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Texas A&M 19, Florida 17: The Beautiful Ugly Win

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Victory in The Swamp is huge for Kevin Sumlin

Texas A&M v Florida Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

If we had predicted before this season began that we’d average only 19 points per contest in the two weeks we played Alabama and Florida, we would’ve assumed the worst: annihilation, doom, failure; our worst fears come to life. But it happened, and not only did we come within a touchdown of Alabama, we pulled off the unlikeliest road win against the Gators behind four field goals, some confident moves by Kellen Mond, and some solid defense that masked an array of offensive woes.

Splitting between Alabama and Florida to get to 5-2 is huge, especially with a bye week coming up. This team is gaining toughness and composure as the season goes on. This is not a trajectory we’re familiar with lately.

This game, like all Aggie games this season, was emotionally draining. There was utter chaos and there were beautifully-executed plays, then there was just occasional mass confusion. As per usual, it was all happening at full speed with no pause in between. This is a good way to get the football bends if you aren’t used to it like us. We’ve said it before, but watching this team is like the line from the Robert Earl Keen song about “driving down the freeway at 70 miles per hour and chucking the steering wheel out the window.” The result is almost always very good or very bad, but it’s definitely always fast.

The defense is growing into a really outstanding unit. Apart from the awful 79-yard scamper by Felipe Franks, reminiscent of a kangaroo eluding spotlight hunters in the Australian Outback, with Aggie tacklers flailing helplessly at him until he was finally too exhausted to continue and was plowed down from behind by an equally exhausted defender. Apart from that, everything was mostly fine.

The offense as a whole is not mostly fine, and continues to progress (or regress) further from anything resembling mostly fine. At the same time, Kellen Mond’s confidence continues to grow and he takes on more and more responsibility, and that softens the blow of the ineptitude of the rest of the offense. Eventually we’ll reach that point of no return where he decides to just become the offense completely and run it himself, and this season, that might not be a bad thing.

So we went to The Swamp and won on special teams and defense. I think this must be what the SEC really feels like. It was alternating peaks of exasperation, nailbiting, desperation, and ultimately exuberance. But it wasn’t boring. Winning football games is fun. Let’s have a hell of a bye week.