The Texas A&M Aggies trailed Louisiana-Lafayette by a 21-14 score at halftime before shutting out the Ragin’ Cajuns in the second half on their way to a 45-21 victory.
Two first-half turnovers by the Aggies led to Louisiana-Lafayette touchdowns. On the other end, the Aggies turned great field position after a Cajun fumble at their own 18 into no points. Fans rained down boos as they went to the locker room trailing by a touchdown, and one Aggie Will Gunnell decided to give a two-finger salute to the crowd (for which he later apologized.)
But the Aggies eventually prevailed, outscoring Louisiana-Lafayette 31-0 in the second half. Kellen Mond finished the day 21-of-34 passing for 301 yards with 3 touchdowns and an interception; true freshman Jacob Kibodi carried 4 times for 101 yards and a TD. Here are three things we learned.
Despite the margin, this wasn’t a good performance
Texas A&M averaged 6.4 yards per play — against one of the worst defenses in the country. It’s never a good sign when you win by 24 points when the other team isn’t playing much defense and also is committing a ton of mistakes. The Ragin’ Cajuns committed five turnovers — one of which erased a scoring opportunity, and another of which was returned for a touchdown. When that’s happening against a bad team, you should be winning by a lot more than 24 points.
But this was the same brand of unimpressive performance that plagued the Aggies last week against Nicholls State. Kellen Mond looked somewhat better passing the ball — but against a porous defense, the Aggies averaged just 4.5 yards per carry on the ground. That’s unacceptable against most defenses, never mind one of the worst in Division I.
If you’re looking for an excuse, it’s injuries
Of course, the fact that Mond was playing might well have just been because Jake Hubenak was injured. Top RB Trayveon Williams didn’t play, either (though Jacob Kibodi provided some explosiveness, albeit on just four carries.)
Then again, pointing to what might be the fourth-stringer at running back as a bright spot probably isn’t a great sign.
That said, this season isn’t a disaster — yet
The Aggies blew a huge lead against UCLA, and looked unimpressive against Nicholls State and Louisiana-Lafayette — but they’re still 2-1. This team hasn’t looked great, but with the next three games being Arkansas in Arlington followed by South Carolina and Alabama at home, there’s a pretty quick opportunity to turn the season around. But most people seem to be already writing off Kevin Sumlin and the Aggies.