Robert Cessna Grades the Aggies
Published Sunday, September 07, 2008 6:05 AM

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WHAT WENT RIGHT: The 14-play, 93-yard drive just before halftime was Texas A&M's best possession of the young season with the Aggies converting four third downs. A&M doesn't get points unless New Mexico gets called for roughing the passer, but give the Aggies and backup quarterback Jerrod Johnson credit for making the Lobos pay. Johnson rushed for a first down on third-and-7 and completed a pair of third-down passes, both to freshmen, including the touchdown to Jeff Fuller.

WHAT WENT WRONG: The Aggies struggled in the second half for the second straight week, getting only 43 yards.

BOTTOM LINE: A&M's offense didn't turn the ball over against a blitzing defense. Johnson often wasn't pretty but was almost always effective in going 10-of-19 passing for 124 yards with three touchdowns.


WHAT WENT RIGHT: Safety Jordan Peterson returned an interception 48 yards for a touchdown. Cornerback Arkeith Brown's interception set up a touchdown, and a fumble recovery by defensive end Michael Bennett led to another touchdown. A&M's defense also kept the Lobos out of the end zone after they recovered a fumble at A&M's 14. New Mexico's attempt to trick A&M with formations seldom worked.

WHAT WENT WRONG: A&M allowed the Lobos to score a pair of consolation touchdowns in the final 6 minutes, which forced A&M to recover an onside kick.

BOTTOM LINE: The Aggies gave up too many yards for the second straight week, but the defense held New Mexico to less than 10 yards in seven of its 12 possessions. A&M also had 96 yards in returns by the defense.


WHAT WENT RIGHT: A&M recovered a pair of onside kicks and punter Justin Brantly had a 44.3-yard average on seven punts, including three inside the 20. Jordan Pugh had punt returns of 13 and 22 yards.

WHAT WENT WRONG: The fumbled punt return by Pugh could have been a disaster. A&M twice didn't make it to its own 20 on kickoff returns, which didn't help a shaky offense. The one time Brantly didn't get a foot into a punt and hit a low line drive, it was returned 32 yards. New Mexico also had punt returns of 13 and 34 yards.

BOTTOM LINE: A&M's gonna have to get much better.


WHAT WENT RIGHT: The Aggies did a good job meshing players. A&M won despite having quarterback Stephen McGee for only one series and losing tailback Mike Goodson to an injury. Goodson had just 14 yards on eight touches after having 154 yards on 30 touches last week. Gray was the leading rusher (10 carries-29 yards), even though A&M didn't know if he'd be healthy enough to play. A&M used freshman offensive lineman Danny Baker at tight end, never throwing to the 6-foot-7, 296-pounder but using his muscle to slow down the aggressive Lobo defense.

WHAT WENT WRONG: A&M had 10 penalties, including having 12 men on the field twice on defense. A&M had to waste a timeout on its first third down of the second half when it didn't have the right personnel. After the timeout, A&M didn't convert, then took a delay penalty.

BOTTOM LINE: A&M won despite making a bushel of mistakes. The Aggies found ways to make plays.


WHAT WENT RIGHT: The Aggies jumped to a quick lead and never allowed the Lobos to get into rhythm. For all the mistakes the Aggies made, they also came up with plays that made the difference.

WHAT WENT WRONG: A&M should have sent the 23,000 or so Lobo fans home early, but the Aggies gained 9 yards or less on seven of their second-half possessions. The defense, which played well except for Rodney Ferguson's 45-yard touchdown run, gave up 160 yards on New Mexico's final 29 plays.

BOTTOM LINE: After last week, the Aggies had to leave Albuquerque with a victory. It didn't matter if it was 50-14 or 28-22.

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5 comment(s) found!

Posted by: James Taylor '93 On: 9/8/2008

Comment Title: My only gripe
To start with I was impressed with our Defense. This was the first interception TD return in years and the next interception set up the second touch down. Without that we would have been in big trouble on the score board. Yes we allowed too many yards at the end but part of the issue was our offense wasn't getting the job done and let NM have too much time to make a come back. That's were my gripe comes in. With about 3-4 minutes left in the game on our last offensive drive we started running the ball as if we could run out the clock. It was just like the previous seasons under Fran when we knew we pretty much had the game in hand and our offense just lays down and quits passing. The attitude appears to be, we know we are going to win so why try for another TD. I understand the rational is to supposedly play it safe by keeping the ball on the ground. But inevitably we have to punt and next thing you know the other team, with nothing to loose, starts playing like a champ and gets in a position to even up or beat our score. How safe is that? I know our passing isn’t great but it’s got to be there cause if they don’t respect it they’ll load up against the run, just like Saturday, and stop us every time. Frankly, I think we need a healthy dose of the old Steve Spurrier/Florida attitude of keep scoring, keep scoring and keep scoring some more. Yeah I know Spurrier ran up the score unnecessarily but d@mn it he won games. And, if he was ahead, he never let the other team have a chance to get back in the game ever. On a final note, given the circumstances, I think Johnson did an admirable job stepping in at QB. I know his numbers weren’t great but he was accurate when he did pass and he didn’t make mistakes and throw interceptions. Also, I don’t recall seeing him miss possible throws to open receivers because they simply were not open on the occasions when he had to throw away the ball. I suspect that was a big part of McGee’s problem against ASU. Fuller also made some great catches. I’m glad to see him making an immediate impact at WR seeing as how he is a true freshman.
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Posted by: WHYNOT On: 9/7/2008

Comment Title: Too, Generous....
That's right ! Robert you're too, generous ?? Many of us would seem to differ ! I've seen better high school games better than the way our Aggies played. It stunk ! Sure hate to fail them even though we won...I'm beginning to wonder IF we should go to a division II; at this point I even think TAMU-Kingville could beat us !
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Posted by: On: 9/7/2008

Comment Title: McGee is not the Problem
Since Bucky Richardson left, Aggie fans have always seemed to desire the backup quarterback over the starter. Think about this: what are the odds that all of our starting quarterbacks have been worse than their backups for the past 16 years? Johnson did okay, but he did not appear to be better than McGee, to me. Like McGee, Johnson spent most of the game being chased and throwing the ball away. In fact, we received one intentional grounding penalty, and narrowly missed receiving another (the officials explained to the crowd their correct decision to waive the call). If you are deceived by the three touchdown passes, let me point out that two of our three touchdown drives were only for about 20 yards. Also, Johnson passed for a whopping 124 yards. I don't intend to be critical of Johnson, I think he is a good quarterback and that he will do well for TAMU. I like him, and I'm glad he's an Aggie. My point is that McGee is not bad, and our apparent quarterbacking deficiencies are actually largely due to other deficiencies (blocking, route running, play calling, coaching, etc.).
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Posted by: aggieboi On: 9/7/2008

Comment Title: Defense
I would give the Defense a C- Allowing a ton of yards against weak teams like Ark.St and NM is a big concern. Everyone praised Joe Kines work ethic, but his coaching sure has lots to be desired. It looks like another long season for Aggie faithful. I guess we are one to two years away from the "Wrecking Crew".
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Posted by: Jay Goode, Aggie class of '70 Plano, TX On: 9/7/2008

Comment Title: Jerrod Johnson looked good
He faced a horrendous pass rusn, yet QB Johnson looked poised. It is obvious that Johnson is the future of Sherman's offense. So why not start him?
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