CFN Take: Texas A&M Stalls In LSU Loss

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Nov 27, 2014


Texas A&M Aggies 2014 ... Head Coach: Kevin Sumlin


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2014 Texas A&M Aggies
2014 Schedule
Record: 7-5

Aug. 28 at S. Carolina W 52-28
Sep. 6 Lamar W 74-3
Sep. 13 Rice W 38-10
Sep. 20 at SMU W 58-6
Sep. 27 at Ark (Arl.) W 35-28 OT
Oct. 4 at Miss State L 48-31
Oct. 11 Ole Miss L 35-20
Oct. 18 at Alabama L 59-0
Oct. 25 OPEN DATE
Nov. 1 ULM W 21-16
Nov. 8 at Auburn W 41-38
Nov. 15 Missouri L 34-27
Nov. 22 OPEN DATE
Nov. 27 LSU L 23-17

Nov. 27 LSU 23, at Texas A&M 17
And You Care Because … Leonard Fournette came up with a big game, along with a 22-yard touchdown run, but LSU had to hold on late with a Jalen Collins interception snuffing out a final Texas A&M drive. The Aggies started out the scoring with a 41-yard Trey Williams run, but LSU came back with 20 straight points with Fournette’s run, a ten-yard John Diarse touchdown catch and two Trent Dominigue field goals. The Aggies fought back, pulling within three in the final seven minutes with a 27-yard Speedy Noil catch, but LSU was able to answer back with a key 43-yard Colby Delahoussaye field goal forcing A&M to go for a late touchdown.
What Else? LSU RB Leonard Fournette ran 19 times for 146 yards and a score, and QB Anthony Jennings completed 12-of-21 passes for 107 yards and a score with a pick, and ran 14 times for 119 yards
- Time of possession: LSU 41:13 – Texas A&M 18:47
- Texas A&M QB Kyle Allen completed 17-of-27 passes for 144 yards and a score with a pick
- Total yards: LSU 491 – Texas A&M 228
Game Rating: B

Nov. 15 Missouri 34, at Texas A&M 27
And You Care Because … Russell Hansbrough ran for two touchdowns scoring on dashes from 49 and 45 yards out in the third quarter, and Ish Witter added a 16-yard scoring dash as Missouri took a 34-20 lead into the fourth. Kyle Allen threw three touchdown passes for Texas A&M, finding Josh Reynolds for scores from 24 and 56 yards out, and he brought the Aggies within seven in the fourth on a four-yard pass to Malcome Kennedy, but the Tiger defense was able to hang on.
What Else? Missouri RB Russell Hansbrough ran 20 times for 199 yards and two scores
- Texas A&M QB Kyle Allen completed 24-of-35 passes for 237 yards and three touchdowns with an interception
- Missouri QB Maty Mauk completed 23-of-40 passes for 252 yards and a touchdown with an interception
- Time of possession: Missouri 37:30 – Texas A&M 22:30
Game Rating: B

Nov. 8 Texas A&M 41, at Auburn 38
And You Care Because … Auburn was going in for an apparent game-leading late touchdown, but lost a fumble on an exchange. With one last shot and driving deep into Texas A&M territory, it lost the ball on a center snap and the Aggies survived. A&M’s offense exploded early on with 14 first quarter points on a 60-yard touchdown pass to Malcome Kennedy and a 36-yard pass play to Josh Reynolds. Auburn answered with two touchdown runs form Cameron Artis-Payne, but Kyle Allen was at it again with two more touchdown passes including a seven-yarder to Reynolds. A blocked field goal for a touchdown at the end of the first half gave the Aggies a 35-17 lead, but Auburn stormed back in the second half with Nick Marshall running for two touchdowns and hitting Quan Bray for a 31-yard score, but Texas A&M got field goals – and two very big fumble recoveries – to stay ahead.
What Else? Texas A&M QB Kyle Allen completed 19-of-29 passes for 277 yards and four scores with an interception
- Auburn RB Cameron Artis-Payne ran 30 times for 221 yards and two scores
- Total yards: Auburn 582 – Texas A&M 453
- Auburn QB Nick Marshall completed 15-of-21 passes for 219 yards and a score and ran 18 times for 67 yards and two touchdowns
Game Rating: A

