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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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ANALYSIS: Composure helps Aggies collect win over Florida

Sophomore+linebacker+Tyrel+Dodson%26%23160%3Bcaught+an+interception+with+52+seconds+remaining+in+the+game+to+seal+Texas+A%26amp%3BMs+19-17+win+over+Florida.
Photo by Courtesy of Cecilia Lemus, The Alligator

Sophomore linebacker Tyrel Dodson caught an interception with 52 seconds remaining in the game to seal Texas A&M’s 19-17 win over Florida.

GAINESVILLE, Fla – Composure was Texas A&M’s biggest point of emphasis while preparing for Florida.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Composure was Texas A&M’s biggest point of emphasis while preparing for Florida.
And indeed, it was the collective calmness of the Aggies (5-2, 3-1 SEC) that allowed them to string together a fourth-quarter comeback over the Gators (3-3, 3-2 SEC), earning a 19-17 win at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium Saturday night.
“These guys have continued to just keep playing,” A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin said. “They believe in each other. There wasn’t a bunch of panic from our coaches and that’s what composure is all about.”
In each of the Aggies past three wins, the maroon and white had to find their way back from a second-half deficit. According to wide receiver Christian Kirk, being in those situations where the team has had to comeback is invaluable and has benefitted them.
“We’ve been down in a lot of the games we’ve played in this year,” Kirk said. “We know when we come out to the second half with a different mindset. We played like it was a whole new game.”
The coolness of kicker Daniel LaCamera may have been most important. The junior and Florida native was 4-for-4 on field goals for the night, sinking three in the fourth quarter — including the game-winning 32-yarder with 58 seconds left.
“We knew coming into this game it was going to be a big field goal game,” LaCamera said. “I try not to think it’s bigger than any other kick. It feels great to do it.”
Totaling just 263 yards of total offense, the Aggies accumulated nearly half of that in the fourth quarter, posting 127 yards in the frame.
“We knew we were going to score, and we knew we were going to win that football game,” offensive lineman Erik McCoy said.
Florida had nothing to counter A&M’s offensive surge, recording just 27 total yards in the final 15 minutes.
“[We’ve] got to stay on the field and give ourselves an opportunity to be successful,” Florida head coach Jim McElwain said. “They did a good job pressuring the quarterback. They didn’t disappoint. They did a good job harassing us, and we maybe got a little jumpy in there at times.”
Big plays highlighted each of the Aggies scoring drives. A&M had at least one 30-plus yard play on all of its scoring drives except the last.
The final scoring drive though, was set up by a 43-yard punt return by Christian Kirk, which allowed the Aggies to start at the Gator 39 yard line.
“That was a time where we needed a big play,” Kirk said. “Great execution by the guys blocking in front and it’s just on me at that point to make a play and set us up to win.”
Still, quarterback Kellen Mond struggled in the passing game, going 8-of-24 for 180 yards and one interception. Mond was also sacked a season-high six times.
“It was tough sledding for him,” Sumlin said. “For a young quarterback when they’re playing that kind of man coverage, and then are switching out some things, things were happening really fast out there for him.”
The ground game was stagnant for the second weekend in a row too, racking up just 83 yards on 38 carries.
One major problem may have been the absence of right tackle Keaton Sutherland. Taking place for the starter were freshmen Dan Moore Jr. and Carson Green, who alternated series until Green eventually took over for the game in the third quarter.
“We stayed composed even when things weren’t going our way,” McCoy said. “We’re sticking together. When things aren’t going right, we’re staying by each other’s side and it’s really coming through for us.”
In the first half though, A&M was a jumbled mess from the start.
A false start prior to the first play of the game set the sloppy offensive tone the Aggies held during the first 30 minutes of the matchup.
For the game, A&M had a season-high seven penalties, which put the Aggies in tricky situations and negated a couple of long plays.
“Probably had more penalties than we’ve had all year in a game, that’s not us,” Sumlin said. “First play of the game, false start. There’s nothing more frustrating than that on the first play of the game on the road to get the crowd back in it.”
Three points and 80 yards were all the Aggie offense could muster in the opening half, as the Gators gashed the A&M defense for 229 yards, but only held a 10-3 lead at the intermission.
“The word composure was not only about players, but also coaches,” Sumlin said. “Everybody was frustrated in the first half, but there’s a reason we were frustrated. They were really good up front.”
