Oh, folks. Sometimes there are games you just don’t want to unpack fully. It feels like everything was left out on the field last night. There were mistakes and missed opportunities on both sides, but in the end the Aggies stood up and went toe-to-toe with a serious national title contender all the way to the final whistle. Moral victories be damned, if we wanted to see if our team had learned how to finish strong and not fade down the stretch, we sure found out last night. So now some numbers. We’ll start big and work our way down.
501. The Aggie offense rolled up over five hundred yards on Clemson. We knew last week’s gaudy totals were largely a function of the opponent. Even the most optimistic among us would not have been overly bothered if Dickey’s offense was still settling into an identity at this point. But it’s already hit the ground running: the plan seems to be carve out some rushing yards until that doesn’t work, and let Kellen Mond do the rest. It is working.
430/3 TD/0 INT. Kellen Mond runs this offense. This is his team. He showed everyone last night why he was named the starter and what exactly he’s capable of. Chuck mentioned it last night, but his maturation has been astonishing from last year to this. If he can shine like this against Clemson’s defensive front, it’s going to be a good season.
275. Punting yards on five boots by Braden Mann. He averaged 55 per kick, including a 73-yarder. Mann’s ability to flip the field was a huge factor in keeping the Aggies in the game. At Punter U, we don’t rebuild, we reload.
120. Kendrick Rogers stepped up and became Mond’s go-to target with Sternberger bottled up and Ausbon’s catches limited. A pair of outstanding touchdown catches in traffic, seven total catches on the night.
23. It’s become clear that our back seven has three guys whose tackling abilities set them apart from the rest. We’ll be relying on them to fly to the ball and clean up/make plays this year. Last night, Otaro Alaka, Tyrel Dodson, and Donovan Wilson combined for 23 tackles, 3 TFL, and a couple of hurries and a pass breakup. Alaka had 10 by himself.
7. Total TFL by the Aggies. This is respectable against Clemson.
4-13. Clemson’s third down conversions. They were 2-8 in the second half, 0-3 in the fourth quarter. Things looked miserable early when they converted two straight 3rd-and-13+ plays but the defense improved throughout the game.
-2. Turnover margin. Painful. Also painful, but not listed in detail: FG, missed; FG, blocked; etc.
104,794. Attendance. This was the most impressive atmosphere at Kyle Field in years. Y’all kept the noise levels up even when we got kicked in the teeth. The crowd was present and in the moment and it definitely showed. New era, new reputation for Kyle Field.