Texas A&M football were looking to avoid falling into their late-season struggles against Mississippi State, but nothing went right in the 15-point loss.
It’s hard for Aggie fans not to have feelings of déjà vu this morning. The Texas A&M football team needed to exercise the demons of seasons past with a win at Mississippi State, but they went into Starkville and left with defeating feelings of their dim playoff hopes being completely crushed and having more pressure to avoid the November slide.
The late-season issues always seem to get started with the Mississippi State game in years past. Now that the team has kicked off the post-bye schedule with yet another loss, the Aggies can prove things have changed with a good performance against Auburn on the road this coming weekend.
If they lose, it will feel like the sky is falling. Win and the Ags will be back on track for a solid bowl game.
It was much of the same for the Aggies in Starkville. In each of the past three meetings, MSU has been able to exploit an Aggie weakness on defense and the A&M offense couldn’t find their way against the Bulldogs defense. In previous years it was the run game that gashed the Aggies. This time around, new MSU head coach Joe Moorhead went after the Aggies No. 84-ranked pass defense early and often and it paid off.
Texas A&M will definitely look at this game feeling like they could have won. They allowed a 25-yard touchdown on a 3rd-and-12 and a 38-yard touchdown on 3rd-and-11, and set up another short touchdown with an 84-yard pass to the one yard line on a 3rd-and-21.
There is zero excuse for giving up first downs on those plays, let alone touchdowns. These three drives should have yielded six points at best. The defense came into the game as the best team in the nation at getting off the field on third down and allowed Mississippi State to go 7-for-12 on the day.
The third down issue isn’t the only takeaway from the embarrassing loss. Here are four that could impact the rest of the 2018 season.