Story Poster
Jimbo Fisher
Kenyon Green
Antonio Johnson
Texas A&M Football

Aggies unable to muster extraordinary performances, fall at Ole Miss

November 14, 2021

Victory does not come easily for Texas A&M at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.

The Aggies have won four games there. Each was hard-fought and closely contested. Often, the Aggies were rescued by big plays from extraordinary players.

Johnny Manziel saved A&M in 2012 and 2013. Buddy Johnson had the pivotal big play in 2019.

Speedy sophomore Devon Achane made more than a few big plays on Saturday night.

Achane rushed for 110 yards and two touchdowns but was not extraordinary enough to overcome mistakes as No. 11 A&M (7-3, 4-3) suffered a 29-19 Southeastern Conference football loss to No. 15 Ole Miss (8-2, 4-2).

Defensive lapses and offensive errors resulted in the Aggies falling into a 15-0 halftime deficit. More offensive mistakes and perhaps questionable coaching decisions prevented a comeback.

“We didn’t play with enough poise on offense or defense either way in the first half,” Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher said. “We didn’t execute the plays and make the tackles.

Jamie Maury, TexAgs
Corral and the Rebels came out firing and dominated the game in the first half.

“That’s the disappointing thing coming up here. (We) put ourselves behind the 8-ball too fast too quick to make the plays which we needed to make.”

A&M was actually behind the 408-ball. That’s how many offensive yards Ole Miss accumulated in the first half alone.

A Matt Corral touchdown pass, two Caden Costa field goals and a safety accounted for the Rebels’ halftime lead. But the Aggies should’ve been counting their blessings that they were still in contention.

Only a few defiant acts of defense prevented Ole Miss from securing the victory by intermission.

A&M denied the Rebels touchdowns on three consecutive drives deep into the Aggies’ end of the field. Somehow they surrendered just three points.

A DeMarvin Leal sack and forced fumble quelled one threat. Demani Richardson caused a Corral fumble at the 1-yard line to force a field goal. Another drive to the A&M 1-yard line ended with Tyreek Chappell tackling tight and Casey Kelly for a 1-yard loss on fourth down.

A&M fought back in the second half.

A 30-yard Seth Small field goal put the Aggies on the scoreboard. Achane followed with a thrilling 24-yard touchdown run to cut the deficit to 15-10.

“We got back in the game and had chances to win the game and do the things we needed to do and didn’t do it,” Fisher said.

They didn’t depend on their running game, especially Achane.

Fisher did not consistently challenge the soft Ole Miss rushing defense that allowed more than 200 rushing yards in five of the last six games. Instead, he leaned heavily on erratic quarterback Zach Calzada, who passed for 237 yards and threw two gut-wrenching interceptions that resulted in Ole Miss touchdowns.

Jamie Maury, TexAgs
Achane was effective but only had 12 carries against Ole Miss.

Calzada was nothing less than amazing in a 41-38 upset of Alabama last month. But now four consecutive moderate showings indicate he’s an average quarterback.

Achane isn’t average. Even his average isn’t average. He gained 9.2 yards per attempt. Alas, he only had 12 carries.

Achane did not return to the field when the Aggies regained the football with a chance to take the lead with a touchdown. Isaiah Spiller gained 9 yards on first down but was stopped for no gain on second and third down. A&M was forced to punt.

“We were trying to rotate them back,” Fisher said of his decision to reinsert Spiller into the game. “The guy’s (Spiller) had 3,000 yards, man. The guy’s our guy. Three thousand yards. One of the greatest backs in our school’s history. He’s playing well. We keep them in the same rotation. That’s the way it’s going.”

Fisher has a point. Who could criticize him for going to Spiller, who’s among A&M’s all-time Top 10 rushers?

However, for whatever reason Spiller wasn’t as effective on Saturday. He had 41 yards on 15 carries. That 9-yard run was his longest of the game. Why not stay with the hot runner?

When Achane returned, he had a 21-yard run to the Ole Miss 10-yard line. The Aggies got no further, though, and settled for another Small field goal with 10:19 to play.

A&M’s next series lasted two plays. Calzada threw high to a leaping Demond Demas. The football deflected off his outstretched hands to Ole Miss linebacker Ashanti Sistrunk. Two plays later, Snoop Conner dashed 13 yards for a touchdown and 22-13 lead.

Three plays later, Ole Miss safety A.J. Finley returned a Calzada interception 52 yards for a touchdown.

Achane scored a 9-yard touchdown run with just over three minutes remaining, but a missed pass on the two-point conversion attempt ended any chance for a miraculous comeback.

Also ended were A&M’s hopes of backing into the SEC Championship game and maybe the College Football Playoff. The chance of playing in a New Year’s Six bowl likely died, too.

All in all, it was a disappointing trip to Oxford. Extraordinarily disappointing.

Discussion from...

Aggies unable to muster extraordinary performances, fall at Ole Miss

4,710 Views | 3 Replies | Last: 2 mo ago by TAMU74
How long do you want to ignore this user?
Head scratching why you would not stay with Achane when it was very obvious he was the hot hand and more effective.
How long do you want to ignore this user?
"Achane isn't average. Even his average isn't average." Nice.
How long do you want to ignore this user?
Disappointing or extraordinarily disappointing is putting it mildly.
However, I do realize you can only be so demonstrative in your reporting.
This team clearly does not have a championship mentality.
We have not learned how to play on the Road and until we do we're gonna just be average.
Losing to both Mississippi schools in one year with the alleged talent that we have is inexcusable.
When was the last time Ole Miss or state recruited us?
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