Appalachian State Upsets Texas A&M

Texas A&M lost to Appalachian State 17-14 on Saturday. Check out why the Aggies came short in this Week Two matchup.

The Appalachian State Mountaineers defeated the Texas A&M Aggies 17-14 at Kyle Field. Texas A&M is now 1-1 and will face the Miami Hurricanes next week. A loss next Saturday could likely put the Aggies out of playoff contention. Rather than a full recap, let’s discuss the issues that Texas A&M had and how Appalachian State took advantage of those deficiencies.

Haynes King is Not Efficient

King’s struggles were discussed last week, but they were brought to the forefront in this matchup. King finished with less than 100 passing yards, and he could not move the ball on the Mountaineers’ defense. In fact, the Aggies’ offense only had two plays on the opposing side of the field. This stat is surprising considering that North Carolina put up 61 points on Appalachian State just last week.

The read option just didn’t seem to work between King and Devon Achane. The talent between those two players is undeniable, but their miscommunications resulted in lost yardage and a fumble. Regardless, the Mountaineers’ defensive front did a great job of controlling the line of scrimmage, especially against the run. 

Max Johnson put his helmet on a couple of times in this game, but he never threw a pass. In the end, it’s hard to imagine either Johnson or Connor Weigman would be much better. This is a reflection of Jimbo Fisher‘s quarterback development more than the mistakes at that position. 

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Offensive Miscues Continue

The offensive line had almost no success in this game. Granted, Texas A&M’s time of possession was limited, but King had little to no room in the pocket. As much as King deserves the blame, other players need to be held accountable. Even the screen plays were blown up behind the line due to missed blocks.  

The wide receiver group is still uncertain just like last year. Everyone sees the potential in guys like Evan Stewart, Yulkeith Brown, and Ainias Smith. While Smith is a trusted pass-catcher, Stewart had a fumble and Brown couldn’t make plays in the open field.

Finally, the Aggies need a reliable target at tight end. Both Donovan Green and Jake Johnson can play that role, and Darrell Dickey could use them to spread the offense. Otherwise, it appears that the defense knows what’s coming every play.  

Defense Can’t Hold Up

For all the hype regarding Texas A&M’s defense, that defense could not stop the run on Saturday. Although the Mountaineers’ starting running back was out, Camerun Peoples managed to have 19 carries for 112 yards. Starting quarterback Chase Brice was also proficient, but he had some overthrows on deep balls.

The point is that a great defense starts with stopping the run. If the Aggies can’t limit the Mountaineers, D.J. Durkin has to change a lot before facing the likes of Miami and other SEC teams. The Hurricanes’ passing is no doubt prolific, so the Texas A&M secondary will also have to improve. Communication and leadership are necessary for the defensive backfield.

There’s not much to complain about for the defensive front, and the rotation looks decent between the veterans and young talent. Still, the pass rush has to get to the quarterback more times than not. Once the backs get to the second level, A&M tends to lose the energy and power to tackle.

Concluding Thoughts

Of course, there are still positives to take away including Achane’s kick return for a touchdown and Stewart’s playmaking. However, losing against an unranked opponent at home makes it difficult to look on the bright side. Fisher will have to regroup his squad to avoid going below .500 after next Saturday. Otherwise, the final record this season could look much similar to last season.   

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