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Texas A&M Football

Texas A&M's history of QB injuries gives Johnson his 'inevitable' chance

September 27, 2023
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There must be a curse.

To be more specific, a Texas A&M quarterback curse. A (expletive, expletive) quarterback curse.

What other explanation can there be?

There was Johnny Manziel against Auburn in 2013. Then, Kyle Allen. Then, Trevor Knight. Then, Nick Starkel. Then, Haynes King. Then, Max Johnson. And now, Conner Weigman.

Weigman was off to an excellent start this fall.

He was ranked among the Southeastern Conference’s leading passers. He was perhaps the main reason to believe the Aggies were legitimate contenders to win the SEC.

Then came an Auburn blitz, a missed block, an unfortunate hit, a broken foot and another lost starting quarterback.

What? Is this A&M’s newest tradition? There must be a jinx or a hex.

“Hex-us A&M?”

Seriously, what other college football program consistently loses its starting quarterback to injury?

Jamie Maury, TexAgs
In three appearances off the bench this season, Johnson is 20-for-31 passing for 226 yards and four touchdowns.

Unfortunately, quarterback injuries aren’t uncommon in college football. Teams that get through a season without a quarterback injury may just be plain lucky.

But Texas A&M lives with the old line, “If it weren’t for bad luck, I’d have no luck at all.”

Except, the Aggies are lucky to have Johnson step in for Weigman.

Johnson is a heck of an insurance policy.

He came in for the second half against Auburn with the Aggies holding a flimsy 6-3 lead and completed his first five passes, which included two touchdowns. The Aggies eventually won, 27-10.

“You see how he played in the (Auburn) game,” head coach Jimbo Fisher said on Wednesday’s SEC Teleconference. “Came out there and scored on two straight drives. Really, a third drive we were going to score on, too. Led us to a big one at the end. I think we scored three touchdowns on five drives.

“He did a heck of a job. Threw the ball very well. He can distribute. Understands our offense. We’re blessed to have him. Feel very confident in him. We’re going to keep right on pace.”

Johnson had previously rescued the Aggies.

Last season, he took over the starting quarterback role for the game against Miami, and the Aggies won. The following week, he started in a win over Arkansas.

In his third week, he suffered a broken hand against Mississippi State, a game the Aggies lost. They went on to lose their next five games, too.

It’s been like a recurring nightmare for the Aggies.

• In 2013, the seventh-ranked Aggies were in national championship contention. Then Manziel sustained a shoulder injury at Auburn's goal line. He wasn’t sidelined for the rest of the season, but he was clearly hampered by the injury. A&M lost to Auburn, 45-41, and later fell to LSU and Missouri.

“We’re blessed to have (Max Johnson). Feel very confident in him. We’re going to keep right on pace.”
- A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher

• In 2015, Allen’s shoulder was hurt so bad he could barely throw. He completed just 12-of-34 passes for a mere 88 yards in a 23-3 loss to Ole Miss. He was in and out of the lineup from there. The Aggies went on to lose three of their last six games, and Allen left the program.

• In 2016, Texas A&M was 7-1 and No. 4 in the initial College Football Playoff rankings. Knight hurt his shoulder on a first-quarter touchdown run against Mississippi State, and the Aggies eventually lost, 35-28. They also lost three of their next four games.

• In 2017, A&M held a 41-10 third-quarter lead against UCLA. Then, Starkel was lost to injury. A&M only managed another field goal and eventually lost, 45-44.

• Over the next three seasons, The Aggies were fortunate that Kellen Mond remained largely unscathed. Except, in 2018, he missed one play against No. 2 Clemson. On that play, the Aggies lost a fumble on first down at Clemson's 21-yard-line. Even a field goal on the drive might have resulted in an A&M victory, but instead, the Aggies lost, 28-26.

• In 2021, King broke his leg on a run against Colorado during the second game of the season. A&M managed to pull out a 10-7 victory but lost its next two games against Arkansas and Mississippi State.

Heck, A&M’s quarterback quandary goes back even further.

In 1984, Kevin Murray shattered an ankle in a win over Arkansas State. The Aggies lost five of their next six.

But there is also history to show this season is not a lost cause.

Midway through the 1992 season, Jeff Granger was lost to a concussion against SMU, and Corey Pullig came on to help lead the Aggies to a 41-7 victory. Pullig started for A&M en route to four more wins, and the Aggies eventually won the Southwest Conference championship.

Johnson has an opportunity to earn Texas A&M legend status if he has similar success.

“There’s opportunities in life that come in front of you,” Fisher said on Monday. “You hear people say, ‘I never got a chance.’ You never took advantage of your chances. You weren’t ready for your chances.”

“They may not come when you thought they would come, but they’re going to come. It’s inevitable.”

Inevitable that A&M’s backup quarterback will take over?

Alas, it certainly seems that way.

Discussion from...

Texas A&M's history of QB injuries gives Johnson his 'inevitable' chance

9,013 Views | 4 Replies | Last: 5 mo ago by laruejd
TAMU74
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What happened to Conner is most unfortunate but, this is Max Johnson's opportunity to take center stage and perform.
I have all the confidence in the world that he will. He's ready to lead this team to a great season. I'm sure of it. He Just has to stay healthy.
Cotton79
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Excellent article, Olin. Just outstanding! You harken the days of the real sports journalists, the ones who could think and decipher and... well... tell good stories. The Blackie Sherrods, the Dan Cooks, et al. As Dan Cook would say, "he had to take it the ol Word Factory."

You, sir, have a well-run, well-oiled machine in your Word Factory.

Indeed, we have a puncher's chance - MORE THAN a puncher's chance - with Max at the helm. He's confident, he's capable, he's experienced (in the SEC, which is HUGE!), so hell ya!

Gig'em, Aggies!
Gig'em, Max Johnson!... Bring us to the Glory Land!

And by the way:
Beat the HELL Outta Arkansas!!
ABATTBQ87
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1984 Kevin Murray injury

laruejd
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TAMU74 said:

What happened to Conner is most unfortunate but, this is Max Johnson's opportunity to take center stage and perform.
I have all the confidence in the world that he will. He's ready to lead this team to a great season. I'm sure of it. He Just has to stay healthy.
It all depends on the offensive line. They have to pick up the blitz and the stunts and at least slow those guys down. Too many times I see defenders come thru our line untouched.
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