The Texas A&M Aggies lost to the Mississippi State Bulldogs 24-42. The Aggies are now 1-1 in conference play, and they will travel to Tuscaloosa to face Alabama next Saturday. While Texas A&M already struggled in a lot of areas, the team showed more weaknesses today on both sides of the ball. Now, there is doubt as to whether or not the Aggies can go .500 in SEC competition. Here’s a quick recap of Texas A&M’s defeat in Starkville against Mississippi State.
Defense Gets Exposed
Will Rogers diced up the Aggies’ secondary on Saturday. He finished with three touchdowns and more than 300 passing yards. Texas A&M really played to the strength of Mike Leach‘s offense by running a three-man front. That was definitely a questionable decision by D.J. Durkin, one that cost the Aggies this game.
The field goal block returned for a touchdown is really what began to put the game out of reach for Texas A&M. The secondary had no answer for Rara Thomas, who had five receptions for 134 yards. The Bulldogs struggled in the running game during the first four weeks, but Dillon Johnson and Jo’quavious Marks combined for more than 100 rushing yards and a touchdown.
Everyone thought that this year’s defense would be the center stone of the team, but that was disproved today. Fans should now see the impact of losing Mike Elko to Duke. The game plan for each week should be adjusted according to the play style of the quarterback and offensive coordinator. Clearly, that was not taken into account during practice.
Obviously, Mississippi State’s offense deserves a lot of credit for this blowout win, but the Aggies do have better talent: plain and simple. It’s even worse than not much changed on the other side of the ball.
Offense Improves, but Not Great
Initially, most fans thought losing Ainias Smith would have a devastating effect on the passing game. That seemed to be the case in the first half, but A&M’s offense got more comfortable throughout the game.
It’s almost certain that Max Johnson should’ve been the starter over Haynes King to start the season. Johnson went out temporarily after taking a shot to his throwing arm, and King proceeded to throw two interceptions. A lot of blame for the Appalachian State loss still goes on King, and it could’ve been a different type of offense if Johnson got more time in the first few games. Honestly, it’s still hard to imagine if that decision could have changed the outcome today.
Regardless of mistakes, it all comes down to play calling. Jimbo Fisher continues to refuse to hand over his playcalling privileges, and the Aggies haven’t scored more than 31 points yet this season. In fact, Texas A&M is one of the lowest scoring offenses in the FBS.
Devon Achane continues to be an absolute beast, finishing with more than 110 rushing yards and six receptions. It was nice to see Moose Muhammad III back in form, and he was Johnson’s primary target. Still, more guys have to step up in Smith’s absence for the Aggies to even have a chance in the rest of their games.
After five games, the Texas A&M Aggies are 3-2 just like last season. They ended up shocking the world by beating Alabama in 2021, and the Aggies could do the same next week. Texas A&M has now lost two consecutive games to Mississippi State, which is definitely surprising and should not happen. Fans can hope for change and improvement, but it’s likely to only get worse as the level of opponent improves during the month of October. Let’s see if the Aggies can bounce back from a tough start.