Nov. 1 at Texas A&M 21, ULM 16
And You Care Because … After a controversial day, suspending Kenny Hill for two games, Texas A&M struggled to put away ULM, getting up 21-7 in the first half and failing to score the rest of the way. Kyle Allen struggled mightily, but he threw a 39-yard touchdown pass to Speedy Noil, and Brandon Williams and Tra Carson each ran for short scores, but ULM scored nine unanswered points on three Justin Manton field goals from 51, 23, and 22 yards out. But the A&M defense was able to bend, but not break late to overcome the offensive struggles.
What Else? Texas A&M QB Kyle Allen completed 13-of-28 passes for 106 yards and a touchdown with an interception
- ULM QB Pete Thomas completed 26-of-47 passes for 246 yards and an interception, and ran 19 times for 44 yards
- Total yards: ULM 347 – Texas A&M 243
- Texas A&M RB Brandon Williams ran 19 times for 71 yards and a score
Game Rating: C+

Oct. 18 at Alabama 59, Texas A&M 0
And You Care Because … In an utterly dominant performance, Alabama held Texas A&M to just 172 yards of total offense and exploded offensively with 45 first half points. Blake Sims threw three touchdown passes and ran for a 43-yard score, and Amari Cooper caught scoring passes from 45 and 24 yards out. T.J. Yeldon added two rushing touchdowns.
What Else? Alabama QB Blake Sims completed 16-of-27 passes for 268 yards and three touchdowns and ran four times for 54 yards and a score
- Texas A&M QB Kenny Hill completed 17-of-26 passes for 138 yards and an interception
- Alabama WR Amari Cooper caught eight passes for 140 yards and two touchdowns
- Rushing yards: Alabama 298 and 4 touchdowns – Texas A&M 31
Game Rating: D

Oct. 11 Ole Miss 35, at Texas A&M 20
And You Care Because … In front of a record-setting crowd of over 107,000, Ole Miss dominated from the start with a 21-0 first half lead on two touchdown runs from Bo Wallace and a 75-yard interception return for a touchdown from Cody Prewitt. Texas A&M started to come back with a three-yard scoring run from Trey Williams, but Ole Miss answered with Quincy Adeboyejo catching a 33-yard touchdown pass on a perfect throw from Wallace. The Rebel defense was at it again, with Keith Lewis taking a fumble 21 yards for a touchdown for a 35-7 early fourth quarter lead, and it was over. Kenny Hill threw two late touchdown passes for the Aggies.
What Else? Ole Miss QB Bo Wallace completed 13-of-19 passes for 178 yards and a score, and ran 14 times for a team-leading 50 yards and two touchdowns
- Texas A&M QB Kenny Hill completed 42-of-53 passes for 401 yards and two touchdowns with two interceptions
- Texas A&M WR Speedy Noil caught 11 passes for 105 yards
- Turnovers: Texas A&M 3 – Ole Miss 0
Game Rating: C+

Oct. 4 at Mississippi State 48, Texas A&M 31
And You Care Because … Mississippi State gave up a touchdown from Kenny Hill to Josh Reynolds on the opening drive of the game, and then it was all cowbell with 28 straight points on the way to a stunning rout. Dak Prescott ran for three touchdowns and threw for two more, and Josh Robinson ran for two short scores as the Bulldog offense carved its way through the Aggie defense for 559 yards. A&M got three touchdown passes from Kenny Hill with two to Speedy Noil from 23 and six yards out, but the Aggie quarterback was plagued by dropped passes all game long and threw three picks. Prescott put the game away in the second half with two short scoring runs, and just when it seemed like it might turn into a battle after Noil’s first scoring catch, Fred Brown took a pass 51 yards for a Bulldog score.
What Else? Mississippi State QB Dak Prescott completed 19-of-25 passes for 259 yards and two scores, and ran 23 times for 77 yards and three touchdowns
- Texas A&M QB Kenny Hill completed 37-of-62 passes for 365 yards and four touchdowns with three picks, and ran 12 times for 35 yards
- Mississippi State RB Josh Robinson ran 17 times for 107 yards and two scores
- Yards per pass: Mississippi State 10.9 – Texas A&M 5.9
Game Rating: B

