Defense Impresses in Win over Auburn
From the opening play, Myles Garrett set the tone for this game.
This defense intended to spend a lot of time in Auburn’s backfield. And they did. Over the game, the defense notched 13 tackles for loss, 4 sacks, and 1 forced fumble. Additionally, the defensive ends employed a mesh technique (essentially where they run straight at the zone-read exchange rather than try to read the play). According to Gus Malzahn, we had never showed that on tape before, and it proved to be extremely disruptive to Auburns offense.
The defense allowed touchdowns on Auburns 2nd possession and 2nd to last possession. But during the span in between, the defense clamped down and gave our offense a chance to find some rhythm. It wasn’t always pretty but the offense found the endzone twice and the uprights 5 times. Big shoutout to Daniel LaCamera for hitting field goals of 46, 35, 31, 25, and 26 yards. Special teams were a question mark entering this season, but now it’s safe to say that they are a team strength.
Offensively, there is still lots of work to do. Trading touchdowns for field goals and going 2-15 on third down will not cut it when A&M faces the upper echelon of the SEC. The play calling inside the redzone is frustrating. And the utilization of personnel leaves much to be desired. Each skill player has their strengths and weaknesses. It’s on the coaching staff to build the playcalling around those strengths.
Until then, it looks like we’ve found ourselves a running back. My goodness.
The Big 12 is Setting Records in All the Wrong Ways
For the first time since the conference’s inception in 1996, the Big 12 does not have a team ranked in the top 15 of the AP poll. Texas and Oklahoma tumbled out after embarrassing losses to Cal and Ohio State. Add in Oklahoma State’s loss to Central Michigan, TCU’s loss to Arkansas, Texas Tech’s loss to Arizona State, and Oklahoma’s loss to Houston, and the Big 12 sits without a single marquee non-conference win. Sorry longhorns, a two loss Notre Dame team that sits outside the AP top 25 doesn’t count.
The regular season is only a quarter of the way over, and it’s very likely that the Big 12 will not have a playoff team this year. Out of 10 teams, only Baylor and West Virginia are undefeated. And with the general perception of the conference strength along with Baylor’s laughable non-conference slate, the Bears will have a hard time being taken seriously. The Big12’s best chance might be for West Virginia to run the table. Good luck with that.
I Thought I Smelled Bacon
At this point, Arkansas has to just hate playing A&M. Sumlin has beaten Arkansas 4 straight games, with the last two ending in overtime. In last year’s post-game handshake, Sumlin approached Bielema and simply said, “I don’t know what to say”. Bielema responded with, “Don’t say anything. I might punch you.”
In both of those games, Arkansas dominated the line of scrimmage, time of possession, and rushing yards. And both times, A&M needed late game heroics from Kenny Hill and Kyle Allen to just send it to overtime. Simply put, the Aggies had no business winning either of those games.
This year, things should be a bit different. A&M shows up to the Southwest Classic with a budding run defense, the best safety tandem in the SEC, and a pulse at linebacker. Those rushing yards in past years will be a lot harder to come by and Bert will be doing a whole lot more of this.