Texas A&M Football Plagues Dart
Though it felt much of the time that Ole Miss could do whatever they wanted on offense against the Aggies last year, QB Jaxson Dart didn’t actually have a huge day throwing the ball. Granted, he didn’t need to, as they picked up nearly 400 yards on the ground, but going 13-20 for 140 yards isn’t exactly mind-boggling (though he did add three touchdowns in that total). There weren’t a lot of downfield passes completed in that game, and that was with the Aggies lacking Antonio Johnson that night.
The pass defense in 2022 was one of the best in the country, no matter which way you slice it. The rush defense was the concern—and that’s where Kiffin focused on that evening in College Station. This year, the concern is downfield coverage (though that has looked improved over the past couple of weeks), so I’d expect Kiffin to focus on getting the big play in this one. The problem is that a quarterback needs time in order to let such plays develop, and the Ole Miss offensive line has not exactly shown that it can provide that over a sustained period. Facing off against this defensive front for Texas A&M football, too, they will be confronting a challenge that they have not yet seen the likes of.
I don’t doubt that there will be a lot of play action mixed in to try to slow the pass rush down for the Aggies. Kiffin runs a lot of play fakes no matter what, but those offenses that have run similar things against the Aggies have not done a lot to dilute this furious front. I think Nolen, Diggs, Cooper, and company will do enough to speed up the clock in Dart’s head and mess up the timing on some of these shots that Kiffin will call. That’s not to say that the Rebs won’t connect on any of them—they certainly might. But this is a hidden effect of the pass rush, and one that I think will well serve the Aggies come Saturday.