Opportunistic Defense Pays Huge Dividends for Texas A&M Football
The Aggies came into this game having generated seven turnovers in the previous nine games of the season. They left this game having created four turnovers against the Bulldogs alone. They were due.
These weren’t lucky, bounce-of-the-ball type turnovers, either. They were great plays by the defensive backs, brought on by pressure from the smothering front for the Aggies. They were diving catches, leaping picks, crushing blows. DJ Durkin queued up the perfect blitz look on third down against the Bulldogs early in the second half, with Jared Kerr flying into the backfield unblocked and delivering a perfect hit to Bulldog QB Mike Wright. This sent the ball flying, landing right in the path of Shemar Stewart—and with the athlete he is, there wasn’t anything that could stop him from finding the end zone at that point.
This was truly a joyous defensive performance to witness. It wasn’t the most stifling of the year—that distinction probably goes to Auburn or Arkansas. The Bulldogs were able to move between the 20s at times without a lot of issue. The Ags gave up a few busted fits in the run game, where they have usually been so disciplined this year. They didn’t run up a huge sack or TFL total on the day. Yet still, they held the Bulldogs to only three total points on the offensive side of the ball. That’s something they’ve only done thrice before against a conference opponent under Jimbo: South Carolina in 2020, Auburn in 2021, and Auburn this year (recall that they scored a touchdown on a defensive play). This was opportunistic defense, and it was a long time coming.