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By The Numbers: Texas A&M Stumbles Past Arkansas 31-27

Subsistence football provides another tenuous victory

Arkansas v Texas A&M Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Let’s be completely honest: watching Aggie Football has not been a great deal of fun this year. During the first month of the season we played two elite teams and two cupcakes. Against the former two, the team looked wooden and lacked any kind of cohesion or offensive identity, taking themselves out of the game with sloppy play. Against the latter two, the team still managed to put up respectable wins despite showing trace elements of the issues that plagued them against elite teams. So playing a mediocre team from our division should have helped clear up what kind of team this really is. Well, guess what: we’re not as good this year as anyone thought we’d be.

There’s not really any statistical trick to categorize this sort of malaise. It appears to be systemic, and everyone’s joining in the party. Wide receiver drops have plagued the offense all season, and yesterday morning saw a couple more.

Offensive line play is a glaring deficiency:

  • 33 rushing attempts
  • 89 yards rushing
  • 2.7 yards per carry
  • 4 sacks allowed

We can write these types of numbers off against Clemson and Auburn, but a meager output like this against a team hanging out in the cellar of the division is pretty concerning. We hear hype about the OL every year, but in truth it’s been several seasons since we had a line that could consistently dominate the line of scrimmage.

Control, or lack thereof.

1 roughing the passer: instead of setting up a 3rd and 8, it gave Arkansas a fresh first down when we were clinging to a 14-10 lead and the offense was beginning to stall. Madubuike is our most seasoned defensive player. Not great.

1 personal foul on special teams: took the ball from scoring position back to midfield after we’d forced Arkansas to punt from their own 2.

3 fumbles (1 lost): and that one was a doozy, a scoop and score on a miserably failed handoff that is inconceivably inexcusable five weeks into a season.

1 horribly thrown interception: can anyone guess where this interception happened yes that’s correct it was yet another one in the end zone. At least three points off the board automatically, and this ain’t the first time this year by a long shot.

These aren’t effort plays. These are bad decisions that have been consistently hampering the team now all year.

But were there any good things happening yesterday at all?

Yes there were! Admittedly few and far between, but definitely worth praising.

8 pass deflections: the defense came to bat balls, and they had a day of it.

5 different front seven players batted down balls. The effort here bailed us out a few times late. Really great play by the guys up front.

Quartney Davis: the offense did seem to make a few adjustments to take advantage of #1’s explosiveness. 7 catches for 62 yards and 2 touchdowns. Dickey also managed to get him involved in the run game, where he had 2 carries for 19 yards. By far his biggest contribution was making something happen after the catch. It was nice to see a receiver run with the ball after catching it for a change instead of falling down instantly.

Braden Mann: 4 punts for a 49.5 yard average, long of 59. Super Mann is just hitting his stride this year. It appears to be just in time.

In summation: inconsistent offense spends much of the game getting bailed out by an improved defense that still manages to hurt itself with penalties and failed to adequately pressure a backup QB, resulting in a narrow win that raises more doubts than it puts to rest. Enjoy that bye week, because Alabama comes to down in 13 days.