Game Recap: Texas A&M Football Falls at Tennessee

Two F-15 jets from the 4th Fighter Wing at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in North Carolina flyover before a football game between Tennessee and Texas A&M at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tenn., on Saturday, Oct. 14, 2023.
Two F-15 jets from the 4th Fighter Wing at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in North Carolina flyover before a football game between Tennessee and Texas A&M at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tenn., on Saturday, Oct. 14, 2023. /
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Second Half Recap of Texas A&M Football vs. Tennessee

Texas A&M football got the ball to start off the second half on offense. A 7-yard run on first down by Moss was a nice start to the drive, but an illegal block below the waist scooted the Aggies right on back into 2nd and 18. Tennessee blitzed and the Aggie OL picked it up, but Max’s pass to Evan Stewart was knocked down incomplete. A handoff on 3rd and 18 was all the Aggies tried backed up in their own end zone, and Texas A&M football trotted out the punting unit. A short punt and illegal formation penalty by the Ags set up Tennessee in Aggie territory for the beginning of their drive.

CBS had reported in the middle of the Aggie possession that Edgerrin Cooper was still being evaluated, so the defense for Texas A&M football would start things off without their star linebacker out on the field. They started off with a quick throw on a hitch route that gained a first down, but a handoff off of the hurry-up only gained two. Milton threw a crosser behind a wide-open receiver on 2nd down, setting up 3rd and long. Another third down handoff went for only two yards, and a hurried attempt on fourth and seven was blown up in the backfield by Fadil Diggs, sacking Milton to take over on downs.

Another blown play (low snap) on first down ended in an incomplete pass by Max. Moss got around the edge for about an 8-yard gain on second down to set up third and short, but that had been a weakness for the Aggies so far. A perfect play call against the blitz was wasted, though, as Moss accelerated past the defense and went too far for the ensuing pass. A short punt by Constantinou would set up the Vols at their own 33.

A short handoff went for about 1 yard on first down, but Milton had time to scan the field on second down and completed a ball for about 14 yards. Another first down run on the ensuing hurry-up play went nowhere, though. Second down saw a dropback for Milton, but true freshman David Hicks brought the pressure and dropped him for a sack. Pressure again on third down had Milton rolling out and he threw incomplete on the sideline. Tennessee would punt again, this time from about midfield. A beautiful punt set up the Aggies at the 1 yard line, bringing back sore memories of a safety from last week for Texas A&M football fans.

Le’Veon Moss leapt over the line for about a one-yard gain, setting up a 2nd and about 9. The ensuing handoff was dropped just behind the line of scrimmage, setting up a 3rd and 10. A delay of game was called, but it was a bit pointless as they only lost a few inches. Better, as Gary Danielson said, to not rush the snap. Max got the pass off successfully, but a punt from the back of the end zone was again short. Tennessee picked it up at the 39 yard line and didn’t have to move through much traffic to get it into the end zone on the return. Tennessee went up 14-10 after the special teams score.

Texas A&M football took over once more at their own 25. A tight end screen worked wonderfully on the first play, and Max Wright picked up about 20 yards. Another bad snap from Foster moved the Aggies back ten yards, though, and they were once again behind the chains. Max was pressured and got the ball out to Rueben Owens, setting up a third down and five. A 50/50 ball down the sideline was complete to Noah Thomas to get the Aggies inside the red zone, and a roughing the passer penalty against Tennessee moved Texas A&M football even further forward. From the 11 yard line, another busted play on 1st down where there was a miscommunication on the handoff set up a tackle for loss. A second down pass to Moose moved Texas A&M football back into 3rd and 6, but the ensuing play was blown up by a great rush. Max got the ball off while parallel to the ground somehow,  it fell incomplete, and Randy Bond kicked a short field goal to make it 14-13 Vols.

Two straight rushes opened the next drive for Tennessee, gaining about 8 yards total. They barely converted on third down, though, setting up a long play action shot that sailed over the head of Milton’s intended receiver. The next play had a bit of confusion presnap, prompting a Tennessee timeout. They ran an uncalled pick play on second down, converting on a ten-yard pass. A short run preceded another deep shot by Milton that fell incomplete after some hand fighting on both sides, bringing up 3rd and 6. A&M broke up a pass on the ensuing slant, but it careened into the hands of another Vol receiver, with Tennessee converting once again. Jaylen Wright took a handoff for a decent gain, but a holding call moved Big Orange back. A short run took the game to the fourth quarter.