As A&M heads into its bye week, Sumlin said it is a good time for his team to have a lengthy break from a wild seven games of football before hosting Mississippi State on the final weekend in October.
“When your team is playing pretty well, you want to keep playing,” Sumlin said “But these guys have played a lot of close games, haven’t won them all, but they continue to play to the end, and they need a little break right now.”
And indeed, it was the collective calmness of the Aggies (5-2, 3-1 SEC) that allowed them to string together a fourth-quarter comeback over the Gators (3-3, 3-2 SEC), earning a 19-17 win at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium Saturday night.
“These guys have continued to just keep playing,” A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin said. “They believe in each other. There wasn’t a bunch of panic from our coaches and that’s what composure is all about.”
In each of the Aggies past three wins, the maroon and white had to find their way back from a second-half deficit. Being in those situations before was an intangible some players felt benefited them.
“We’ve been down in a lot of the games we’ve played in this year,” wide receiver Christian Kirk said. “We know come out to the second half with a different mindset, 0-0. We played like it was a whole new game.”
The coolness of kicker Daniel LaCamera may have been most important. The junior and Florida native was 4-of-4 on field goals for the night, sinking three in the fourth quarter, including the game-winning 32-yarder with 58 seconds left.
“We knew coming into this game it was going to be a big field goal game,” LaCamera said. “I try not think it’s bigger than any other kick, it feels great to do it.”
Totaling just 263 yards of total offense, the Aggies accumulated nearly half of that in the fourth quarter, posting 127 yards in the frame.
“We knew we were going to score, and we knew we were going to win that football game,” offensive lineman Erik McCoy said.
Florida had nothing to counter A&M’s offensive surge, recording just 27 total yards in the final 15 minutes.
“We got to stay on the field and give ourselves an opportunity to be successful,” Florida head coach Jim McElwain said. “They did a good job pressuring the quarterback. They didn’t disappoint. They did a good job harassing us, and we maybe got a little jumpy in there at times.”
Big plays highlighted each of the Aggies scoring drives. A&M had at least one 30-plus yard play on all of its scoring drives, except the last.
The final scoring drive though, was set up by a 43-yard punt return by Christian Kirk, which allowed the Aggies to start from the Gator 39.
“That was a time where we needed a big play,” Kirk said. “Great execution by the guys blocking in front and it’s just on me at that point to make a play and set us up to win”
Still, quarterback Kellen Mond struggled in the passing game, going 8-of-24 for 180 yards and one interception. Mond was also sacked a season-high six times.
“It was tough sledding for him,” Sumlin said. “For a young quarterback when they’re playing that kind of man coverage, and then are switching out some things, things were happening really fast out there for him.”
The ground game was stagnant for the second weekend in a row too, racking up just 83 yards on 38 carries.
One major problem may have been the absence of right tackle Keaton Sutherland. Taking place for the starter were freshmen Dan Moore Jr. and Carson Green, who alternated series until Green eventually took over for the game in the third quarter.
“We stayed composed even when things weren’t going our way,” McCoy said. “We’re sticking together. When things aren’t going right, we’re staying by each other’s side and it’s really coming through for us.”
In the first half though, A&M was a jumbled mess from the start.
A false start prior to the first play of the game set the sloppy offensive tone the Aggies held during the first 30 minutes of the game.
For the game, A&M had a season-high seven penalties, which put the Aggies in tricky situations and negated a couple of long plays.
“Probably had more penalties than we’ve had all year in a game, that’s not us,” Sumlin said. “First play of the game, false start. There’s nothing more frustrating than that on the first play of the game on the road to get the crowd back in it.”
Three points and 80 yards was all the Aggie offense could muster in the opening half, as the Gators gashed the A&M defense for 229 yards, but only held a 10-3 lead at the intermission.
“The word composure was not only about players, but also coaches,” Sumlin said. “Everybody was frustrated in the first half, but there’s a reason we were frustrated. They were really good up front.”
As A&M heads into its bye week, Sumlin said it is a good time for his team to have a lengthy break from a wild seven games of football before hosting Mississippi State on the final weekend in October.
“When your team is playing pretty well, you want to keep playing,” Sumlin said “But these guys have played a lot of close games, haven’t won them all, but they continue to play to the end and they need a little break right now.”

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