This Aggie team came out sort of ready-ish, maybe...but then when things started to go wrong they completely crumbled again. Mistakes begat mistakes, and everyone got in on the action: the offensive line whiffed on basic run blocks, Cajun receivers were getting open at will, even Christian Kirk muffed a punt. That’s the kindest thing we can say about the first half.
Whether the sea change that occurred at halftime was due to coaching, players stepping up, or just sheer chance and opportunity is anyone’s guess, but the third quarter performance by the Aggies was the best we’ve seen since the first half of that one Sunday out in California a few weeks ago that we sort of hesitantly like to remember occasionally when it suits us.
While the lasting impression many will take away from this game is just a series of shotgun snaps sailing dozens of yards over the head of a hapless Kellen Mond and running backs getting stymied in the backfield on basic run plays, when you comb through the experience there are bright spots: Kellen Mond got the vertical pass game going a little bit. Lots of freshmen got their first touchdowns. Armani Watts had another beastly performance. We had a linebacker return an interception for a score. We almost broke a kickoff return for a touchdown. These are fun, good things and we shouldn’t ignore them.
But we shouldn’t ignore the alarms that flagged up all over that first half, either, because Arkansas will not be nearly as forgiving of a sluggish start next week as Louisiana was today.
Today was ugly, exasperating, forgettable football. The bright spots will once again be almost instantly filled in with doubts and uncertainties as the game gets broken down. But if we pretend like we weren’t worried about losing this game at some point, we’re lying to ourselves. 45-21 is pretty dang good when we consider that. Fortunately we have a week to recover from this exhausting win.