Texas A&M football jumped out to a 44-10 lead over the UCLA Bruins at the Rose Bowl. They lost 45-44 in what is a microcosm of the Kevin Sumlin era.
You’re going to see a lot of things on social media. You’re going to read a lot of analysis of this game. But as I sit here, an Aggie riddled with confusion and dismay, I can’t help but think that this loss perfectly encapsulated the Kevin Sumlin era at Texas A&M.
Since the departure of Johnny Manziel the Aggies have faded away as the season wore on. Sumlin has always had an excuse. And I’ll be honest, a lot of those excuses were believable.
In 2014 it was the talent void vacated by the Manziel magic and lots of bad luck combined disappearance of Kliff Kingsbury. In 2015 there was the three Kyler Murray and Kyle Allen fiasco. Last year the Aggies were going strong until quarterback Trevor Knight went down with an injury and the season went sour. Bad luck, quarterback issues and injuries.
On Sep. 3 at the Rose Bowl everything came together to create the perfect disaster. Starter Nick Starkel left the game with an injury (injury – check). That forced true freshman Kellen Mond into the game (quarterback issues – check). Corner Deshawn Capers-Smith let a ball literally go right through his hands. It was caught for a touchdown (bad luck – check).
You can point fingers at a lot of people. The offensive line sputtered. Kellen Mond seemed skittish. The secondary whiffed, a lot. And Kevin Sumlin stood by and watched it happen.
No matter who is at fault. This choke job is going to live on in Texas A&M football history. Like the 2011 Justin Tucker field goal, it very well might serve as a marker in the tangled history that is the Aggie football story. Right now, it just sucks.