Sept. 27 Texas A&M 35, Arkansas 28 OT
And You Care Because … Texas A&M rallied from down ten in the fourth quarter as Kenny Hill found a wide open Edward Pope for an 86-yard touchdown and tied it up with a 59-yard scoring pass to Josh Reynolds to force overtime. It took one play for Hill to find Malcome Kennedy from 25 yards out on A&M’s possession, and then the defense came through, stopping the Hogs on a fourth down play for the win. Arkansas got up on several big plays, with Alex Collins running for a 50-yard score and AJ Derby catching a 44-yard touchdown pass, but it was punter Sam Irwin-Hill’s weaving score off a fake punt from 51 yards out that gave the team the momentum. But the O couldn’t close out and Hill went to work as A&M scored 21 unanswered points.
What Else? Texas A&M QB Kenny Hill completed 21-of-41 passes for 386 yards and four scores with a pick
- Arkansas RB Alex Collins ran 21 times for 131 yards and a touchdown, and Jonathan Williams added 95 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries
- Total yards: Texas A&M 523 – Arkansas 484
- Time of possession: Arkansas 37:00 – Texas A&M 23:00
Game Rating: A

Sept. 20 Texas A&M 58, at SMU 6
And You Care Because … For the first time since 2006, Texas A&M is 4-0, courtesy of a blowout of SMU in Dallas. QB Kenny Hill once again ignited the Aggie offense, accounting for 322 total yards and two touchdown passes in just the first half alone. The Mustangs, playing their first game without head coach June Jones, could muster a pair of field goals Cody Rademacher in the second and fourth quarters.
What Else? The Aggies got some valuable reps for backup QB Kyle Allen, who responded by going 8-of-15 for 130 yards, a touchdown and no interceptions. Early routs are going to benefit A&M in the event that Hill ever misses any time.
- The Mustangs are also beginning life without starting QB Neal Burcham, who’s out for the season. Garrett Krstich and Kolney Cassel were harassed all day, while completing only 14-of-29 throws.
- The Aggie D continue to mature, posting eight sacks in the blowout. Sophomore LB Shaan Washington had two sacks, while five other players made stops behind the line of scrimmage.
- Krstich showed decent mobility in and out of the pocket, which are going to be mandatory when lining up behind the SMU blockers. Sacks removed, he rushed for 52 yards.
Game Rating: C

Sept. 13 at Texas A&M 38, Rice 10
And You Care Because … It wasn’t an explosion, but Texas A&M went through the motions and won easily. Kenny Hill threw four touchdown passes with Josh Reynolds catching two of them from 48 and 20 yards out, and Tra Carson added a one-yard score. Rice stayed in the game in the first half on a 35-yard Mario Hull touchdown catch, but the Aggie D allowed just a field goal over the final 42 minutes.
What Else? Texas A&M QB Kenny Hill completed 20-of-31 passes for 300 yards and four scores, and he ran five times for 38 yards.
- Rice held on to the ball for 43:14, Texas A&M 16:46
- Rice QB Driphus Jackson completed 21-of-32 passes for 212 yards and a scores and ran 13 times for 84 yards.
- Rice ran for 240 yards and threw for 240.
Game Rating: D+

Sept. 6 at Texas A&M 73, Lamar 3
And You Care Because … Texas A&M kept the fun rolling from the South Carolina blowout with Kenny Hill throwing four touchdown passes to four different receivers, and Trey Williams running for a 33-yard touchdown. James White added two second half scoring runs and Kyle Allen threw two touchdown passes in the laugher. Hill completed 17-of-26 passes for 283 yards and four scores, but the offense turned it over three times. A&M came up with 630 yards and held Lamar to 243 with just a 20-yard Josh Davis field goal in the third.
Game Rating: D

