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The Upside Downside: Mississippi State

Join us this week as we try to find some good points and whittle down the list of bad points from the Mississippi State loss.

A rare photograph of an A&M receiver in possession of a football.
A rare photograph of an A&M receiver in possession of a football.
Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

My aunt was kicked in the teeth by a horse once.  I never asked her how it felt, because I assumed that it hurt like hell.

I was right.

So what do we take away from that whole experience?


Speedy Recovery

With all of the woes across the wide receiver corps, the performance of Speedy Noil was a silver lining.  After the scare earlier this season with his knee injury it was a relief to see Noil back up to full speed (ha) and showing glimmers of being the special playmaker this team needs.  His return game continues to be consistent, though we are still waiting for a breakout big return for a TD.  He wasn't the most prolific receiver of the day with only 3 catches for 50 yards, but two of those were touchdowns including a brilliant stretch over the pylon with both feet in bounds.  If you missed that play it's probably because you were already packing up your belongings to go live in a cabin in the woods where you have to catch your own food and no one worries about stupid football anyway because it's stupid.

We Are Who They Thought We Were

A little spin on Dennis Green's classic post game meltdown, but it seems appropriate.  It takes a lot of reaching to find any positive spin to put on Saturday's train wreck, and that's what this is: a reach.  A&M opened up the season with a win over South Carolina and the commentators said they were world-beaters.  Then the Aggies sleepwalked through a series of cupcakes looking flawed and vulnerable before squeaking by an Arkansas team that was just incompetent enough to not keep their foot on A&M's throat.  As the MSU game approached, Vegas and the sports pundit world were convinced that this is a very beatable team and they were right.  Now that a nice dose of reality has set in, hopefully the coaching staff can get these players' heads out of the clouds and their minds back in the game.

Them Threads

OK, now we're really reaching.  Those uniforms were slick, a tasteful use of chrome and strong representation of the state with the Texas outline behind the numbers.

Now never wear them again.  They are cursed.


Receivers Not Good At "Receiving"

Kenny Hill has caught some flak for looking confused on the field this weekend, but most quarterbacks in the country would be genuinely confused if their receivers treated the football sometimes as if it were made of 25 lbs. of pig iron and other times like it was a shiny mylar balloon.  Though no official statistics are gathered for drops, most reports had A&M at somewhere between 9 and 87 dropped passes against Mississippi State, with the upper end of that range being particularly alarming since Hill only attempted 62 throws.  This same problem plagued the offense during the Arkansas matchup, and unless Sumlin's staff has a fix you can expect to add SEC conference games to the list of things this team will be dropping.

We Need A Thirdary

Without calling out players by name here, the secondary situation is unacceptable.  The coverage on the corners alternates between 'barely in time' and 'laughably out of position'.  With the Aggies selling out on the run for the second week in a row - for good reason apparently, as MSU ran for 289 yards - safety help is a distant memory.  What will fix this situation?  Really, I am asking, and I have it on good authority that Sumlin himself goes out of his way to read the Upside Downside every Monday looking for advice and encouragement.  Remember, this post is here to point out the problems and complain about them, not have any useful information about how to fix anything.  Feel free to add actual suggestions and X's and O's in the comments.

Welp, Maybe Next Year

It was fun being on all of those playoff hopefuls lists, but that's probably done for a while.  Impossible is a harsh word, but with the glaring issues at hand and the death march that is the A&M conference schedule the Aggies are unlikely at best to make the final playoff cut this year.  Time to get to the business of slugging out a few conference wins, ending with a decent win record and a solid bowl bid, then taking this very young and talented team into next season with fire in their eyes and duct tape on their hands.

Put the loss behind you Ags.  BTHO Ole Miss!