Texas A&M’s 38-13 victory over No. 5 LSU was an enjoyable way to end what was otherwise a very unenjoyable 2022 football season. But once the euphoria wears off, the result of this individual game will be meaningless outside of some LSU schadenfreude. The team still isn’t going to a bowl, there are significant issues (especially offensively) that need addressing, and lots of questions about just how a team this talented played so poorly for much of the year.
So what are the long-term takeaways from what we saw on Saturday night against LSU:
We appear to have found a QB
QB play was a problem for A&M for the second year in a row, but they appear to have their man in true freshman Conner Weigman. In his four starts, he completed 55.6% of his passes for 805 yards, 8 TDs and no interceptions. He wasn’t perfect, but he appeared to run the offense confidently, make plays and not turn the ball over. If the Aggies can keep their skill position talent out of the portal and improve their offensive line play (and hopefully offensive scheme as a whole), Weigman can be “the guy” to lead this team back to relevancy.
The players did not quit
This was a lost season in every possible way, and it would have been easy for players who had been injured to simply shut it down for the year to protect themselves for the future. But Antonio Johnson came back from injury for the final stretch run. Devon Achane and Evan Stewart returned for the final game after being hurt the week(s) prior. These aren’t the actions of players who have checked out. This team had many issues, but playing hard was never one of them. That is a credit to both the players and the coaching staff, and you hope that’s a sign that things can take a turn for the better as players strive to come out the other side of the adversity they faced this season.
Learning how to win
Football is much more than a game of individual talent. It’s very much about players and units complementing one another. The Aggies seemed to find myriad ways to shoot themselves in the foot this season, but finally seemed to outgrow many of those errors on Saturday night. While it’s only one game, playing good football, and knowing what it takes to win, are learned behaviors. Perhaps this team is finally learning how to win together, even if it was too little too late for 2022.
Losing sucks, there’s no way around it. But I’d rather lose playing a bunch of freshmen who are gaining experience/improving than do it with a bunch of upperclassmen. And that’s exactly what A&M did. While it doesn’t really make this season’s result any easier to bear, it does provide at least a glimmer of hope that the experience gained this year can pay dividends as much of the Ags’ production returns for the future.
The 12th Man isn’t going anywhere
Lots of folks wanted to make the sparse crowd in the second half of the UMass game into a referendum on the A&M program, rather than chalking it up to a cupcake opponent in miserably cold/rainy conditions. But a rocking Kyle Field against LSU proved that while Aggie fans may not be happy, we have not gone away. That fan support is a part of what makes A&M great, and what will continue to make this an attractive destination for players.
How did Saturday’s game change your outlook for the future of A&M football?
This poll is closed
Significantly more optimistic
A bit more optimistic
Nothing has changed
Less optimistic than before (wth?)