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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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4 takeaways from A&M-Ole Miss

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Photo by via @AggieFootball Twitter

Freshman linebacker Edgerrin Cooper made a big stop for the Aggies in the third quarter, sacking Ole Miss quarterback Matt Corral. 

On Saturday, Nov. 13, No. 11 Texas A&M football traveled to Oxford, Miss., to take on the No. 12 Ole Miss Rebels. This was A&M’s first time playing against the Rebels since 2019, with the 2020 contest being canceled due to COVID-19. 

Here’s what we learned in A&M’s eventual 29-19 loss to the Rebels:

Aggies started flat

A&M got off on the wrong foot in the first half. When it came to the statsheet, the Rebels garnered 408 total yards, with 216 passing and the remaining 192 from the run game. Comparatively, A&M only managed to accumulate a total of 91 yards in the first half, including 43 rushing and 48 passing yards. Further solidifying the poor half for the Aggies was the fact that Ole Miss recorded more yards in the first half than six of A&M’s former opponents gained during each of their entire games against the Aggies. Additionally, junior running back Isaiah Spiller gave up his first ever safety in the second quarter, moving the score from 15-0. 

A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher said the Aggies failed to execute during the first half in Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.

“Offensively, [in the] first half, we had too many missed assignments,” Fisher said. “We didn’t play with enough poise; we didn’t play with enough poise on offense and defense [in the] first half. We didn’t play and execute the plays, make the tackles; that’s a disappointing thing.”

Game-changers 

A&M had three specific plays that changed the outcome of the game from a possible win to a seemingly definite loss. First, the safety from Spiller in the second quarter caused the Aggies to give up two points. Next, in back-to-back drives in the fourth quarter, there was an intended pass to freshman wide receiver Demond Demas which was intercepted by junior linebacker Ashanti Cistrunk, ending the drive for the Aggies and eventually resulting in a touchdown and extra point for the Rebels. Lastly, redshirt sophomore quarterback Zach Calzada’s pick-six, intended once again for Demas, was returned by Ole Miss junior defensive back AJ Finley. 

Sophomore defensive back Antonio Johnson said the pick-6 is what sealed the loss for the maroon and white.

“The first pick put us in a tough situation,” Johnson said. “And then the pick-6, I feel like that did it. But we still played hard until the end.”

Targeting

Demas was hit hard by senior safety Jake Springer in the second drive of the third quarter. The play eventually resulted in Demas being surrounded by multiple medical assistants and being taken to the medical tent. Upon further review, the contact was deemed targeting and Springer was ejected from the game, per NCAA rules.

Junior offensive lineman Kenyon Green said there was a shift in energy on the sidelines following Demas going down.

“[On the sidelines we] were just trying to make sure he’s OK,” Green said. “[But then] we had to go finish the drive, go finish the game for him.”

No time for huddles

Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin is well known for his fast moving offense, giving opposing defenses little time to adjust between plays. The ESPN broadcast even had a clock in the top left corner of the screen, counting the seconds for how much time progressed in between snaps. The Aggies needed time to adjust, of which Ole Miss took advantage, scoring a field goal on its first drive and a touchdown and completing an extra point on its second.

Fisher said Ole Miss’s fast-paced offense was a momentum-changer.

“It is [tiring to defend] on offense if you don’t get your plays in,” Fisher said. “It becomes tiring. It’s a momentum thing … Everything is momentum.”

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