In a matchup between two of the most prolific offenses in the SEC, many predicted a shootout to take place in Saturday’s conference showdown. Instead, Texas A&M got outmatched physically on both sides of the ball in a bruising 23-3 loss to Ole Miss.
These are the grades the Aggies deserve based on their performance against the Rebels.
Texas A&M couldn’t get anything going on offense against an Ole Miss defense that allowed 37 points against Memphis and was without star defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche. The only three points that the Aggies could generate throughout the entire game came following an interception from defensive end Myles Garrett that had the Aggies start their drive on the Ole Miss 33-yard line.
Quarterback Kyle Allen looked worse as the game went on. After starting the game 10-of-12 passing, the wheels completely fell off. He went on to complete just two of his final 22 passes for negative yards before getting benched by Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin in the fourth quarter.
Defense was Texas A&M’s silver lining in this discouraging conference loss. The unit kept the Aggies in it for most of the game and forced Ole Miss quarterback Chad Kelly into throwing three interceptions.
Defensive back Armani Watts played the best game of his Aggies career to date, finishing the game with 20 total tackles, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and an interception.
Give the Aggies’ defense props for not letting up despite how discouraging things may have looked on the offensive side of the ball. Two things that kept the Aggies from getting an A: 1) Giving up a 58-yard pass from Kelly to wide receiver Laquon Treadwell in the third quarter 2) Allowing Rebels running back Jaylen Walton to rush for 97 rushing yards in the game.
SPECIAL TEAMS: B-
Texas A&M punter Drew Kaser might have been most deserving of the game ball for the Aggies. Kaser seemed to be out on the field for nearly every drive on offense, punting ten times for an average of nearly 48 yards. His longest punt of the game went for 64 yards.
Aggies wide receiver Christian Kirk didn’t pose any threat to Ole Miss in the return game. The playmaking freshman only returned one punt for negative four yards.
Sumlin knows the Aggies played some sub-par football on Saturday. The Aggies were flagged 13 times on penalties for 100 total yards and committed three turnovers.
Sumlin also made a questionable decision to keep talented backup quarterback Kyler Murray on the bench when he replaced Allen.
Back-to-back losses to Alabama and Ole Miss have crippled Texas A&M’s chances of staying in the SEC West division title race. And after two straight weeks of poor performances from Allen, Aggies fans should expect some sort of quarterback controversy in the coming days leading up to the Week 9 matchup against South Carolina.
But if there’s one thing Texas A&M fans can feel better about moving forward, it’s that the offseason hiring of defensive coordinator John Chavis has worked wonders for the Aggies defense.