Field position jumps up and bites Texas A&M Football
Maybe it was the field position battle that contributed so much to that aforementioned sense of dread that I had throughout the game. For a team in the Aggies that has done so well on that front up until the last two weeks, to be so roundly defeated in this area of the game against both Bama and Tennessee is just demoralizing. Part of this also has to do with the fact that it appears that Nik Constantinou has somewhat regressed, as he hasn’t looked like himself this year.
As it happens, the field position battle ended up as the deciding factor to seal the fate of Texas A&M football in this one. The offense got the ball in the middle of the third quarter with a chance to make something happen. Unable to convert a first down (even after a perfect play call against the blitz on third down), though, they ended up kicking the ball back to the Vols. As I mentioned, Constantinou shanked the kick, giving Big Orange the ball at their own 33. The Vols picked up a first down after a couple of plays, but the Aggie defense stood tall from that point on, forcing a third down incompletion and punt from midfield. A great play by the Tennessee special teams downed the ball right at the 1, backing the Aggies right up to their own end zone.
Three plays pretty much went nowhere, and the Aggies then found themselves punting once more—this time, though, Constantinou stood with his heels against the back of the end zone. Give the protection team credit—a max protect call gave Nik enough time to get the punt off without much trouble. That said, though, the coverage team didn’t get downfield quickly enough, and the Volunteers were able to return their first punt of the day. Of course, the Tennessee returner, after evading a tackle attempt from Sam Mathews, took the punt the distance, scoring the second touchdown of the day for the Volunteers. Though the game would remain close the rest of the way, they would never relinquish that lead.