Texas A&M report card: Back to square one for the Aggies
Texas A&M couldn’t get it done at home against Alabama after losing 41-23 in Kyle Field. The season is far from over for the Aggies, but there’s a lot of work that needs to be done if they hope to remain relevant in the SEC West. The following are the grades the Aggies deserve based on their performance against Alabama.
For the majority of the game, the Aggies seemed to struggle the most in what many thought would be its biggest strength entering the game. Texas A&M’s offense handed Alabama 21 points after three pick-six’s from Texas A&M quarterback Kyle Allen. Allen never seemed to find his groove as he completed half of his 40 pass attempts for 263 yards. Interceptions from Allen (3) and Murray (1) dug the Aggies into an insurmountable hole.
Texas A&M gave up 258 rushing yards to Alabama, 236 of them coming from running back Derrick Henry. Henry dominated in the first quarter by rushing for 153 yards on nine carries. While that is something Aggies defensive coordinator John Chavis will be asked about heading into next week’s game against Ole Miss, Texas A&M showed some improvements on defense in the second half by only giving up two field goals to keep the Aggies in it for most of the game.
SPECIAL TEAMS: B+
Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin said after the game that the special teams played “above average” but I think it deserves a little more credit than that. Wide receiver Christian Kirk returned a 68-yard punt return for a touchdown late in the second quarter to bring the Aggies back to within two scores. Aggies kicker Taylor Bertolet made two out of four field goals of 50-yards or longer to finish the game having made three of five.
Despite throwing two interceptions and looking very inconsistent in the first half, Kevin Sumlin made an interesting decision to keep Allen on the field for the majority of the second half. True freshman backup quarterback Kyler Murray was limited to playing in just two series for the Aggies, only throwing four pass attempts in the game. That decision will leave Texas A&M fans wondering all week how things might have been if Kyle Allen didn’t throw his third pick six in the fourth quarter. While giving up 258 rushing yards on defense is nothing to feel proud of, the Aggies defense should be acknowledged for finding ways to adjust in the second half in order to contain Derrick Henry and keep themselves in the game.
Saturday’s loss was not as bad as last season’s 59-0 road loss in Tuscaloosa but a home loss to Alabama stings for Aggies fans everywhere. Texas A&M showed they’re a different team this year by staying in it for most of the game but mistakes on both offense and defense continued to haunt them.