The Texas A&M Aggies looked impressive on Saturday in their win against the New Mexico Lobos. The Aggies’ defense came to play, and the offense was finally in rhythm. Although Texas A&M was a heavy favorite over New Mexico, it was clear that the Aggies made improvements from the Colorado game. Check out a quarter-by-quarter analysis of the Aggies’ 34-0 win over the Lobos.
Quarter 1: Aggies come out Rolling
Caleb Chapman was declared out of today’s game, but other young receivers stepped up early. Ainias Smith had a 40-yard punt return, which put the Aggies in great field position for their first drive. Zach Calzada also played well in the first drive; he had two completions, one to Chase Lane and another a touchdown to Devon Achane.
Finally, Demond Demas got in action. After a false start penalty to start the second drive, Calzada threw a beautiful deep ball to Demas for a 75-yard touchdown. Granted, Demas was wide open, but Calzada was finally showing his true strength.
Isaiah Spiller was shut down by the Lobos. Offensive line issues appeared to persist, but Calzada looked poised in the pocket; that’s what one week of first-team reps can do for you. Lane and Jalen Wydermyer got the ball during the third drive, but it ended in a three-and-out due to pressure from New Mexico. The Lobos controlled the line of scrimmage on the defensive front in the first quarter.
Devon Achane ran for 20 yards to start the fourth drive, but the Aggies proceeded to hold themselves back. A negative run by Achane and a sack by the Lobos’ defense forced the Aggies to punt.
The defense secondary shut down the Lobos’ passing game early. Terry Wilson completed less than 50% of his passes in the first quarter; he was the primary rusher for the Lobos in the first half of the quarter. Bobby Cole didn’t get going to start the game, but Trace Bruckler had a few receptions.
Aaron Dumas had a 16-yard run straight up the gut to start the Lobos’ third drive. Wilson threw some dangerous passes, so New Mexico went back to the running game. The Aggies’ defensive front struggled to stop Dumas when he ran up the middle. After moving the ball close to midfield on each drive in the quarter, the Lobos were forced to punt due to bad decisions.
Texas A&M finished the quarter with a 14-0 lead over New Mexico.
Quarter 2: Slow-Paced Game
The Aggies began their fifth drive near midfield. Chase Lane dropped a good ball from Calzada, however, Spiller had a 10-yard run for a first down. Spiller was used as a decoy in this game behind the likes of Achane. Calzada showed his arm strength with a Mahomes-like throw to Demas, but he was unable to secure it.
Whenever Calzada found time in the pocket, he found his receivers open in the middle of the field. It was clear that he and Lane found some chemistry, and that should improve over the season. Spiller appeared to be injured after a run in the red zone, which was not a pleasant sight to Aggies’ fans. However, he finished the drive with a five-yard rushing touchdown. This was his 11th touchdown in the past 11 games.
Wow, Ainias Smith. He had another impressive punt return for 50 yards, but it was called back since his right elbow hit the ground. Jimbo Fisher was also frustrated with the slow development of offensive plays in the second quarter.
Moose Muhammad had his first career catch for the Aggies on their sixth drive. Wydermyer caught a great back-shoulder throw from Calzada. The wide receiver screenplays didn’t really work for A&M, yet Fisher continued to call them. The Aggies faced fourth down after Wydermyer was short of the line to gain. Seth Small hit a 36-yard field goal to cap off the drive.
Michael Clemons nearly got a safety for the Aggies, but Wilson got the ball out at the last second. Wilson had a good pass on the sideline to Zarak Scruggs Jr. The Lobos continued to struggle on third down. Wilson started to see some pressure, and Mannie Logan-Greene was unable to create any separation. New Mexico punted yet again on its fifth drive.
On the Lobos’ sixth drive, they tried to take the passing game to the outside for more yardage. The Aggies’ defense played it well, and they got another sack on Wilson to end the drive.
New Mexico attempted to run the two-minute drill on the seventh drive, but the Lobos ended up letting the game go to halftime.
Texas A&M went up 24-0 heading into halftime against New Mexico.
Quarter 3: Aggies Calm Their Storm
Texas A&M began the second half with the ball. Achane brought the ball near the 40-yard line with a kick return. Calzada started with a pass to Demas for 30 yards, which got A&M near the red zone. Again, bad decision-making by Calzada on the seventh drive forced the Aggies to settle for a field goal. Seth Small hit it from 44 yards out.
Spiller began the Aggies’ eighth drive with a quick run to the outside. If the Aggies’ offensive line can play similar to that of last year, Spiller will have another big season. Freshman Devin Price caught his first pass for a first down. Calzada took another sack and an interception to end the drive. This was New Mexico’s ninth straight game with a takeaway.
The Aggies began their ninth drive inside the 10, they kept the ball on the ground. Calzada made some good throws running to his right, and he got Texas A&M back into the red zone. Muhammad ended the drive with a nice one-handed catch on the left side of the end zone.
New Mexico didn’t have a single play in the opponent’s territory during the first half. Luke Wysong got some more touches on the ground during the Lobos’ eighth drive. While another incompletion by Wilson on the third down led the Aggies to punt. The Aggies’ secondary proved to be one of the best in the nation today.
The Lobos started the ninth drive in the Aggies’ territory thanks to Tavian Combs’ interception. Mannie Logan-Greene caught a good ball from Wilson to finally convert on third down. Of course, New Mexico proceeded to get a false start penalty. Texas A&M’s front seven was able to limit the running game. The Aggies’ defense forced a fourth down with an all-out blitz on Wilson.
DeMarvin Leal sacked Wilson on the Lobos’ first play of their tenth drive. They dropped a wide receiver screen and made it clear that the New Mexico offense was never really in the game. Yet again, the Lobos had to punt it back.
Texas A&M extended their lead to 34-0 over New Mexico going into the fourth quarter.
Fourth Quarter: Aggies Finish it Off Strong
The Aggies started their tenth drive near midfield. Achane continued to be a star in this game, as he caught a pass on the left side and took it past midfield for a first down. There were many false starts penalties committed by the Aggies in this game. The Aggies again had to punt after being backed up near midfield.
Unfortunately, the offense didn’t look all that impressive in the fourth quarter. Calzada continued to be inaccurate. It appeared that the Aggies were just trying to run out the clock. While Calzada took too many sacks; there’s no use of him holding on to the ball for that long.
After getting the ball in the RedZone from an interception by the defense, Texas A&M was forced to kick a field goal due to a three-and-out. Seth Small missed the field goal from 37 yards due to a bad snap.
The Texas A&M defense continued to shut down the Lobos’ offense. New Mexico had another three-and-out on their eleventh drive.
On the following drive, Wilson threw an interception to Edgerrin Cooper, and the Aggies’ offense had a good field position in the RedZone.
New Mexico was finally able to move the ball during its last drive of the game. Jimbo Fisher inserted his second defensive unit, who was able to force a fourth down near midfield.
Texas A&M deserves credit for their big victory over New Mexico. However, silly mistakes made on the offensive side need to be improved upon before the Arkansas game. Jimbo Fisher looked upset with some of Calzada’s throws. Calzada clearly needs to communicate better. Changes need to be made immediately.
On the defensive side, things couldn’t be better. This type of performance has to carry over into SEC play. The middle of the defensive line might need some improvement, but that just comes down to physicality. Aggies need to be fully prepared for next week.