Story Poster
Jimbo Fisher
Layden Robinson
Max Johnson
Jaylon Jones
Texas A&M Football

Stifling defense sets tone in No. 24 Texas A&M's rebound win over No. 13 Miami

September 18, 2022
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Hope was restored on Saturday night. Just not necessarily in the way Aggies might prefer.

Texas A&M and its 107,245 relieved fans at Kyle Field should hope No. 13 Miami truly deserves its ranking among the top-15 best teams in college football.

If that’s the case, the No. 24 Aggies’ 17-9 victory over the Hurricanes was ultra impressive and could launch a U-turn to a successful 2022 campaign.

But what if Miami is ultimately revealed to be an updated version of last year’s mediocre Atlantic Coast Conference also-ran?

In that case, it would be difficult to feel optimistic about a victory that Miami lost as much as Texas A&M won.

“We still didn’t play to our highest standard. We weren’t very clean up front sometimes, but we still got the job done. We showed improvement. We were coming off the ball. We were feeling confident.
We’ve just got to clean up some things, which everybody does.”
- A&M guard Layden Robinson

Head coach Jimbo Fisher won’t apologize for what some might describe as an “ugly” victory.

Nor should he.

The Aggies bounced back from a last week’s 17-14 upset loss to Appalachian State to defeat a ranked opponent with a quarterback — Tyler Van Dyke — that some project as an NFL first-round draft prospect.

They did it despite having four players serving a suspension and then losing cornerback Brian George and safety Demani Richardson, who were ejected for targeting.

“How is it ugly?” Fisher asked. “You play complimentary football. You do the right things. You don’t turn the football over. You make the plays you’ve got to make. That’s what winning football does.”

Yet, the fact remains A&M again was limited to a mere two touchdowns. One of those was gifted with a fumbled punt which enabled the Aggies to start at the Miami 28-yard line.

New starting quarterback Max Johnson was reasonably effective, though unspectacular. He completed only half his passes for just 140 yards but threw for a touchdown.

He should have had another touchdown pass, but the usually sure-handed Devon Achane dropped a pass that should have resulted in a score.

Perhaps more importantly, Johnson avoided pivotal mistakes. He threw no interceptions. He lost no fumbles.

Jamie Maury, TexAgs
Junior running back Devon Achane recorded a season-high 88 rushing yards in Saturday night’s win. 

Still, his mundane stat line could’ve been better if not for receivers frequently failing to gain separation from Miami defensive backs. A few passes were dropped, too.

Freshmen wideouts Evan Stewart and Chris Marshall were among those suspended for breaking team rules. Had they been available, maybe they could have helped, though Fisher was doubtful.

“It doesn’t matter,” Fisher said. “If you’re not protecting, you can have (NFL Hall of Famer) Jerry Rice running down through there.  We’ve got to do a better job protecting in the pocket and doing some of those things.”

To his point, A&M’s offensive line was again painfully inconsistent.

Even with center Bryce Foster back from illness and Aki Ogunbiyi and Jordan Moko rotating at right guard, A&M allowed three sacks and managed only 264 yards of total offense. Even when he wasn’t sacked, Johnson was often under pressure.

“We still didn’t play to our highest standard,” junior guard Layden Robinson said. “We weren’t very clean up front sometimes, but we still got the job done. We showed improvement. We were coming off the ball. We were feeling confident.

“We’ve just got to clean up some things, which everybody does.”

Jamie Maury, TexAgs
In total, A&M’s defense racked up 65 tackles, eight pass breakups and six QB hurries. 

A&M’s defense compensated for the offensive issues.

Miami, albeit against substandard competition, scored 100 points in its first two games. The Hurricanes managed just three field goals against the A&M defense.

True, the Aggies benefitted from Miami’s failure to convert two field goals. One missed. The other was blocked by defensive tackle Albert Regis.

Miami also committed two holding penalties to thwart a scoring opportunity late in the fourth quarter.

But overall, A&M kept Van Dyke under control. Van Dyke completed just 21-of-41 passes for a pedestrian 217 yards. His longest completion covered just 29 yards.

His 51.2 passing percentage was the lowest of his career when attempting more than one pass.

The secondary kept Van Dyke in check without much help from the pass rush, without freshmen Denver Harris and Smoke Bouie and without George and Richardson for the entire second half.

“We should have put up more points. Miami had a really good defense. A really good team. I do feel we need to score more points, but our defense has been playing lights all year.”
- A&M QB Max Johnson

The defense was far from perfect, though. Miami rushed for 175 yards. Too often A&M linebackers went MIA. Hurricanes running backs broke off 11 runs that covered 7 yards or more.

But the defense came through when needed most. Needing a touchdown and two-point conversion to forge a tie, Miami twice moved into A&M’s end of the field in the fourth quarter.

Twice the Hurricanes were denied.

A&M could be encouraged the defensive effort. But winning is difficult when scoring fewer than 20 points.

“We should have put up more points,” Johnson said. “Miami had a really good defense. A really good team. I do feel we need to score more points, but our defense has been playing lights all year.”

Maybe that’s sufficient to have hope restored.

Discussion from...

Stifling defense sets tone in No. 24 Texas A&M's rebound win over No. 13 Miami

6,634 Views | 2 Replies | Last: 10 days ago by MrBowtie1982
94 Aggie
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Gig'em Aggies! Whoop!
Class of 94. We never lost at Kyle Field!
MrBowtie1982
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here are the A&M/Miami wrap links if you wanted to see & share. youtube: twitter:
Greg Sherman
https://www.youtube.com/buckeyesooner82?sub_confirmation=1
Twitter: @MrBowtie1982
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