Texas A&M 52, South Carolina 28, Aug. 28
And You Care Because … Texas A&M came out roaring, scoring on its opening drive and not stopping the rest of the way cranking up 680 yards of total offense – the most ever allowed by a South Carolina team – with Kenny Hill picking apart the Gamecock D for 511 yards. The Gamecocks came up with two big pass plays with a 69-yard touchdown pass to Nick Hill and a 46-yarder to Damiere Byrd to pull within 17-14 early in the second quarter, but the Aggies were unstoppable rolling up 21 straight points to pull away.
What Else? Texas A&M QB Kenny Hill completed 44-of-60 passes for 511 yards and three scores, and ran seven times for five yards. He was cool, calm and flawless, and while he wasn’t Johnny Manziel in terms of flash, he was brutally effective.
- South Carolina QB Dylan Thompson had one of the quietest 20-of-40, 366-yard, four score, one pick day you’ll ever see. With RB Mike Davis not quite right, and only running for 15 yards on six carries, the passing game had to keep up, but couldn’t.
- Hill’s favorite target? Malcome Kennedy, who caught 14 passes for 137 yards, but he spread the ball around without a problem. He had more than his share of options being given plenty of time. South Carolina generated just one sack and almost no pressure.
- South Carolina simply couldn’t come up with a stop to get the defense off the field. A&M ran a whopping 99 plays and had the ball for 37:38.
Game Rating: B-

(AP) COLUMBIA, S.C. -- Kenny Hill broke Johnny Manziel's single-game passing record with 511 yards and No. 21 Texas A&M beat No. 9 South Carolina 52-28 on Thursday night, ending the Gamecocks' 18-game home win streak.

Hill's performance in his first career start proved there is plenty of life in the Aggies' offense without Manziel, a Heisman Trophy winner and first-round selection in the NFL draft. Hill finished 44 of 60 with three touchdowns.

Hill was steady and confident in the pocket, leading Texas A&M (1-0, 1-0 Southeastern Conference) to a 31-14 halftime lead and finishing up with the most passing yards allowed in Steve Spurrier's 10 seasons with the Gamecocks (0-1, 0-1).

"I think we all had a chip on our shoulders," Texas A&M defensive lineman Julien Obioha said. The Gamecocks played their first game since the departure of star defensive end Jadeveon Clowney -- and it showed. South Carolina gave up seven TDs on A&Ms first 11 possessions.

Tra Carson ran for three touchdowns and receiver Malcome Kennedy had 14 catches for 137 yards. The Aggies piled up 680 yards of offense, the most South Carolina's given up since Arkansas went for 650 in 2007.

Manziel held five of the Aggies' six best passing marks, topped by his 464 yards in a loss to Alabama last season. Hill moved past them all with his flawless showing on the road.

Hill's 44 completions were also a single-game school record, moving past Jerrod Johnson's mark against Oklahoma State in 2010.

Hill and the Aggies essentially put this one away in the first half, scoring on five of six possessions. Hill, who played just four games last year in mop-up duty, looked at ease against the Gamecocks and their young defense.

Hill completed passes to 12 receivers, most of them running free in a rebuilt secondary.

"That team is so much better than us, it wasn't funny," Gamecocks coach Steve Spurrier said.

South Carolina, coming off three straight 11-2 seasons, had hoped to kick off a run to the conference title in a Thursday night showcase game on the startup SEC Network.

Manziel, taken 22nd overall by Cleveland, was among three Texas A&M players picked in the first round last May. And the Aggies showed they could still operate without last year's standouts.

Malcome Kennedy had 10 catches for 85 yards in the first two quarters, allowing Aggie fans to rest easier about star Mike Evans moving on to Tampa Bay.

The offensive line provided plenty of time for Hill despite Jake Matthews heading to the NFL's Atlanta Falcons.

The Aggies got going on their first possession, and Carson finished a 67-yard drive with 1-yard TD.

South Carolina stayed close on two long scoring throws of 69 and 46 yards by new starting quarterback Dylan Thompson, the second to Damiere Byrd that helped the Gamecocks close to 17-14. But Hill and the Aggies were relentless, pressing forward through South Carolina's Clowney-less defense.

Hill, the sophomore son of ex-major league pitcher Ken Hill, led TD drives of 75 and 80 yards in the final nine minutes before the half.

The 393 yards of A&M offense at the half were more than South Carolina's defense had allowed in nine of 13 games a year ago.

