The Texas A&M Aggies beat the Miami Hurricanes 17-9 at Kyle Field on Saturday night. Although A&M was favored, there was little to no confidence nationwide that the Aggies would win this game. Now, the team can look past the Appalachian State loss. Also, SEC play starts next Saturday. There are still a lot of areas to improve on both sides of the ball, but Texas A&M should be happy with 2-1 for now. Here’s a quick recap of the Texas A&M Aggies’ win over the Miami Hurricanes.
Texas A&M Beats Miami
Trusting your Star Players Works
After the Aggies ran less than 40 plays last week, it was clear that Jimbo Fisher wanted the ball in the hands of his best players. Evan Stewart and a few other freshmen were out on Saturday due to a team violation incident, but others stepped up in their place.
Devon Achane had 18 carries today. That’s the minimum amount he needs for Texas A&M to win in the coming weeks. He had over 120 combined receiving and rushing yards; honestly, without him, the Aggies probably don’t score more than 10 points in this game. Miami defensive coordinator Kevin Steele saw Achane as the focal point of the offense but he was also able to open up opportunities to other players.
Max Johnson didn’t play his best game today, but he made the throws that he needed to make. The biggest thing was that he didn’t turn the ball over, which is definitely a benefit when playing the Hurricanes. Although more of a pocket quarterback, he involved himself in the rushing game with over 20 yards. He and Ainias Smith connected four times for 74 yards, and the offense should look dangerous when Johnson looks comfortable and Stewart returns.
The offensive line showed improvement against Miami’s defensive front, but that group will need to be more consistent down the road to make the Aggies’ offense proficient. More than the quarterback position, the offensive line struggles are the reason that A&M can’t be more open on offense.
Defense Regained its Identity
Just think of the names on Miami’s offense. Tyler Van Dyke, Henry Parrish Jr., Will Mallory, etc., are not easy to stop. The Aggies’ defense limited that unit to nine points and forced a turnover. Miami is one of the top teams in the ACC, which should give Texas A&M the confidence that its defense can hold anyone down for four quarters.
Miami was better than Texas A&M in terms of yards gained, time of possession, and third down conversions. The key was that the Aggies got stops in the red zone, and the Hurricanes were unable to score a touchdown: only three field goals. Overall, this was a great effort, but the defense can improve on getting off the field earlier, especially in middle-of-the-field situations.
The rushing defense is still kind of a worry, for Parrish and Jaylan Knighton combined for almost 170 yards on the ground. Of course, Miami has a prolific rushing attack, but the Aggies will face a similar opponent in Arkansas next Saturday. It’s clear that the defensive line is not what it was last year. Although there’s still hope that the young talent can bloom soon.
These are a lot of constructive takeaways to consider, but in the end, the defense was the reason that the Aggies won. Defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin understands that his group is pivotal to A&M’s success, especially with the needed improvement on offense. Over time, there’s no question that the Aggies could have the best defense in the SEC in 2022.
Texas A&M’s win against a top-15 opponent in Miami is a great way to get past last week’s outcome. It will be interesting to see how Fisher continues to use Johnson and Haynes King, for it feels that neither of them earned their spot yet. Discipline is a factor that must be addressed in the Aggies’ locker room, and all the players should know it won’t get any easier from here. Thankfully, Texas A&M can still accomplish everything it wanted to at this point, and we will soon see how this squad reacts to high expectations.