Yesterday was the full experience: the complete range of emotions thrown at us right off the bat. The roller coaster of elation and self-doubt and ultimate vindication. It’s a lot to process, and something we’ve rarely had to deal with in a Sumlin season opener. There were joyous things and there were things that made us want to rip our hair out in clumps. But in the end this team showed just enough toughness to come out on top, making the final story more easy to digest. Some notable statistics from along the way:
One yard, one play. As in fourth-and-one. In overtime. Sumlin said something after the game along the lines of “if we can’t get this one, we probably don’t deserve to win.”
Knight was far from perfect yesterday mechanically, but his leadership was never in question.
2. Justin Evans picks. The one down by the goal line and the other one where he popped his damn knee back into place after landing on it awkwardly.
He put his knee back in place https://t.co/bnIsD7xyzG— The Football Bible™ (@TheFBBible) September 4, 2016
And he was the unsung member of the safety trio. Not anmyore.
3. Those three drives in the fourth quarter. Because we need to talk about areas in need of vast improvement. Josh Evans picked Rosen off inside the red zone and we were up 24-9 with 8 minutes left in the game. The next three A&M possessions netted 10 total yards and only ate up about 2 1⁄2 minutes of clock. Meanwhile, Rosen was doing his thing and reminding everyone why he had received so much hype in the off-season. The playcalling was mystifying at times, and there was a costly false start penalty thrown in as well. The game was seemingly being gifted to UCLA. There was a frightening undercurrent of the Sherman era pulsing beneath the surface, and it was more than a little bit concerning.
4. Catches by Josh Reynolds, for 78 yards and this absolute beaut:
All too easy for Josh Reynolds pic.twitter.com/agQUgtifkV— Good Bull Hunting (@GBHunting) September 3, 2016
5. Sacks. Chavis had an outstanding gameplan. While UCLA’s offense was able to rack up decent yardage, they had to settle for too many field goals and Rosen never got into any kind of rhythm.
6. Penalties for 67 yards. Not terrible for a season opener, but there are definitely some areas to clean up * cough * Claude George * cough *.
7. QB hurries. On top of the sacks. Six different players had a QBH.
8. Different receivers. Knight was spreading the ball around, especially early on. Veteran role players Tabuyo and Pope both had some nice gains.
9. Rushes by Knight, for 31 yards. He did just enough with his feet to keep the offense more or less clicking. Most of the time.
19.4 Josh Rosen’s QB rating. The only time Rosen’s had a lower QB rating was last year against BYU when he threw for three picks but only 103 yards.
47.3. Punting average from Tripucka on seven punts. We leaned on him heavily in this game and he came through nicely: had a long of 59, put a couple inside the 15, and flipped the field when the offense was sputtering late. At Punter U, we don’t rebuild: we reload.
107 Christian Kirk AP yards. #3 quietly tallied 10+ yards in four separate phases of the game: rushing, receiving, punt returns, and kickoff returns. It is just a statistical certainty that he’ll break one at some point. It is SCIENCE.
159 rushing yards. From the 1-2 combo of Ford and Williams. They split their carries almost straight down the middle and proved to be a very effective two-headed monster in the backfield.
0. Zero. No sacks allowed by this unproven offensive line, not even when the one returning starter missed most of the second half. The OL was one of the most concerning question marks looming over us all off-season, but they held their own yesterday against a pretty good defensive front.
100443: reported attendance. That’s actually twice the number that 50,000 is.