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Texas A&M Football

Momentum Shifts: Another fast start played key role in Aggies' dominance

October 26, 2021

Texas A&M Football continues to improve each week and has built off of the great win against the Crimson Tide three weeks ago. The Aggies are beginning to look like the team everyone thought that they could be at the outset of the 2021 football season.

In my opinion, a huge part of that success in the past three weeks can be attributed to the fast starts that the Aggies have had. Against Alabama (17-7 in 1Q), Mizzou (21-0 in 1Q) and last Saturday against South Carolina, the Aggie Football team has jumped out to good-sized leads in the first quarter alone. Texas A&M jumped on the Gamecocks right out of the gate with what I believe was the Momentum Changing play of the game. 

The Aggies kicked off to South Carolina to start the game, and on the first possession for the Gamecocks, the Aggie defense played lockdown. On the second play of the game, A&M was called for a 15-yard penalty giving away a free first down but then responded and forced a punt. 

Jamie Maury, TexAgs
Smith’s opening return for a touchdown on Saturday brings his season return yardage to 257.

SC punted with Ainias Smith waiting back on the six-yard line, and most people probably assumed that he would fair catch it or let it go. But because of great blocking by the punt return team, specifically Deuce Harmon on the gunner on the A&M sideline, Smith had room to catch the ball and make a move right away. Ainias made a quick cutback left towards the field and split the first two defenders. He made one more quick cutback inside and broke an ankle tackle and had nothing but daylight in front of him. He proceeded to follow Edgerrin Cooper down the field for an electric 95-yard punt return that would put the Aggies on top 7-0 just under three minutes into the game. 

With that big-time punt return for a TD, Ainias fired up an already energetic 12th Man and drew them into the game. The energy in Kyle Field was great, and the tone for the evening was set. A great start at home in an SEC Game was just what we needed, and it was just the beginning of a great evening in College Station.

The special teams have been great over the past few weeks, and this is the second return for a TD in the last three games that turned out to be massive: Achane with the huge response against Alabama to get momentum back and Smith starting off the USC game to give the Aggies momentum from the start.

All three phases of the Aggie Football team have been improving week over week, and they are heading into the bye week to prepare for a big November stretch with so much left to play for. It will take all three phases executing at a high level for this team to do what they want to do and win each game remaining on the schedule. Two road games against Ole Miss and LSU and two home games against Auburn and Prairie View. 

With two tough road games ahead, I’ll be paying close attention to our special teams play. We all have seen the marked improvement on offense and defense, but the often forgotten third phase of the game can prove to be a huge difference-maker. Seth Small, Nik Constantino, Ainias Smith and Devon Achane have all made big momentum-changing plays all year. Here’s to them closing out 2021 with some more big plays to help this team finish each remaining week 1-0.

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Momentum Shifts: Another fast start played key role in Aggies' dominance

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