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Texas A&M Football

Learned, Loved, Loathed: Texas A&M 20, LSU 7

November 29, 2020
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Fifth-ranked Texas A&M (6-1) returned from a three-week interruption to its season to extend its winning streak. A 20-7 victory over LSU was the Aggies’ fifth consecutive victory. But it was the least impressive win in the streak.

Maybe the Aggies were rusty after two games were postponed due to COVID-19. Maybe they struggled with the rainy conditions at Kyle Field. Maybe they were just playing tight now that they’re in the College Football Playoff discussion.

There were lessons to be learned from that outing. There were a few things to love and a lot to loathe.

What we learned

The Aggies can win via defense: Without a doubt, defense carried the Aggies to their sixth victory. The defense scored as many touchdowns (1) as the Aggies offense and shut out LSU until the final minute. A&M would have lost had it been forced to rely on the sputtering offense. The defense allowed LSU to gain just 267 total yards. That’s the same amount the A&M offense managed.

The Aggies continually harassed LSU quarterbacks. Officially, A&M was credited with 9 quarterback hurries. That pressure led to interceptions by Jaylon Jones and Buddy Johnson.

A&M’s pass rush is lethal: Three sacks is always an impressive output. Buddy Johnson, Bobby Brown and Andre White each had a sack. But that didn’t begin to tell the story of A&M’s pass rush. The Aggies continually harassed LSU quarterbacks. Officially, A&M was credited with 9 quarterback hurries. DeMarvin Leal, Aaron Hansford and Tyree Johnson each were credited with two. That pressure led to interceptions by Jaylon Jones and Buddy Johnson.

The Aggies won’t return another kickoff this season: Since committing some errors in the return game in the season-opener, A&M has opted to call fair catches on kickoffs and start drives at the 25-yard line. If coach Jimbo Fisher was ever going to change that strategy, it would have been against LSU, which is ranked last in the SEC in kickoff coverage. LSU is allowing opponents an average of 31.4 yards per return. Still, A&M eschewed the return on the opening kick. If the Aggies aren’t going to return kickoffs against LSU, they’re not going to return kickoffs against anybody.

What I loved

Isaiah Spiller’s big play ability: Spiller’s 52-yard touchdown run was a thing of beauty. He swept around right end, picked up big blocks from pulling Kenyon Green and Dan Moore, cut upfield and outraced LSU safety Cameron Lewis to the pylon to give the Aggies a 10-0 lead. Spiller opened A&M’s next series with a 32-yard run. Alas, the Aggies were unable to take advantage.

Seth Small’s accuracy: When A&M’s second series stalled at the LSU 24-yard line, Small came on to convert a 41-yard field goal. The junior added a 40-yard field goal on the last play of the first half to give the Aggies a 13-0 lead. With the offense struggling, those field goals were obviously vital. Small has converted 6 of 7 field goal attempts this season for an 85.7 percent success rate.

Nik Constantinou punting: The freshman isn’t a rocket launcher like his predecessor Braden Mann. However, he is adept at pinning opponents deep in their own end of the field. Six of his 12 punts were killed inside the 20-yard line. Three were inside the 10.

What I loathed

Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports
Mond coughed up the ball trying to reach over the pile for a first down.

Kellen Mond’s ill-advised effort that led to a fumble: The Aggies would have taken an early 17-0 lead and might have blown out LSU if they could have converted a fourth-and-one at the LSU 6-yard line. The Aggies offensive line didn’t get much push on an obviously-telegraphed quarterback sneak. Mond tried to extend the football past the line of scrimmage. That works when trying to get a touchdown because the play ends when the football reaches the goal line. But the play was still alive at the 5-yard line. The football was slapped out of Mond’s hands and wound up as a 9-yard loss.

Mond’s hesitance to scramble: Mond has outstanding ability but seems hesitant to use that ability to make off-schedule plays. On several plays, he passed up opportunities to scramble for yardage and instead threw into tight coverage. That was a contributing factor to his completing just 11 of 34 passing attempts.

Third down efficiency: The Aggies entered the game leading the nation in third down conversions at 62 percent. They’re now fifth at 53.6 percent. That’s what happens when converting just 2 of 16. Mond was just 3 of 11 on third down. He was also sacked on a third down. Penalties were always a contributing factor. A holding penalty on Ainias Smith nullified an Isaiah Spiller first down run late in the second quarter. A false start and a chop block penalty on consecutive plays contributed to the Aggies facing a hopeless third-and-32 in the third quarter.

Discussion from...

Learned, Loved, Loathed: Texas A&M 20, LSU 7

9,160 Views | 4 Replies | Last: 1 mo ago by GrayMatter
cageybee77
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Agree that the qb sneak call was awful. Neither team could run their routes very crisply. Lsu has impressive cover guys. Spiller is awesome. Run defense was incredible.
black_ice
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Agreed. Mond was bad.
Azariah
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cageybee77 said:

Agree that the qb sneak call was awful. Neither team could run their routes very crisply. Lsu has impressive cover guys. Spiller is awesome. Run defense was incredible.


The sneak call wasn't awful. We have a dominant offensive line and a QB that is big enough to hit the pile. The bone headed execution of sticking the ball out was the problem.
GrayMatter
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Azariah said:

cageybee77 said:

Agree that the qb sneak call was awful. Neither team could run their routes very crisply. Lsu has impressive cover guys. Spiller is awesome. Run defense was incredible.
The sneak call wasn't awful. We have a dominant offensive line and a QB that is big enough to hit the pile. The bone headed execution of sticking the ball out was the problem.
I disagree; it was an awful call when we've ran that same play on a 4th and 1 multiple times this season. LSU has a much better defense than other SEC teams. On a play like that, you give it to your playmakers and Spillers was hot so he should have the opportunity to go get the first down and potentially TD.

That call was too conservative and doomed to fail from the snap.
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