Whew. What a relief to actually go out and dominate exactly like we were supposed to on paper. Not everyone was doing that in week two, so it’s a nice feeling. Getting right down to it:
0. Zero. Points allowed. Yes, we must account for the opponent. But the fact remains that this was our second shutout in the past five games (going back to Vandy last year), and the first at Kyle Field since 2004. It was sort of a cupcake weekend in the SEC, and do you know how many other teams in the conference got shutouts? Zero as well. Not even against FCS teams. Georgia nearly lost to Nicholls State. Ole Miss beat Wofford 38-13. LSU beat Jacksonville State 34-13. In fact, the only other team in the top 25 to record a shutout yesterday was Houston over Lamar. So I’m going to enjoy that blanking instead of fretting about who it came against. Up to you, though.
One. Turnover differential. As in negative. We had two turnovers and only forced one. That’s one of the few black marks from the game. Knight had a bad throw down in the red zone and we can’t afford stuff like that against Auburn next week.
Two: special teams big plays. Justin Evans blocked a field goal and Nick Harvey returned a punt 73 yards for a touchdown. It’s nice to know that we’ve got two guys capable of taking a punt to the house at any time. And Justin Evans’ bionic knee continues to be an all-around asset.
Three: quarterbacks played. McQueen got some game action and led a TD drive at the end. Hubenak got some much-needed snaps before that. Great to see the benches emptied so those guys can get game experience.
Four: penalties. This was a pretty clean game for the Ags. They only netted 35 yards on the four penalties.
Five: Let’s talk about Shaan Washington. He was all over the field in the first half. He had FIVE pass breakups, and chipped in five tackles, a QB hurry, and a forced fumble. We’ve been needing one of the linebackers to step up and shine, and Washington did that brilliantly: batting balls down at the line, getting to the QB, and hanging back in coverage. Great game.
Six: number of players with a TFL. Chavis was calling an aggressive game and was really committed to stopping the run. It worked. Hopefully it works next week too.
7.3: average yards per carry for the Ags. The offensive line continues to be a pleasant surprise.
13: players with a reception. Love seeing the distribution spread out like this.
25: players who recorded a tackle. Defensive depth is finally an asset. Having a steady rotation of experienced players is going to be a huge asset when we get into the meat of SEC play.
32: the defense gave up 32 yards rushing. PVAMU averaged 1.1 yards per carry.
106: receiving yards for Kirk. We didn’t see a whole lot of him against UCLA, but he showed off his repertoire Saturday: taking a short pass and making moves down the sideline for his first TD, then getting behind the defense for the long bomb in the third quarter. And that pass was the one we’d all been waiting for Knight to make for the first game and a half of this year. It was a relief to finally see it.
205: yards allowed.
672: yards gained. That’s exactly how it was supposed to be.
It’s true that this game should be taken with a grain of salt. At the same time, we haven’t always performed this well against FCS schools in the past, and some of our division rivals struggled with similar opponents yesterday. It’s probably okay to be a little bit encouraged by the completeness of the performance. We’ll find out what we’re made of next Saturday night in Jordan-Hare. But right now it’s OK to feel pretty good.