Thompson passed for 366 yards and four touchdowns. Mike Davis, the Gamecocks' 1,000-yard rusher, had 15 yards in the first half before re-injuring his ribs and sitting out the rest of the way.

2014 Texas A&M Preview 

So the fun is over, right?

The Johnny Manziel topszn variety show took its act to Cleveland, and now Texas A&M has to keep the program rolling. However, there’s a part to this that no one wants to really acknowledge.

The Aggies might be better without Mr. Football.

It was easy to rely on Manziel’s magic and all that he was able to do to take the program on his back and make it a player in the SEC right away. But what happened when No. 2 slowed down late in the season – the offense started to fizzle.

One of the big knocks on Manziel as a pro prospect is his likely inability to become a pure NFL pocket passer. His game was based on improvisation, movement and escapability. Once he got dinged up late in the season, the offense struggled against LSU and didn’t get moving against Missouri. Now the Aggies have to balance things out a little more and can’t just rely on its Heisman superstar. Now the team might be more complete, and now it might actually win something.

Manziel didn’t win a national title. He didn’t lead the Aggies to the SEC title, an SEC West championship, or a berth into the BCS. Last year, he helped take the team to a nine-win season and a bowl victory, just like Ryan Tannehill did in 2011.

Texas A&M football is more than just Manziel – head coach Kevin Sumlin is making it that way with great recruiting class after great recruiting class.

The Aggies finished seventh in the Scout.com 2014 recruiting rankings getting the nation’s No. 1 quarterback (Allen), the No. 1 receiver (Devante Notl) and the No. 1 defensive end (Myles Garrett). A&M had the No. 6 class in 2013, and while it’s early, it has 2015’s fourth-ranked class.

This isn’t just a flash. This isn’t going to be a gimmick. Manziel’s departure doesn’t end anything.

Manziel had to be brilliant and had to keep bombing away because the defense couldn’t stop anyone last season. The O put up 42 on Alabama and 41 on Auburn and still lost those two games. This time around, defensive coordinator Mark Snyder has more experience and more talent to work with – A&M won’t have the nation’s 109th-ranked defense again.

Meanwhile, the cupboard isn’t bare on offense without Manziel, Jake Matthews and Mike Evans. There’s talent to fit the system, and offensive coordinator Jake Spavital proved last season that there’s life after Kliff Kingsbury. The offense only averaged 20 fewer yards per game last year than it did in 2012, and while it’ll probably take a wee bit of a step back without Manziel, the backs will get more involved behind a terrific offensive line.

Life goes on in college football. Legends are always replaced, and if the program is solid, the train keeps on rolling.

Texas A&M is now one of those programs.

What to watch for on offense: The running backs. Ben Malena might have been the No. 1 running back, and Manziel might have been the leading rusher and most dangerous option in the open field, but the Aggies are absolutely loaded with runners. It’ll be an easy narrative to focus on the new starting quarterback and life without the Manziel-to-Evans hookup, but most teams would kill for the stable of backs the Aggies will trot out, and the NFL will be more than happy to soon employ several of the A&M blockers.

Junior Brandon Williams is a big-time talent who averaged 6.1 yards per carry last season when he got the chance. Junior Tra Carson is a big back who thumped for seven touchdowns and 5.3 yards per carry, and junior Trey Williams can move, averaging seven yards a pop with six touchdowns. These backs, behind Cedric Ogbuehi and a line that’s more than fine after losing its second straight starting left tackle to the early first round of the NFL Draft, will produce a big-time ground attack.

What to watch for on defense: Can the secondary go back to its 2012 level? Under D coordinator Mark Snyder, the pass rush hasn’t been as dangerous as it was back in the Big 12 days, but two years ago the secondary wasn’t torched as often. Last year, things changed around with the pass defense getting lit up on a regular basis giving up 200 yards or more against everyone but Sam Houston State, UTEP and LSU, who ran the ball at will. Everyone else got to have loads of fun through the air, partly because the pass rush stunk.

