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Texas A&M Football

Post Game Review: No. 5 Texas A&M 41, No. 13 North Carolina 27

January 2, 2021
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Fight finished thanks to a strong finish.

No. 5 Texas A&M prevailed over No. 13 North Carolina in the 2021 Capital One Orange Bowl as the Aggies scored 21 unanswered points in the game’s final quarter to complete the comeback victory. Texas A&M extended its win streak to eight to conclude the season.

A&M entered the final 15 minutes trailing, 20-17. Seth Small pulled the Aggies even with a 23-yard field goal with 14:02 to play.

The Tar Heels wasted no time responding as Josh Downs got behind the A&M secondary and Sam Howell found him for a 75-yard touchdown, putting UNC back in front 11 seconds after A&M tied it.

Texas A&M would answer back. Kellen Mond hit Ainias Smith for a 54-yard gain on the fourth play as the Murder Hornet utilized some shifty moves to get down to the UNC 6-yard line. Three plays later, A&M found the endzone to pull even at 27-all as Mond scrambled for the four-yard score. It was the 93rd touchdown Mond was responsible for in his career, bringing him even with Johnny Manziel atop the A&M leaderboard.

A&M’s defense came up with a crucial stop as the Tar Heels went three and out. However, the Aggie offense couldn’t capitalize and was forced to punt. Nik Constantinou’s boot went out of bounds at the UNC 40-yard line with 8:01 remaining.

Jasen Vinlove/USA Today Sports
Freshman running back Devon Achane was played hero in the fourth quarter as he found the endzone twice. Achane ran for 140 yards in the game.

On the ensuing series, Bobby Brown was called for a controversial roughing-the-passer penalty, moving UNC to the A&M 43-yard line. But A&M’s defense got off the field three plays later with McKinnley Jackson delivering the exclamation mark, dropping Howell for a sack on third down.

Fisher’s offense took over at their 13-yard line with 5:07 left. Devon Achane busted loose for a jaw-dropping 76-yard touchdown run, staking the Ags to a 34-27 advantage.

Mike Elko’s defense came up large once more, stopping the Tar Heels on fourth-and-1 at UNC’s 34 with 2:24 still to play.

Achane would add another touchdown three plays later to seal the Aggie victory.

As they have for much of the year, A&M dominated on the ground. The Aggies rushed for 225 yards, while holding UNC to 90 on the ground. Achane was the game’s leading rusher with 140 on 12 carries, scoring twice.

At times the Aggie defense was shaky, but as they have for much of the year, Mike Elko’s defense came up big in crucial situations and clamped down in the fourth quarter. Howell found success throwing the ball, but overall A&M found the stops when they needed to.

After A&M opened the contest with a three-and-out, Andre White Jr. picked off Howell for the game’s only turnover, setting up the Aggies with prime field position at the UNC 28-yard line.

On a third-and-8 situation, Mond tossed Isaiah Spiller for seven yards. Jimbo Fisher kept his offense in on fourth-and-1, and Spiller scampered nine yards to the endzone for the game’s opening score as A&M took advantage of the early takeaway.

North Carolina answered with a nice drive of their own, aided by 30 yards in penalties assessed to Leon O’Neal. However, the Aggie defense came up big and forced UNC to settle for a 29-yard field goal.

For the second time in three drives, the Aggies went three-and-out, but Dazz Newsome returned Constantinou’s punt 22 yards to the UNC 49-yard line.

To begin the second quarter, Mack Brown elected to go for it on fourth-and-3 from A&M’s 44, and Howell rushed for 15 yards to move the sticks. Once more, the Aggie defense came up with a stop before the Heels reached the endzone, but Atkins nailed a 32-yard field goal.

Smith began the series with a 31-yard reception on the first play of A&M’s next possession. The Maroon & White failed to find paydirt, as Seth Small kicked a 25-yard field goal.

On the ensuing drive, UNC converted multiple third-down situations as Howell linked with Newsome multiple times. The Tar Heels would get on the board thanks to a circus catch by Newsome in the endzone, giving UNC the lead.

Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Mond played well in what could be his final game in Maroon & White. He completed 16 of 26 passing attempts for 232 yards and added another 36 yards on the ground.

On the Aggies’ next possession, a 27-yard completion to Chase Lane on third down moved the chains. After two big running plays, Mond connected with Hezekiah Jones for 27 yards down to the UNC 3-yard line. Spiller punched it in on the next play as A&M regained the lead before the end of the half.

To begin the second half, the Tar Heels and Aggies traded three-and-outs.

