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Texas A&M Football

Momentum Shifts: Blown opportunities suggest Ags should get back to basics

October 5, 2021
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This game was hard to watch. For so many reasons. Multiple times during the game we put ourselves in a position to make a positive play, get a stop, convert for a first down, etc…and we kept shooting ourselves in the foot. 

The bottom line is, Mississippi State came to College Station and beat Texas A&M in front of an amazing crowd under the lights in a night game at Kyle Field. We are talking about a team that we have recruited better than every single year since Jimbo Fisher has been head coach at Texas A&M. And I imagine every year before that for as long as I can remember.

Since 2018, The Aggies have averaged the No. 8 class and MSU has averaged No. 24. That is what is disappointing about that game. We have the talent to get wins against Arkansas and Mississippi State. 

Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports
The Aggie defense allowed more points to Mississippi State’s air-raid offense than they had all season. 

The combination of self-inflicted wounds, injuries at key positions and an overall lack of a killer instinct has hurt us. 

We have got to learn to capitalize on opportunities that we create and are given to us and to step up in critical moments of the game. 

Here are a few examples that were frustrating:

First drive of the game, WR wide open across the middle, QB rolls out and fires the ball to him, the ball is tipped up and intercepted in our own territory. A ball that should’ve been caught resulted in a turnover in our territory and three points for MSU to start the game. Also, on the first play of that drive, they set the tone by blowing up our OL and getting a tackle for loss. Self-inflicted wound. 

Later in the game, MSU is inside our five-yard line. Our defense is getting some stops. On third and goal, Rogers throws the ball away and instead of it being fourth down, we get a face mask call on our CB to the wide side of the field?!? That just can’t happen. They could have settled for a FG or maybe even gone for it on fourth and goal, giving us an opportunity for to prevent any score. Instead, they score a TD to get the lead back. Blown opportunity.

Heading to the end of the second quarter, we are putting together a good drive. Get to third and four inside of our 10, we call a pass and let a man come straight through the A gap untouched for a sack. Have to settle for a FG instead of converting and getting a TD. Blown opportunity. 

Right before halftime, we get the ball back and complete a huge play to Achane for 30 yards into MSU territory and time to score. Next play, we snap the ball over the QB’s head and take a 16-yard loss. Drive killing mistake. Have to punt instead of capitalizing on the momentum and going to get points. Blown opportunity. 

There are many more examples from the second half that were frustrating to watch. They were once again creating pressure on us with a three-man rush. If we cannot stop MSU with a three-man rush, I believe there is reason for concern considering the defensive fronts we have remaining on the schedule. 

When you are down two of your top three corners, your starting QB, two of your starting WRs, and also the guy who was supposed to be your starting center, you cannot afford to miss these opportunities and expect to win in this league, especially in this division. 

The ultimate momentum killer of the game for me and what felt like a devastating blow to our team overall was the safety towards the end of the fourth quarter. 

Jamie Maury, TexAgs
The Ags will need a strong response to their struggles with a tough SEC schedule ahead.

Our defense gave up a TD with an obvious hold and one of the worst calls I have ever seen. We respond with a big TD to get the crowd back into the game and Kyle Field was rocking. Next drive we hold them to a missed FG. We drive back down and have to settle for a FG, but we did get points and made it a one-possession game. Then we held them to a punt and got the ball on our own 11-yard line with just over two minutes left. 

Momentum was again completely on our side at this point. Crowd is rocking. We get blown up and tackled for a one-yard loss. The next play we get sacked for a safety more than 10 yards behind the line of scrimmage and the Bulldogs put the nail in the coffin to close the game away. We never even started the comeback drive and walked off of Kyle Field with a brutal loss to an SEC west bottom-feeder. 

The Texas A&M Football team has a rough road ahead. How they respond the rest of this season will determine a lot for them in the future. I still believe in Jimbo Fisher 110% and Mike Elko, as well. How we respond to adversity is going to be very telling. We need to get healthy in the worst way, but we must also get confidence back and these coaches need to become leaders of men. Keep these young men focused. Help them ignore the noise on the outside and come together as a team and say enough is enough. 

Toughness. Effort. Discipline. Pride. Grit. We hear and see these five words often when watching anything related to Aggie Football. If this team can get back to focusing on those five qualities, I think they will come out on the other side of this.

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Momentum Shifts: Blown opportunities suggest Ags should get back to basics

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