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Texas A&M Football

Learned, Loved, Loathed: LSU 27, Texas A&M 24

November 28, 2021
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Again, victory was within Texas A&M’s grasp. Again, the Aggies did not make the clutch plays. Again, A&M lost at Tiger Stadium.

The Aggies' 27-24 loss to LSU on Saturday was perhaps more disappointing than their other three defeats this season.

A&M gave up long touchdown passes with 32 seconds remaining in the first half and with 20 seconds remaining in the game. 

That’s how close they were to posting their first win in Baton Rouge since 1994 and securing a bowl trip to Florida.

The Aggies had some great performances. Receiver Jalen Preston caught two touchdown passes from Zach Calzada, defensive end Micheal Clemons was a sack machine and Devon Achane ran well, but not often enough.

There was bad play selection, worse pass coverage and even worse officiating that denied A&M a win-clinching turnover.

As usual, there were lessons learned and some things to love. Unfortunately, there was a lot to loathe.

Learned

Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports
The Aggies now await their bowl destination, which will be announced next weekend. 

The Aggies probably aren’t going to a Florida bowl: A victory over LSU would have pushed A&M to 9-3 and likely would have cemented a berth in the Citrus Bowl in Orlando. At the very least, the Aggies would have been bound for the Outback Bowl in Tampa. But the 27-24 loss left the Aggies plunging in the bowl pecking order. Kentucky (9-3) may go to the Citrus. Arkansas (8-4) is a good bet for the Outback. The Gator Bowl is a possibility for the Aggies, but the Music City Bowl in Nashville would seem more realistic.

Devon Achane needs more touches: No disrespect intended for Isaiah Spiller, but Achane was more productive. It was the second straight SEC game — and loss — when coach Jimbo Fisher replaced Achane despite his productivity. Achane rushed for 44 yards and had a 16-yard reception on a drive that led to a touchdown that cut the LSU lead to 20-17 early in the fourth quarter. He did not touch the football again. Achane finished with 49 rushing yards on 12 attempts and 72 receiving yards on five catches. Spiller rushed for 27 yards on 11 attempts and did not catch a pass.

Jalen Preston has big-play ability: Entering the LSU game Preston had just 14 catches for 198 yards and had not scored a touchdown since getting one against Northwestern State in the 2018 season-opener. But he caught a 15-yard touchdown pass early in the fourth quarter. Later, he made a spectacular effort to turn a short pass into a 32-yard touchdown that gave the Aggies a 24-20 lead. Preston had three catches for a career-high 57 receiving yards to go with his two TDs.

Loved

The A&M pass rush produced six sacks: All of them came in the second half. Defensive end Micheal Clemons got four, though he had to share one with Tyree Johnson. DeMarvin Leal and Demani Richardson also posted sacks.

Nik Constantinou: Not often is a punter among the star players, but Constantinou was a factor. He punted for a deceptive 37.9-yard average. Three of his punts pinned LSU inside the 20-yard line. His average was skewed by a 26-yard punt, but it put LSU back at its 16. He had a 35-yarder to the LSU 12. Three of his punts covered more than 50 yards.

Zach Calzada’s tenacity: He’s not nimble, he’s hurt and his passes often lack touch. But Calzada showed he can make plays in crunch time. He stood steadfast under pressure and delivered a perfect pass to Jalen Preston for a 15-yard touchdown. He eluded the rush of B.J. Ojulari and with Soni Fonua bearing down on him and completed another throw that Preston turned into a touchdown for a 24-20 lead. Calzada finished with 242 passing yards and three touchdowns.

Loathed

He’s not nimble, he’s hurt and his passes often lack touch. But Calzada showed he can make plays in crunch time.

Officiating: Typically, lamenting officiating is best avoided. But damn… There were a few frustrating calls or non-calls. A flag should’ve been thrown for pass interference against Moose Muhammad in the end zone on a third-quarter drive in which the Aggies settled for a field goal. Of course, that was not nearly as outrageous as officials nullifying a stolen football by Demani Richardson. Richardson was covering a punt when he was able to wrestle the football away from Trey Palmer. Replays confirmed officials blew the play dead well after Richardson had taken possession of the football. Yet, they ruled forward progress had stopped and LSU retained possession. That play with 1:58 remaining would have clinched the victory for A&M.

Play-calling was suspect: Late in the first half, the Aggies would have been well-served to try to drain the clock and go into halftime trailing just 10-7. Instead, the Aggies started a series with two pass plays. The first gained one yard. The second resulted in a sack for an 8-yard loss. LSU eventually regained possession with 1:06 left in the half. The Tigers scored on a long pass with 32 seconds remaining to take a 17-7 lead. Even more egregious, the Aggies led 24-20 and faced third-and-2 at their own 17-yard line with just over two minutes left in the game. Rather than trying to pick up a first down with a run, Calzada looked to pass to Jalen Wydermyer. Calzada was under pressure and Wydermyer didn’t get out to the line of scrimmage. The pass was completed but lost yardage.

