The angst and despair that we’ve managed to keep successfully at bay thus far in 2018 has come barreling back with violent and humbling force. The oppressive pall of gloom hovering over the inevitable collapse finally unleashed a torrent of inexplicably awful football upon a fanbase that was just learning to hold out a spark of hope once again. Shame on us for believing.
The shortcomings exhibited by this team tonight lie almost exclusively* with the offense. Such as:
- Ineffective offensive line push. Trayveon Williams should not be losing 2-3 yards on a first and ten.
- Cockfingers. Not sure which clang was louder in Davis Wade: the cowbells or the balls careening off the hands of would-be receivers.
- General lack of awareness. Delay of game on the very first series. No real sense of urgency. Ambient confusion. A dull sense of wandering haplessness.
- Many individual parts slightly out of sync with one another.
- Not giving the defense a whole lot of breathing time. Again.
Please note I said *almost exclusively above, because the defense is not completely devoid of fault. Nick Fitzgerald converted something like 59 of 61 third-and-longs, including the 84-yard pass play on 3rd and 21 when the game could have turned on a dime. The Aggies’ pass defense is a glaring deficiency that capable quarterbacks will exploit mercilessly. Even borderline QBs will look stellar, like tonight. At times it seemed as though the defense was unaware even that Nick Fitzgerald was an eligible player, allowing him to casually lumber through vast swathes of pasture completely unencumbered.
The default defense mechanism here to protect the psyche is to coil into that familiar shell and just exhibit an overwhelming sense of cursedness against this school. Losses in four of the past five seasons, three of them coming with the Ags ranked and the Dogs not. Superstition is safer, because the other alternative is that this team is just not as good as everyone thought they were. How else does one explain only winning at a 20% clip against Mississippi State over the past five seasons?
We’re not there yet. With some luck, we might be next year. The real test for the remainder of this season will be in how this team responds to this type of humiliation. Now let’s all get jacked for the inevitable 11 a.m. kick at Auburn next week.