Thursday, November 13, 2014

Ag Football Recap: Ags Hold Off La-Monroe, 21-16

I was fortunate enough to have an opportunity to take Benjamin up to College Station with me for the La-Monroe game, his second real home game.

He had a soccer game at 8:30am and the A&M kick-off was at 11:00 so I went into it knowing we weren't going to get there until the 1st quarter had started.  I had full tank of gas and all of our gear for the A&M game ready in the car, with a lunch packed ready to go as soon as the final whistle blew on his soccer game.

Unfortunately, we forgot to throw his bike in the bed of my truck before we left the house so we had to double back for that and then there was really heavy traffic getting out of the subdivision due to lane closures from the construction of the new tollroad.  We lost about 20-25 minutes there but we did the best we could with what we had.
After finding a place to park deep in Southgate, we headed towards the stadium.  I heard the cannon go off when the team ran out onto the field and then a few minutes later we heard it go off after we scored a TD - already making progress from last weekend's game.

We stopped for a minute to snap a picture in front of the John David Crow statue as I tried to remind Benjamin that he had met JDC a year or so ago.  He vaguely remembered - he knows the name and he knows there is a picture of him and an old guy hanging on his wall but he hasn't put it all together.

We actually were able to get to our seats with about 6 minutes left in the 1st Q, so it wasn't nearly as bad as it could have been. Sean was waiting for us with a quick recap of what we had missed.

At the SMU game Benjamin was pretty much ready to check out as soon as we got there, but I can't blame him - it was hot at all get out and we had plucked him from a day full of playing at GrandAggie and Cici's house.  This weekend, however, he was actually much more into it.  He liked that he could yell and kept asking at various points of the game if it was OK for him to wave his 12th Man towel (which is appropriate at all times).  I helped him with a couple of yells, he sang right along and swayed with us during the War Hymn.

The key, I have figured out, is food.  We stuck him with a hot dog at the beginning of the 2nd Q and then I got him a bucket of popcorn at the end of halftime that lasted through entire second half.
As for the game itself, the highlight was the special uniform the team wore to "honor" the 1939 national championship team on their 75th anniversary.  The helmet was sick.

Coming off the 'Bama "game", Sumlin basically opened everything back up and in the course of that, Kyle Allen nudged himself in front of Kenny Hill and was taking the 1st team snaps on Thursday.  Then on Saturday, a couple of hours before the game, the athletic department announced that Kenny Hill was suspended for two games due to "violation of team rules and athletic department policy".  No one really knows what that exactly entails but he is basically out until the Mizzou game.
So Kyle Allen got his first start, which was what a good portion of the fan base wanted - not for any other reason than "he couldn't play worse than what we've seen...let's try it to see if there is a spark in the offense."

We also came out in and played in a completely different formation than what we've seen in the Sumlin era.  We had 5 linemen with 3 wide, a fullback, and a RB in the pistol.  For the most part, Ben Compton (our backup center) played FB.

We have essentially dumped our 5 wide spread, high speed offense - and I'm not sure why.  I don't know if it is a WR issue or if it is an OL issue or if it is a QB issue.

As I predicted, Kyle Allen did not come in an set the world on fire - he actually had a terrible game statistically (13-of-28 for 106 yards, a TD and an INT) - but I did see some small positives.  He is much more mobile than I expected - much more so than Kenny Hill - and his arm strength is plus.  Time will tell.  I'm not convinced he is THE answer, but i think he is the answer for now....and for heavens sake - he's a true freshman.

Speedy.  Thank God for Speedy.  He seems like nearly the only one out there who cares - he plays with passion.  He was literally the difference between a win and a loss.  He is also seemly good for one jaw dropping catch per game - this week's installment was an insane TD catch on a free play after ULM jumped offsides.  It was a smart play by Allen also - to know he could heave one up.

I also think that Malcome Kennedy must still be hurt - he has been back now for two games and has only two receptions.  That is very unlike him.  Ed Pope and RSJ were both on the field, but they were silent.

We did get a little bit more out of the running backs. The number might not make your eyes pop (they combined for 118 yards and 2 TD on 32 carries), but Brandon Williams and Tra Carson both played very hard, despite a sieve for an offensive line.  I would still like to see more consistency in the rotation - I think we're switching them up too much and no one can get into a good rhythm.  There was also no Trey Williams, due to him "not taking care of business".  Not sure what that means.
Defensively, Myles Garrett had 3.5 sacks and broke the SEC freshman record for sacks in a season (with a 1/4 of the regular season still to go).  He is a complete monster and is just a joy to watch.  I find myself watching him on nearly every snap and even when he doesn't make the play he is *right* there.

There were a lot of snaps for freshmen.  I believe we played 16 freshmen, with Allen, Otaro Alaka (LB) and Josh Walker (LB) making their first start, joining Myles and Speedy.  Seven of our top nine leading tacklers were freshmen.  Read that again.

That also doesn't include Zaycoven Henderson or Qualen Cunningham, who did not play.

Medically, we had two big "oh no" moments.  Deshazor ruptured a tendon in his right elbow - he was in significant pain and I have no clue how long he might miss.  Then Germain Ifedi sprained his ACL - he will be out for the rest of the year.  That hurts an OL that has struggled mightily.
At the end of the day, having Benjamin with me helped keep things in perspective.  We had a great day together, the weather was GORGEOUS, there was popcorn, Uncle Sean, and he was excited to run into the house and exclaim to Momma that "The Aggies WON!"

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