Bad pass coverage: As long as LSU quarterback Max Johnson was upright, the Tigers passing game was effective. Though sacked six times, Johnson found holes in the A&M secondary when given time to survey the field. He passed for 306 yards and three touchdowns but was most lethal on the Tigers’ final drive. He completed an 11-yard pass on fourth-and-six. His next three passes were completed for 11, 31 and 11 yards. Then after two incompletions, he hit Jeray Jenkins for a game-winning 28-yard touchdown with 20 seconds remaining.

Discussion from...

Learned, Loved, Loathed: LSU 27, Texas A&M 24

11,439 Views | 13 Replies | Last: 2 yr ago by EAgg
EllisCoAg
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AG
Achane rushed for 44 yards and had a 16-yard reception on a drive that led to a touchdown that cut the LSU lead to 20-17 early in the fourth quarter. He did not touch the football again.

In what world does this make sense
I wanna see our defense pissed off, not confused, maybe a little murder in their hearts Reload12, 11/4/11
12thMan9
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AG
Play calling suspect? That's 1 helluva understatement.
Ronnie '88
NumeroUno
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AG
Jimbos inability to ride the hot hand at the right time is alarming. Not sure what coach outside of him would be so stubborn as to stick with the rotation because that's what he does. Mind boggling.
rondis23
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AG
EllisCoAg said:

Achane rushed for 44 yards and had a 16-yard reception on a drive that led to a touchdown that cut the LSU lead to 20-17 early in the fourth quarter. He did not touch the football again.

In what world does this make sense


Ole Miss ring a bell? Failure to learn from your mistakes, and doing the same thing over and over again is by definition Insanity.
KellerAg95
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AG
At what point will Jimbo have to actually answer for these things instead of everyone treating him like a god who can't be questioned? Paid elite money for very average results. Yet that is the Aggie way for years. There is no excuse for the overall performance this year from the talent on this team.
phatty26
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I agree with the Achane stuff but we could've easily won every game with a bad qb. We have gotten better and are improving we weren't competing at the end of the sumlin era. We all want the same thing and I'm frustrated but at the end of the day we are better and in a better spot our offense is gonna be very good next year whoever the qb is. Our D will be good we'll have our corners back and we need more safeties and corners. We've got to look at the big picture and use this season as motivation.
The Agly Duckling
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Olin, thank you for giving Calzada the credit he deserves. I cannot stand some of the bashing going on.
parschoon
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AG
Thanks for article!
The one bad officiating that wasn't noted was on winning LSU touchdown pass. Refs should have called offensive pass interference against LSU receiver who pushed off Jaylon Jones right before catch. It was ridiculous. Doesn't excuse our coverage inadequacies, but the separation he got by the push off allowed for an easy catch.
HalcoAG90
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AG
Great article, one question on Spiller's performance versus Achane's… has anyone looked at the actual carries in that it seems to me Spiller seems to get a lot of inside plays and Achane gets more off tackle calls. With everyone stacking the box and run blitzing it's no wonder the numbers look like they do. Maybe it's just me…
AWP 97
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AG
phatty26 said:

I agree with the Achane stuff but we could've easily won every game with a bad qb. We have gotten better and are improving we weren't competing at the end of the sumlin era. We all want the same thing and I'm frustrated but at the end of the day we are better and in a better spot our offense is gonna be very good next year whoever the qb is. Our D will be good we'll have our corners back and we need more safeties and corners. We've got to look at the big picture and use this season as motivation.


"our offense is gonna be very good next year whoever the qb is"

This is the most Aggie thing to say ever. Lol
Let's pretend Calzada is the QB. How much are you willing to bet? I'll even let you define "very good".
pbaldridge
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Let's not forget the push off on the last pass that sealed the game. As poorly as his coverage was all game, he was actually in good position on that last play until Jenkins pushed off and got separation. Two of the biggest blown calls came on the winning drive back to back. Interesting to say the least.
pbaldridge
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KellerAg95 said:

At what point will Jimbo have to actually answer for these things instead of everyone treating him like a god who can't be questioned? Paid elite money for very average results. Yet that is the Aggie way for years. There is no excuse for the overall performance this year from the talent on this team.
Answer to who? His play calling has been questioned numerous times this season so not sure what "Aggie way" you are referring to. Nobody is ignoring the poor play selection.
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