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Texas A&M Football

Defense, Spiller bail out sluggish A&M offense in 20-7 defeat of LSU

November 29, 2020
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If asked whether Texas A&M deserves to be fifth in the next College Football Playoff rankings take the fifth.

Then maybe drink a fifth.

That might make it easier to cope with Kirk Herbstreit, Joey Galloway and other doubters and detractors in the national media who’ve suggested A&M is overrated.

Texas A&M’s 20-7 victory over LSU on a rainy Saturday night at Kyle Field will give ammunition to those pushing the narrative that Florida, Cincinnati and even BYU are more worthy of playoff consideration.

All wins are good wins, especially when they come against the defending national champion. But when hoping to earn a spot in the four-team playoff field, winning with style is necessary.

“I'm not worried about the playoff,” A&M coach Jimbo Fisher bristled. “I'm worried about playing good football. If we play good football everything will take care of itself.”

The Aggies did not play good football. Not on the offensive side, anyway.

Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports
Isaiah Spiller scored A&M’s lone offensive touchdown on a 52-yard first-quarter spring to the end zone.

Sophomore running back Isaiah Spiller did have a spectacular 52-yard touchdown run that staked the Aggies to a 10-0 lead in the first quarter, but A&M’s only other touchdown was provided by linebacker Buddy Johnson on a 15-yard interception return late in the third quarter.

The Aggies (6-1) struggled in the categories in which they’ve typically excelled.

A&M was leading the nation in third down conversions with a 62 percent success rate. The Aggies converted just 2 of 16 against LSU.

The offensive line surrendered its first sack in six games. Spiller rushed for 125 yards in the first half. He managed a mere 16 in the second half.

“We got our butts kicked,” Fisher growled. “That’s as simple as you can put it. We weren’t consistent enough to do what we need to do.”

In the previous four games, the Aggies were almost automatic in scoring touchdowns when reaching the red zone. Twice they reached the red zone. Once they settled for a Seth Small field goal. The other trip ended with quarterback Kellen Mond reverting to a past tendency toward egregious turnovers.

Mond completed fewer than one-third of his passes for a season-low 105 yards, but his greatest mistake came in the second quarter with the Aggies just six yards away from taking a 17-0 lead.

Facing fourth-and-one, he foolishly reached out with the football in an attempt to gain a first down. The exposed football was slapped out of his hands for a 9-yard loss.

“You don't ever stick it out,” Fisher said of Mond’s mistake. “You can't jump up and stick the ball out like that.”

“I'm not worried about the playoff. I'm worried about playing good football. If we play good football everything will take care of itself.”
- Jimbo Fisher

The game turned there. What appeared destined to be an easy win became an exercise in frustration as the Aggies routinely squandered scoring opportunities with missed blocks, dropped passes and penalties.

Perhaps there was rust after a three-week interruption in play caused by COVID-19 issues. Or maybe the Aggies were just sluggish because of the steady rain that fell throughout the game.

To his credit, Fisher would not make excuses.

“It was not the weather. I don’t think it was that bad. That was a very light rain,” he said. “We just didn’t do what we needed to do and that’s on me as a coach. I’ve got to do a better job of coaching and getting them ready.”

While the offense under-performed, the defense overwhelmed. The Aggies were a mere 38 seconds from posting a shutout as they evoked “Wrecking Crew” memories.

The Wrecking New, which has allowed 14 points or less in three of the last four games, begrudgingly surrendered just 267 yards and constantly pressured LSU quarterbacks T.J. Finley and Max Johnson. Buddy Johnson, Bobby Brown and Andre White all posted sacks, and A&M’s pass rush hurried LSU quarterbacks nine times.

That pressure was a major factor in Jaylon Jones and Buddy Johnson snatching interceptions. It was also was the primary reason LSU, like the A&M offense, converted just twice on 16 third downs.

This game was won by the defense. Defensive end DeMarvin Leal didn’t see it that way, though.

“We’re just having each other’s back,” he said. “That’s just football. You know, sometimes it doesn’t work out the way it’s supposed to.”

True. There are always surprises. No. 8 Northwestern was upset on Saturday. No. 15 Oregon fell on Friday.

Even when they clearly were not playing well, the Aggies still managed to win. They showed if they struggle on offense they can still prevail with a strong defense. That’s the sign of a strong team.

But when the next CFP rankings are announced, don’t just take it for granted the Aggies will remain fifth.

Discussion from...

Defense, Spiller bail out sluggish A&M offense in 20-7 defeat of LSU

6,008 Views | 7 Replies | Last: 1 mo ago by TexanJeff
AgOutsideAustin
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AG
Don't care about BLM crybaby Herbstreit or Galloway their beloved buckeyes barely hung on to beat Indiana by seven at home after having a huge lead. So them giving up like 35 points and close to 500 yards passing is better than our win last night? Nope.
Papa Joe
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Just win out and the rest will take care of itself.
I have always said if our only loss is to #1 Bama, then we had a GREAT year!!!
btho auburn, tennessee, and ole miss
SEC Champs
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LSU called our bluff by forcing Mond to throw downfield to 1-on-1 matchups against their talented DBs. Derek Stingley was very impressive; the comparisons to Deion may be premature, but he appears to be a steep trajectory. Despite losing Aranda, they did not lose their athleticism; their DTs were powerful and made our OL look weak.

There may have been some rust and the weather could've played a factor, but I think LSU's athleticism accents our offensive weaknesses. There are only a few teams in college football with players of that caliber. I think we still have a clear path to the playoffs, but the teams we may meet there will have the same talent that LSU does only with dynamic playmakers on offense. If we can't find our passing game, we don't stand a chance.
AggieBlu
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AgOutsideAustin said:

Don't care about BLM crybaby Herbstreit or Galloway their beloved buckeyes barely hung on to beat Indiana by seven at home after having a huge lead. So them giving up like 35 points and close to 500 yards passing is better than our win last night? Nope.
Wait...why are they BLM crybabies?
Somewhere, the toddler president is sitting on the toilet lying in a tweet! LOL
txag72
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AgOutsideAustin
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TexanJeff
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AggieBlu said:

AgOutsideAustin said:

Don't care about BLM crybaby Herbstreit or Galloway their beloved buckeyes barely hung on to beat Indiana by seven at home after having a huge lead. So them giving up like 35 points and close to 500 yards passing is better than our win last night? Nope.
Wait...why are they BLM crybabies?



Yeah, what does BLM have to do with anything?
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