On UNC’s second drive of the third quarter, Howell hit Josh Downs on a wheel route for a 10-yard score to put the Tar Heels back in front.

A&M failed to respond as the Aggies once again went three-and-out as former A&M commit Tony Grimes sacked Mond as he tried to scramble for the sticks. A&M’s defense quickly forced UNC off the field. Small would ultimately kick a 23-yard field goal to tie the contest at 20 with 14:02 left.

The victory is Texas A&M’s first in a New Year’s Six bowl game during the College Football Playoff era, which began in 2014. The Aggies should finish within the top five and might earn their highest end-of-season ranking since the 1939 national championship.

RUMBLED: In what could’ve been his final game as an Aggie, linebacker Buddy Johnson had 10 tackles, including eight solos. He added one sack and 2.5 tackles for loss as well.

STUMBLED: Coming into the night, Texas A&M’s offensive line had only allowed four sacks all year. The Joe Moore Award finalists allowed three tonight alone for 13 yards in losses.

TURNING POINT: After forcing a crucial three-and-out with 3:44 remaining, Devon Achane broke free for a 76-yard touchdown to give the Aggies the lead, 34-27. A&M would not look back.

UNSUNG HERO: Kellen Mond didn’t play a perfect game, but the senior quarterback was fantastic. He completed 16 of 26 attempts for 232 yards and a 136.5 rating, but the Aggies did not score through the air. He rushed for 36 yards on 11 carries and a touchdown.

KEY STAT: Texas A&M doubled North Carolina’s output on the ground. The Aggies ran for 225 yards, while the Tar Heels mustered just 90.

Scoring Summary

First-quarter

A&M: 9:11 - Isaiah Spiller 9-yard touchdown run. Drive: 7 plays, 13 yards. TOP: 3:31. Texas A&M 7, North Carolina 0

UNC: 4:31 - Grayson Atkins 29-yard field goal. Drive: 11 plays, 63 yards. TOP: 4:40. Texas A&M 7, North Carolina 3

Second-quarter

UNC: 11:09 - Grayson Atkins 32-yard field goal. Drive: 11 plays, 36 yards. TOP: 5:48. Texas A&M 7, North Carolina 6

A&M: 7:40 - Seth Small 25-yard field goal. Drive: 7 plays, 68 yards. TOP: 3:29. Texas A&M 10, North Carolina 6

UNC: 4:56 - Sam Howell 28-yard touchdown pass to Dazz Newsome. Drive: 8 plays, 75 yards. TOP: 2:44. North Carolina 13, Texas A&M 10

A&M: 0:20 - Isaiah Spiller 3-yard touchdown run. Drive: 8 plays, 75 yards. TOP: 4:36. Texas A&M 17, North Carolina 13

Third-quarter

UNC: 8:01 - Sam Howell 10-yard touchdown pass to Josh Downs. Drive: 9 plays, 66 yards. TOP: 3:25. North Carolina 20, Texas A&M 17

Fourth-quarter

A&M: 14:02 - Seth Small 23-yard field goal. Drive: 12 plays, 74 yards. TOP: 5:31. Texas A&M 20, North Carolina 20

UNC: 13:51 - Sam Howell 75-yard touchdown pass to Josh Downs. Drive: 1 play, 75 yards. TOP: 0:11. North Carolina 27, Texas A&M 20

A&M: 10:11 - Kellen Mond 4-yard touchdown run. Drive: 7 plays, 75 yards. TOP: 3:40. Texas A&M 27, North Carolina 27

A&M: 3:44 - Devon Achane 76-yard touchdown run. Drive: 3 plays, 87 yards. TOP: 1:23. Texas A&M 34, North Carolina 27

A&M: 1:34 - Devon Achane 1-yard touchdown run. Drive: 3 plays, 34 yards. TOP: 0:50. Texas A&M 41, North Carolina 27

Discussion from...

Post Game Review: No. 5 Texas A&M 41, No. 13 North Carolina 27

9,277 Views | 7 Replies | Last: 2 mo ago by agwin12
mcag83
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Aggies
Slamn Sharpe
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Winning
citizenkane06
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sleepybeagle
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Mr. Black
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A dominant fourth quarter performance from our D-Line and Achane's blazing speed brought this one home! Whoop!!!
Charlie 31
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agwin12
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UNSUNG HERO: Kellen Mond didn't play a perfect game, but the senior quarterback was fantastic. He completed 16 of 26 attempts for 232 yards and a 136.5 rating, but the Aggies did not score through the air. He rushed for 36 yards on 11 carries and a touchdown.

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