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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

23-3: No longer in our hands

Students+A%26M+vs+Ole+Miss
Photo by photo by Jenna Rabel
Students A&M vs Ole Miss

At least it wasn’t 59-0.

In a de facto SEC West elimination game, A&M walked into Oxford, Miss. just to be dominated in just about every facet of the contest in a 23-3 loss. 

This week is sure to be full of many questions for head coach Kevin Sumlin, the team and the coaching staff. 

Here is what went wrong, what actually went right and where the Aggies stand now after the loss to Ole Miss.

What went wrong?

Simply put, Not much more could have gone wrong in Oxford on Saturday night. Kyle Allen was ineffective (12-34, 88 yds, 0 TD, 1 INT), overthrowing to the open receivers, lofting the ball into double or even triple coverage and looking every bit like a quarterback who has lost all his confidence. At one point, he threw 14 straight incompletions. Third stringer Jake Hubenak came in during the fourth quarter with A&M down 20 points and showed his ability to at least move the ball for positive yardage. The biggest question fans have for Sumlin is this — why leave a clearly ineffective Allen in for so long? Why wait until A&M was down 20 points in the fourth quarter to insert Hubenak? It is one of the many questions Sumlin will likely face this week. Another issue was the number of penalties. A&M totaled 13 penalties for 100 yards. Last week, turnovers were the issue. This week, it was the penalties that essentially gave Ole Miss free yardage and extra plays. Play calling was the final and possibly one of the biggest issues. The Aggie offense has no identity right now. It seems as if they just want to throw screens and get the ball into their playmakers hands as much as possible. That works against teams like Ball State or Arizona State, but not SEC defenses like Alabama or Ole Miss. There is too much speed and talent to do that. The biggest thing this week is for A&M’s offense to find itself an identity and a quarterback who they want to lead it. 

What went right?

On a night where it was hard to find a bright spot, there was one — the defense. When an offense continuously goes three-and-out, it makes the defense’s job exponentially tougher. However, even with the offensive struggles — surrendering 471 total yards of offense and allowing 23 points on the scoreboard — the defense kept A&M within reach of the Rebels all game. The defense held their own when Ole Miss had the ball deep in Aggie territory by making the Rebels settle for field goals and forcing four turnovers on the night. A&M actually won the turnover battle 4 to 3. 

Armani Watts proved himself to be a star at the safety position, flying around all night to tally 20 total tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, one forced fumble and recovery on an impressive strip play as he took Ole Miss’ Jordan Wilkins to the ground and got an interception. Myles Garrett had another “Myles Garrett type of game,” making trouble for the Ole Miss backfield all night long, totaling two tackle for loss, a forced fumble and an interception. Time and time again, the defense kept A&M in position to make a comeback. The defense did their job and then some on Saturday night. If one thing was clear about the Aggies, it was that the defense is very solid and John Chavis is earning his paycheck. 

Where do they stand now?

After a loss like that in a game of that magnitude, the Aggies are all but eliminated from the SEC West race. Barring a historic collapse by Alabama, LSU and Ole Miss, with A&M winning out all its next games (including at LSU), A&M’s chances for Atlanta are pretty much done. There is still a lot to play for, such as a more prestigious bowl game. They are a low-end top-25 team, and should finish the year ranked such as the schedule lightens up a bit. However, the playoff chances and SEC title hopes are all but gone for the Aggies.

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  • Kyle Allen A&M vs Ole Miss

    Photo by Photo by Jenna Rabel
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