During Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin‘s time on the weekly SEC Teleconference on Wednesday, one fact stood out: The Aggies ran only 16 plays on offense during the first half in their 28-21 overtime win against Arkansas. In today’s football world, where coaches lament the speeding up of offenses like Sumlin’s, this came as a bit of a surprise.
Of course, Texas A&M went on to run more plays in the second half before ultimately tying the game in the fourth quarter and winning it in overtime, but Sumlin spoke a little about why the Aggies’ offense only mustered 16 plays in the first half.
“We had 16 plays in the first half,” Sumlin said on Wednesday. “The ability to run 30 more plays in the second half made a big difference for us. I think, that being said, you look back at that game and even with having the ball 16 plays we’re still able to be ahead, or be right there in the game. So, the positive at halftime was that surely we’re going to get more plays than that, which we did… We stalled out in the red zone and kicked a couple field goals, which hurt us, but the turnover margin we won two-to-nothing and ultimately that ended up making the difference in the game.”
Sumlin’s offenses at Texas A&M have been largely successful during his time with the team, but has he ever had a game where his team ran so few plays?
“Never,” Sumlin said laughing. “We’re averaging around 80 (plays a game). I’ll put it this way: I’ve never had a game where we’ve had 16 plays in a half. And I hope it doesn’t happen again.”
Despite the lack of offensive plays, Sumlin said his team’s ability to score points and stop Arkansas’ offense was a big motivator for the team at halftime.
“For us to play, and not be on the field, and be able to score 10 points in 16 plays. And them be able to hold the ball, and keep them to under 10 points, that was kind of a red flag for us at halftime that ‘hey I think we’re going to be alright.'”
Sumlin will need his offense to run more than 16 plays in the first half on Saturday when No. 14 Texas A&M plays host to No. 21 Mississippi State at 7:30 p.m. ET.
Sumlin begins: We’re excited to be back home and play in our second game of conference play.
— Michael Bonner (@MikeBBonner) September 30, 2015
#TAMU's Kevin Sumlin on last weekend's game: "Never had a game where I only had 16 plays in a half. And I hope it doesn’t happen again."
— SEC Country (@seccountry) September 30, 2015