The Texas A&M Aggies defeated the Ole Miss Rebels 38-24 on Saturday, securing bowl eligibility for the tenth straight season. After losing two consecutive road games against Mississippi State and Auburn, the Aggies picked up a win at Kyle Field- their first since October of 2015- restoring hope for the future of this team and grabbing bowl eligibility in the process. The final two games of the regular season will be at home and the Aggies look to add to the win column on their 6-4 record. Here is what the Aggies did well on Saturday and what they must improve upon for the future.
The Aggies continued dominating the time of possession against Ole Miss, something they have done well all season. Texas A&M held possession for 37:01, leaving the Rebels with only 22:59. This difference was due to the Aggies’ ability to successfully run the ball, which brings me to the next point: Trayveon Williams.
Williams led the Aggies to victory, rushing for 228 yards on 31 carries with a touchdown. He has made the difference for the Aggies offensively all season: Williams has rushed for over 100 yards in five of their six wins. After Saturday’s win, Williams totaled 1159 yards on the season, taking the lead in SEC rushing. His performance earned him the title of SEC Co-Offensive Player of the Week. The outcome of the last two games will depend on Williams’ productivity and ability to create on offense.
Texas A&M showed perseverance after starting the second half tied at 14. The inability to finish is what cost the Aggies in the past two losses, but how they responded to that issue resulted in a win this time around. Scoring 17 points in the fourth quarter, a time where they have struggled in recent weeks, made all the difference for Texas A&M and aggressiveness throughout the entirety of the game paid off. Ability to finish was a huge question mark coming into this game following the blown ten-point lead in the loss to Auburn, but the Aggies proved they had an answer.
The Texas A&M run defense was unyielding while the pass defense struggled. The Aggies allowed only 67 rushing yards, yet gave up 373 passing yards. Although quarterback Jordan Ta’amu leads the SEC in passing yards, pass defense has been an ongoing issue throughout the season. While the rush defense leads the SEC, pass defense is ranked 11, so the Aggies must narrow the gap moving forward.
Braden Mann has been a special teams weapon all season for the Aggies with an average of 51 yards per punt, an SEC high. He averaged 47.8 yards on four punts against Ole Miss with a long of 63. Mann was named SEC Special Teams Player of the Week after tying the NCAA record of 13 punts for 60 or more yards. His ability to maintain the yardage he has put up for the Aggies this season will certainly have an impact throughout the final two games.
The Aggies host the UAB Blazers this Saturday at 6:00. That game will include Senior Night celebrations. Then they host the LSU Tigers for their final game of the regular season on November 24.
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