Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Ag Football Recap: Tide Hold Off Ags, 49-42

What an amazing football game.  This is one of those games that, even in defeat, fans will be talking fondly about for years to come.  Very rarely does a game with SOOO much hype actually live up to the billing.

This was a game of waves....we started out fast building a 14-0 lead, then Bama scored 28 unanswered points, and then we mounted a comeback.

Think back to last season and how amazing it was when Johnny broke the SEC record for total yardage in a single game against Arkansas and then turned around broke his own record a few weeks later against LaTech.  Well, he was 14 yards shy of rebreaking that record....against the best defense in the country, Bama!

Nick Saban had 15 games of film on Johnny and game planned for 10 months and the best he could do was hold him to 562 yards and 5 TDs (an A&M record 464 yards through the air and another 98 on the ground).  It was simply the most amazing individual performance I've ever seen - probably that anyone had ever seen.

As good as Johnny was, Beast Evans might have been even better.  He had 7 receptions for 279 yards and a TD.  He shed 'Bama cornerbacks like they weren't even there.

I never thought that I'd see a more impressive performance from a WR as Larry Fitzgerald's 2003 massacre at Kyle Field, but Mike Evans did it.

Our morning started with my son's soccer game from 10:30-11:30a.  We were freaking out because we figured that the traffic would be horrific coming up from Houston but once we got onto 290 it was smooth sailing at 80 mph all the way to College Station.  There was sandwich material in the car ready for us so we ate on the way.

When we arrived, my dad had a parking pass, but somehow talked the rest of us out of using it and we parked at his neighbor's sons house - a good 40 minute walk later, we were on campus (and I'm pretty sure we passed the lot we had the pass for). 

Campus was a complete zoo.  We sat down in Rudder Tower for a bit and they had a screen and projector showing another game - and while we were sitting there, Paaawwwl Finebaum walked in on the phone....I think I was the only person to recognize him.

Kickoff came and we got to see our first pass to Cam Clear as he caught the opening TD out of a two TE set at the goal line.  Then we forced a 3-and-out on Bama's first possession and scored on a 1 yard Ben Malena TD.

Bama's second possession was when the guns came out.  After four consecutive snaps for first downs, AJ McCarron found Kevin Norwood on a 22 yard back-shoulder pass right at the pylon.

Brandon Williams, who was back returning kicks for the first time this season, fumbled the KOR out of bounds at the 2 yard line.  We marched down the field and on a long pass to Mike Evans who went down at the 15 yard line we got flagged for offensive pass interference.  Instead of 1st and 10 from Bama's 15 we were in a 2nd and 25 at the 49.  We couldn't get ahead of the chains after that and ended up having to punt.

That was a key point in the game.

On Bama's next possession they converted a 3rd & 10 and then McCarron hit DeAndrew White with a flea-flicker for a 44 yard TD.

Our response was up and down.  There were some penalties (a holding and a snap infraction) and on 3rd and 6 Johnny was put under pressure....he pivoted, ran left, got caught, somehow slipped out of the tackle, runs back to the middle of the field and heaves a pass downfield that Ed Pope somehow goes up and comes down with.  It was a 45 yard pass for a 12 yard gain (the LOS was the Bama 35 and Johnny threw it from our own 45).  It was one of those plays that only Johnny could pull off.

A few plays later we are at the four yard line and Johnny throws a fade to the rear left corner of the endzone to Ja'Quay Williams....but Williams had broken off his route and we were picked off.

That was another key point in the game.

Bama's next possession ended on a 51 yard screen pass for a TD.  It was horrific to watch.

On our next possession there was a flag thrown on Haha Clinton-Dix for a targeting penalty and he was ejected, but the ejection was overturned by the review booth.  At the time I thought it was bogus but after getting home and watching it on replay a few times I don't think he should have been ejected.

We ended up getting in a 4th & 6 but on the punt a 12th Bama player ran onto the field.  Since the ball was already snapped when he entered the playing field the penalty was assessed on the return.  Had it been assesed on the line of scrimmage, there is no doubt in my mind that we would have gone for a 4th & 1 at the 33 yard line.

Bama turned that possession into a march down the field behind Yeldon and Kenyan Drake for the TD (8 rushes on 11 snaps....and 93 yards).  Our defensive line got mauled all day long and Bama's OL was into our second and third tier regularly.

To start the second half we forced a 3-and-out but then Johnny got picked on a deflected pass that was taken back to the house by Vinnie Sunseri.  At this point Bama has stretched the lead to 28-14

Johnny responded with a laser to Malcome Kennedy for a TD, but Bama answered again, forced a 3 and out and then scored again.  Johnny answered again with a Malcome Kennedy TD pass.

Bama marched again behind Yeldon but at the goal line, Yeldon coughed the ball up and Shaun Washington recovered for the Ags.  Kyle Field erupted.

Two snaps later, Johnny hit Mike Evans on a 95 yard TD pass.  We pulled back within striking distance, 42-35.  I thought Kyle Field was going to literally come down.

It was one of the most exciting TDs I've ever seen*....I'm not even sure how many times I jumped up and down, who I high-fived, hugged, or kissed. 

The joy on Johnny's face was priceless.  He was just as psyched as the rest of us.

Unfortunately, Bama scored again.

We got the ball back with 2:20 remaining and scored with 15 seconds left to make it a 7 point game.  We tried an onside kick but Bama recovered and took a knee to run out the clock.

TJ Yeldon finished with 149 yards on the ground and a TD while McCarron finished the day with a career high 334 yards and 4 TDs.

We gave up 568 yards.  Bama only had six 3rd down snaps in the game.

The 628 yards we gained was the most Bama had ever given up.  Ever.

What an incredible game.

I'm very proud of our team for battling back and playing with so much heart.  I have no problem losing a game like that, they played the guts out but the other team was better on this day.  I've seen'em lose and I've seen'em win but I've never seen'em quit.

As the two coaches met at midfield after the game, the TV mics caught Saban telling Sumlin, "You just took ten years off my life."  It was worth it.
My "Beat Bama" Beard died a sad death Sunday morning

After the game ended we hiked back to my dad's neighbor's son's house, called in a to-go order from Wings-n-More and headed home.  We were completely bushed.

*In chronological order: Toombs rumble against OU in '00, Reggie to Porter against OU in '02, Fuller TD against t.u. in '11, Johnny to Swope at Ole Miss in '12, Johnny to Kennedy at Bama in '12

Other housekeeping notes:
  • True freshman, Jordan Mastrogiovanni, got the start at LBer
  • Quiv has changed his number to #6....he was wearing #25 but since both he and Clay Honeycutt played special teams and wore #25 he was having to change in and out of #17 before and after each special teams play
  • I don't think I mentioned it but Matt Davis transferred just prior to the season starting.  He will play at Tyler JUCO this year and transfer again for 2014.  Also, LBer Shaun Ward is transferring but I don't know where.

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