The Texas A&M Aggies lost to the Ole Miss Rebels at Oxford 19-29. Now, the Aggies are 7-3 and have lost their SEC Championship hopes. This game felt quite similar to Texas A&M’s matchups against Arkansas and Mississippi State. Mistakes and the inability to capitalize in the first half led the Aggies to lose this game against the Rebels. Here’s a quarter-by-quarter analysis of how and why Texas A&M fell short to Ole Miss on Saturday night.
Quarter 1: Ole Miss Starts Off Strong
Texas A&M’s offensive struggles in the first half started from the very first snap. On the Aggies’ first drive, Jimbo Fisher chose to rely on Zach Calzada‘s arm, and it cost the Aggies’ offense. A defensive offside kept Texas A&M on the field, but two incompletions by Calzada forced the Aggies to punt.
Isaiah Spiller got some more touches during Texas A&M’s second drive. However, a false start penalty and drops by Ainias Smith and Caleb Chapman led the Aggies to fourth down yet again. Texas A&M’s offense was rarely on the field in the first half. In fact, they only had one play in the Rebels’ territory during the half.
The Aggies’ third drive was more of the same, but a positive was receiver Demond Demas finally getting some action. He had a play for 12 yards and a first down, and this forced the Rebels’ secondary to play a bit back and be less aggressive on Jalen Wydermyer. Ole Miss’s defense had to account for all of Texas A&M’s receivers.
As expected, the first drive was all Matt Corral for Ole Miss. Corral had two big completions to Dontario Drummond and Braylon Sanders on this drive. Corral’s main weapon is Drummond, and the Aggies came into this game focused on limiting him. Ole Miss got into the red zone, but two short runs by Jerrion Ealy forced the Rebels to settle for a field goal.
Ealy started Ole Miss’s second drive with a big run for 25 yards. Henry Parrish Jr. also got involved with two runs for 30 yards. The Rebels got into the red zone yet again, but an offensive holding penalty pushed them back. Lane Kiffin, as always, chose to go for it on fourth down, and Corral threw a nice in route to Drummond for the touchdown.
Ole Miss’s third drive was a quick three-and-out. This was a good sign for Texas A&M’s defense, for the defensive front finally seemed to regain control on the line of scrimmage.
The Rebels’ fourth drive looked promising, and Corral had a couple of completions to Jahcour Pearson to get Ole Miss into Texas A&M’s territory. Corral was later sacked by Yulkeith Brown, forcing a fumble and giving the ball back to the Aggies.
Texas A&M went into the second quarter down 0-10 to Ole Miss.
Quarter 2: Texas A&M’s Offense Can’t Get Going
Calzada’s struggles continued during the Aggies’ fourth drive. After a nice completion to Smith, Calzada held the ball for too long and couldn’t make an accurate throw to Demas. A short throw on third-and-long to Smith led Texas A&M to punt again.
The Aggies went three-and-out on their fifth drive. Texas A&M’s offense is so inconsistent in that they are either firing on all cylinders or, can’t even get started there is no in-between. Honestly, Texas A&M got lucky that Kiffin was greedy on offense and Ole Miss failed to convert multiple times in the red zone.
Texas A&M was pushed back near its end zone on its sixth drive. On the first play, Spiller was brought down for a loss in the end zone, resulting in a safety. Ole Miss’s defensive line was dominant against Texas A&M’s offensive line in the first half. Spiller and Devon Achane just couldn’t get any space.
Spiller ran the ball for 15 yards to lead the Aggies into the end of the half. Texas A&M was scoreless in the first half.
Ole Miss’s fifth drive started at its 10-yard line. The Rebels’ first play was a 50-yard rush by Ealy to get down to Texas A&M’s 40-yard line. Ole Miss got down to the Aggies one-yard line, but another fumble by Corral put the Rebels in third-and-long, and Ole Miss had to settle for a field goal.
Yet again, the Rebels’ offense moved down the field on their sixth drive. Snoop Conner had more carries, and he had five rushes for 30 yards. Once again, Ole Miss got down to the one, but Texas A&M’s defensive front did a great job holding up Conner.
Ole Miss got past midfield on its seventh drive. The Rebels’ offense just again collapsed after reaching Texas A&M’s territory. While Texas A&M’s defense did not have its best performance, the defense was a big reason for the Aggies staying in the game.
Texas A&M finished the first half down 0-15 to Ole Miss.
Quarter 3: Aggies’ Offense Gets Rolling
Texas A&M got its play-action game going on its eighth drive. Chapman had a couple of catches on this drive, and Spiller finally got the Aggies in the red zone. However, Calzada was unable to connect with Wydermyer on third down, and Texas A&M had to kick a field goal.
After a fumble by Ole Miss, the Aggies had to capitalize on the opportunity. Achane had two rushes for 20 yards, and Demas and Wydermyer each had two receptions. Achane scored the first touchdown for Texas A&M from 25 yards out.
The Aggies’ first play of their 10th drive was a rush for nine yards by Spiller. Texas A&M again looked like they were about to drive down the field, but Ole Miss’s defense had two consecutive stops for no gain. On fourth-and-short, Jimbo Fisher chose to punt.
Ole Miss’s eighth drive was a three-and-out; the Rebels’ offense looked stagnant and out of sync in the second half.
Defensive penalties by Texas A&M allowed Ole Miss’s offense to get past midfield. A fumble by Ealy due to a miscommunication by him and Corral led the Rebels to punt again.
Ole Miss started its 10th drive with a good field position near the 50. A controversial late hit call allowed the Rebels to get near the red zone. On fourth down, Ole Miss went for a fake field goal, but Texas A&M’s special teams were able to force a turnover on downs.
Texas A&M entered the fourth quarter down 10-15.
Quarter 4: Ole Miss’s Defense Finishes It
Texas A&M’s 11th drive was long, primarily due to big completions to Smith and Wydermyer, each for over 15 yards. Achane also had a big run for more than 20 yards on third down. A miscommunication on third down and personal foul penalty by Texas A&M led to Seth Small kicking another field goal.
The Aggies began their 12th drive backed up in their territory. Demas bobbled a pass from Calzada, and Ole Miss ended up intercepting the pass in the red zone.
Ole Miss’s defense returned an interception for a touchdown on Texas A&M’s 13th drive. This play late in the fourth quarter essentially put the game out of reach for Texas A&M.
Texas A&M scored a touchdown on its 14th drive, but it was too little too late. The failure to convert on the two-point conversion ended the Aggies’ comeback attempt.
The Aggies’ last drive was a turnover of downs, gaining zero yards. Another pitiful performance by Texas A&M’s offense.
Ole Miss’s 12th drive was prolonged, but it again resulted in no points. Ealy had big rushes, but the Rebels’ passing offense was not effective in the fourth quarter.
The Rebels started their 13th drive in the red zone after the interception. Conner ran it in from 15 yards out to put Ole Miss up by two scores.
Ole Miss’s final drive was an attempt to run out the clock. It was successful as Texas A&M had to use all of its timeouts, and a kneel-down ended the game.
Texas A&M ended the game with a loss to Ole Miss 19-29.
Texas A&M now falls to 7-3 after yet another disappointing performance, ending its four-game winning streak. The Aggies must perform at a high level to make a NY6 bowl, but those hopes appear to be slim now. This was supposed to be a promising season for Texas A&M, but slip-ups against weaker teams led them to this point.