This game was not the end of the Kevin Sumlin era, in the same sense that the day you contract a terminal disease is not the day you die. Not today, but soon and inevitably. And this article is not a post-mortem on the Sumlin era, because he is not technically gone yet. It’s a pre-mortem.
Coach Sumlin was facing a gauntlet of “must win” games to finish out the season, but implied in those games was the requirement that the Aggies not embarrass themselves on a night game on ESPN. Instead the Aggies walked onto Kyle Field listless, sloppy, and what’s worse completely unprepared (after a bye week!) for a tough MSU squad. In a stretch of critical games, Sumlin’s team delivered the worst possible product.
There is probably possibly some series of events that could somehow save Kevin Sumlin's job at this point, some bizarre flight of fancy straight out of an adult education creative writing course, too complex and unlikely for me to bother thinking up right now. Instead let’s score this, because that’s what this piece is for.
SCALE: The Wendy’s Salad Bar
SCORE: Warm iceberg lettuce. I do like Kevin Sumlin and am disappointed things (probably) won’t work out, but the silver lining is that our OC is also not long for this team. This offensive scheme is slow developing, passive, and dull. Unfortunately tonight it was also executed poorly, with countless drops not helping an already off-peak Kellen Mond.
Was Nick Starkel the more effective QB, or was the Mississippi State defense just getting complacent late in the game? Starkel didn’t appear until the 4th quarter and still accounted for nearly half of the A&M offense for the night. Then again he also threw a 90-yard pick six right when people had gained just a glimmer of hope for the game.
SCALE: Sci-Fi Movies
SCORE: Independence Day. I mean yeah, when it first came out you were excited. But the more times you see it the less it holds up and in the end it looks pretty tired.
This defensive unit is not perfect, but they are talented and more fiery and passionate than you can believe. Unfortunately when your offense only produces two first downs in the first half it’s hard to maintain against a team that runs up the gut all day. These guys got worn down, and while the spirit was willing the flesh was hung out to dry all night.
SCALE: Household tools
SCORE: Plunger. Look, it’s effective every time but you’re still pissed you have to use it so much. Shane Tripucka is now out-gaining our entire offense regularly. LaCamera was perfect again the two times we got to use him. Kirk had a respectable returning night, but State was pretty good about limiting his options.
SCALE: Band Of Brothers officers
SCORE: Lt. Sobel. Inept and unlikeable, even when running operations in friendly territory with a week to prepare. Noel Mazzone has only Dennis Franchione to thank for not being my least favorite coach in A&M history. We railed against rushing to fire Jake Spavital for fear something like Noel Mazzone might happen. That will probably turn out to be the only thing we were ever right about.
ONE MORE THING
Adios, Kevin Sumlin era. You were fun, except when you weren’t. I do not look forward to the coming months of coaching hire rumors and the probably 15% chance that we make a good hire (welcome to Aggieland Coach Fedora).
The thermostat just went back up on Kevin Sumlin. State's talent is not 3 TDs better than this team. State's coaching damned sure is though.— Erik, just Erik (@gothlaw) October 29, 2017