Texas A&M damn near let it slip away in the last five minutes of the fourth quarter of their matchup with UCLA, but the aggressive playcalling from Mazzone and Sumlin in overtime allowed the Aggies to leave the Home of the 12th Man with an opening week win.
Josh Rosen, the talented UCLA sophomore quarterback, was 26-46 for 343 yards, three picks and a touchdown. Ultimately, it was the turnovers that proved to be the downfall for UCLA's burgeoning offense, although A&M's relentless and stingy defense did all they could to make it as much of a game as possible.
A&M improves to 1-0 on the season in a possibly make-or-break year for head coach Kevin Sumlin. The leash is short and he will have little room for error as his team's schedule will only get more difficult. A win against a Top 25 at home is a nice start, though.
Here's what we learned...
A&M has a vastly improved running game: While Texas A&M's offense will never be confused for Power I under Kevin Sumlin, the near 200 rushing yards the Aggies accrued at the hands of Traveyon Williams, Keith Ford and a little bit of Trevor Knight, were a definite step in the right direction for a team who hasn't had much of an identity in the run game. The three rushing TDs for the offense against a stout Bruins D bears that out. With Noel Mazzone directing things now, look for this Aggie offense to have a new wrinkle (and possible strength) to its offense.
Trevor Knight and the passing game have a way to go: Trevor Knight had some definite "Sugar Bowl"-esque moments of cockeyed brilliance, including a possibly ill-advised pass that Mr. Dependable Josh Reynolds hauled in for a touchdown, but you can certainly tell his effectiveness in this offense has a ways to go. Interestingly enough, the Aggies still have an embarrassment of riches when it comes to receiver, yet all, but Reynolds, were somewhat underwhelming. It's a team effort and the Knight will need his talented guys on the edge to help him out a little more.
This is becoming a John Chavis Defense: Did you see fast defense wreaking havoc for most of the game? This is what they call a "John Chavis Defense". Chavis has some real bruisers on the edge in Myles Garrett and Daeshon Hall, but the Aggie D got plenty of help from its swashbuckling secondary and deceptively quick linebackers, both hallmarks of a Chavis defense. If the Aggies offense can catch up a little, this Texas A&M team could be a team to watch in the SEC West.