Four starters are back in the secondary, but they have to start limiting the home runs and they have to make more big plays on their own. The Aggies only allowed 26 more passing yards last year than they did in 2012, but they gave up 14 more touchdown passes and almost a yard more per attempt. Why? The defense generated ten fewer sacks than it did in 2012 and 30 fewer than it did in 2011.

The team will be far better if… the defense can get off the field. The offense might have been high-powered and it might have been able to come up with big plays without a problem, but the defense didn’t hold up its end of the bargain giving up first downs like it was trying to. The run defense was way too soft, allowing too many easy and manageable second and third down opportunities allowing the chains to move too often. The Aggies gave up a whopping 304 first downs on the year after allowing just 273 in 2012. UTEP, Vanderbilt and Sam Houston State were the only three teams that didn’t come up with 20 first downs.

The Schedule: The Aggies didn't get the memo that SEC teams are supposed to play someone decent outside of the SEC, facing Lamar, Rice, at SMU and ULM. However, they can be forgiven for a breather or four after starting out the season at South Carolina and with road games at Mississippi State and Alabama are part of an eight-week sprint to start things up.

There's time off to rest up in November, getting a week off before facing ULM and then diving into the 2013 SEC championship going to Auburn one week and facing Missouri the next. Fortunately, there's another week off before dealing with LSU. Beating the Tigers could be a must-win considering the conference road trips to deal with the Gamecocks, Crimson Tide and Auburn Tigers.

Best offensive player: Senior OT Cedric Ogbuehi. Probably a first round pick had he come out early, he spent last year as a right tackle and was fantastic. Now he’ll follow in the footsteps of Luke Joeckel and Jake Matthews and could become a top ten overall pick if he turns in a terrific year at left tackle. A mauler with great feet, he can do it all, and now he’ll be the anchor and star for a good line that should be among the best in the SEC.

Best defensive player: Senior S Howard Matthews. The stars and top players are all on the offensive side, but the defense is deep and should produce a few stars as the year goes on. Matthews is the leading returning tackler and tied for the team lead with three picks to go along with six broken up passes, but the defense needs him to do less against the run and give up fewer big plays. If the front seven can do its job, Matthews should be able to roam free to be more of a big hitter and playmaker.

Key players to a successful season: Freshman QB Kyle Allen and/or sophomore QB Kenny Hill. Okay, so the offense really will miss Johnny Manziel at times, and yeah, it might take a little while before everything hums along. The new starting quarterback doesn’t have to be Manziel or Ryan Tannehill right away, but he’ll have to keep the mistakes to a minimum, relax a bit behind a line that’ll give him plenty of time, and utilize all the weapons around him and let them make all the plays. The bar was set impossibly high by Manziel, and the expectations will be through the roof considering the talent waiting to take over, but the results should be fine – it might just take a little time.

The season will be a success if ... the Aggies win nine games again. The offense might be a little worse, but the defense should be far better, and the overall result needs to hit the nine-win mark with or without a bowl victory. The big key will be to not lose any ground to the Mississippi States and Ole Misses of the West, and there can’t be a mistake against Arkansas in Arlington. If A&M can be one of the three best teams in the division, and if it can come up with one win among the road games at South Carolina, Auburn and Alabama, and if it can do no worse than split between Missouri and LSU – yeah, that’s a lot of ifs – it’ll be a great year.

Key game: Nov. 27 vs. LSU. No SEC team could handle road games against South Carolina, Alabama and Auburn and come out unscathed – they might be the three best teams in the conference. Anything the Aggies can do in those three games will be gravy. The showdown against LSU will likely be the key to the team’s West pecking order, and to come up with the win, the run defense has to show up. Auburn ran through the Aggies for 379 yards last season, and LSU cranked out the second-biggest day on the ground with 324 yards in the 34-10 blowout win. In 2012, A&M didn’t allow 200 rushing yards to anyone but LSU, who came up with 219 yards in a 24-19 win.

2013 Fun Stats:
- Third Quarter Scoring: Texas A&M 160 – Opponents 88
- Time of Possession: Opponents 33:15 – Texas A&M 26:45
- Third Down Conversions: Texas A&M 81-of-161 (50%) – Opponents 75-of-183 (41%)

- 2014 Texas A&M Preview - What You Need To Know & Top Players


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