Reacting to Texas A&M Football Getting Back on Track against Carolina
It didn’t feel like it, but that was the most points that Texas A&M football has scored on offense with Max Johnson starting. They put up 34 against Arkansas, but 14 of those were non-offensive touchdowns. At the same time, the team still has yet to score a second-half offensive touchdown with Max under center. After the first three drives, Texas A&M football moved the ball up and down the field between the 20s, but all their red zone success came in the first half. Now, the reason that was the case was a bit of bad luck—that pass to Max Wright should have been a touchdown, as should have been the ensuing pass to Noah Thomas—but it’s still something that needs to change quickly if the Aggies hope to get things turned around down the stretch.
On that front, though, I thought the offense was leaning on a game plan that was better suited to Max Johnson’s strengths; heavier emphasis on the quick game and play action downfield rather than straight-up drop backs. The rushing attack, however, was really dreadful compared to how it needed to be in this one: it got to a point in the second half where the Gamecocks just looked to be run blitzing on first no matter what the Ags telegraphed. Of course, it never burned them, because no matter what Texas A&M football showed, they pretty much did run it every first down. It’s possible this was just part of the game plan against a front that you should have been able to dominate, but Texas A&M football failed to capitalize against the aggression of that Gamecock front. This is not an opinion based on data, but it does feel to me at times that Jimbo is more loathe to move away from a game plan that’s not working when he feels like the favorite in a game. It didn’t end up biting the Ags, but it can be frustrating to watch.
The defense for Texas A&M football was stifling for much of the day. The Gamecocks got things moving from time to time, but for the most part, the Ags kept them contained. Carolina gained 209 total yards today (3.43 YPP), by far their lowest of the year. A&M only forced one turnover, and it essentially came in garbage time, but that didn’t much matter: Texas A&M football was just whipping the Gamecocks up front down in and down out. And how about Ainias Smith? All that guy does is make plays, and he’s not afraid to remind Texas A&M football fans of that every time he touches the ball.
All in all, I didn’t think a win here would change a lot of hearts and minds surrounding the Aggies—the jury is out until next week against Ole Miss. It’s always good to get back in the win column, though, so let’s celebrate that much.