wasn’t overly alarming — five for 40 yards — but some were costly. A holding penalty wiped out a 50-yard pass play that would’ve put A&M at the Mississippi State 2-yard line. Two — a false start and a delay of game — were on the same series that went nowhere. Another was on a Mississippi State punt that resulted in the Bulldogs retaining possession of the football. There were actually three separate penalties on that one play.

Playcalling: A&M’s running game was dominant in its previous game. So, of course, the Aggies passed on their first five plays. The opening series consisted of three passes for 1 yard. The Aggies averaged 5.5 yards per rush, but appeared quick to abandon the run. On A&M’s opening drive of the second half, Spiller had runs of 13 and 15 yards to help move the Aggies to a first down at the Mississippi State 36-yard line. The next three plays were passes. The third one was intercepted and returned for a touchdown.

A&M allowed a touchdown pass: Yeah, it came in the fourth quarter when A&M was in control. True, giving up a single touchdown pass is a successful day any day, but it would’ve been satisfying to deny Mike Leach’s offense even one score.

Discussion from...

Learned, Loved, Loathed: Texas A&M 28, Mississippi State 14

7,181 Views | 5 Replies | Last: 12 mo ago by Sterling82
How long do you want to ignore this user?
Impressive road win yesterday.
I'm really excited about how well on the run game is developing.
The defense overall is maturing as well.
The bye week comes at a good time because Arkansas is going to be tougher than many on here think.
How long do you want to ignore this user?
Learned - We have a third running back after all. Do we have a third WR ?
Loved- O line and D line are ballin out.
Loathed - you know who with the 15 yard penalty on the punt then being late to the receiver allowing a third and 18 conversion.
tex 93
How long do you want to ignore this user?
What I loathed was we didn't come out and run the ball. And I don't understand why not? We finally ran it down Florida's throat and we eventually did the same to MS State. This team can flat run the ball and with an established running game it then opens up the passing game.
Great win. Gig'em Ags
SEC Champs
How long do you want to ignore this user?
Nice win, but we left 21 points off the board due to penalties and that freakish pick-6.

It was a must win game.

I'm liking our chances to finish out the season #2 behind Alabama.
How long do you want to ignore this user?
I agree on the play selection. I get the feeling we spend too much effort getting Mond into a rhythm instead of letting it just take place. In the meantime we waste possessions.
Page 1 of 1
subscribe Verify your student status
See Subscription Benefits
Trial only available to users who have never subscribed or participated in a previous trial.