I'll Take It, Part II
When it comes to conference games, a win's a win, right? The Aggies weren't pretty this past Saturday, but they did manage to get a key win in the conference road opener and moved within a single win of becoming bowl eligible. These are all steps in the right direction with another opportunity for a statement game coming up this weekend against a solid Missouri team. Both the Tigers and the Aggies are solid contenders for the Manning/Palmer memorial trophy presented to the team that shows the most improvement following the graduation of a star quarterback.
Looking back though at the Kansas game, the story has to be wasted opportunities and one clutch drive to win the game. The defense played their best game to date and Jorvorskie Lane continues to be Jorvorskie Lane. Some other random musings:
-I don't like to call individual players out in this space, so I won't name names, but one of our offensive linemen was just bad on Saturday. The painful part wasn't that he was being beat physically, but rather that he was consistently beating himself mentally. Hopefully the coaching staff will get this straightened out this week in practice and the individual will be ready to play this week.
-It was really good to see Martellus Bennett getting involved in the passing game once again, especially early in the game. I wish though that I knew where the vertical passing game is hiding as the Aggies will need it down the stretch.
-Right now I would say that Chris Harrington is the best defensive lineman on this team. His ability to get pressure throughout the game cut down on the time that the back seven needed to hold coverage and made the whole defense look better.
-When Cornish was able to get through a hole in the line he absolutely gashed the defense, especially early in drives. This needs to improve before the Aggies face Adrian Peterson or Jamaal Charles.
-Justin Warren had what was probably his best game of the season and both Melvin Bullitt and Michael Bennett made big plays to kill potentially big running plays and sap momentum from drives. Kudos to both of them.
-The special teams were bad, bad, bad. KU's special teams on the other hand, were actually pretty good and of course, that only made it worse, leaving A&M with terrible field position all day. This was somewhat surprising as the Aggies have been solid all year in this area. Hopefully this was more of a blip and less of a sign of underlying weakness.
-Mike Goodson had a number of very nice runs. I have a feeling that he is going to be a heck of a player before he leaves Aggieland.
-I was impressed with McGee on the final drive of the game, but I do wish that when he throws the ball away he would throw it a little further out of bounds. In the last two games he has had three or four passes *almost* intercepted.
-The possession receivers were just that, possession receivers and it paid off big on the final drive as they played within themselves, took what the defense was giving and made the catches when given the opportunity. When this offense is clicking it is very, very hard to stop without bringing a heavy blitz (and opening oneself up to the goodness that could be Michael Goodson on the screen play).
The Heroes (and yes I'm skipping the special teams player this week, I just couldn't come with one, suggestions are welcome):
-Earvin Taylor who was visibly slowed by and injury suffered earlier this season. He gutted it out, making multiple catches including the slip screen that went for big yardage and put A&M in a position to go to the Jorvorskie smash for the win.
-Chris Harrington who found a way to get pressure on the Jayhawk quarterback at the biggest times and was the best all around lineman this week.
I'll be back later this week with a look ahead at what the Aggies could stand to do better against Missouri. Until then, with apologies to comedic genius Red Green, keep your stick on the ice.