Texas A&M Football: What Win Over Arkansas Means for the Aggies
Texas A&M entered Saturday's game looking to prove that they are no fluke against a talented Arkansas squad trying to rescue their season. For the Aggies, their mission was emphatically accomplished.
A&M collected their first SEC win after completely dismantling the Razorbacks 58-10 in front on 86,442 screaming fans in College Station. This undoubtedly caught the attention of the rest of the SEC and established A&M as a force to be reckoned with.
See what this win means for the Aggies as they prepare to play five or six of their next games on the road, and let us know what you think in the comments below!
The Aggies Belong in the SEC
Despite all the excitement surrounding the Aggies move to the SEC, many experts expected them to struggle to compete in the nation's toughest conference. They were wrong.
After a narrow season opening loss to Florida, some remained cynical and blamed the game on everything from a weak Florida team to the Aggies simply catching a superior opponent by surprise with a new quarterback. Now Florida remains undefeated, and Texas A&M has blown out every opponent since. They were wrong.
By blowing out a heavyweight program like Arkansas, the Aggies did much more than collect a win, they made a statement. The new kids in the SEC aren't here just to admire the talent, they're here to win now.
Johnny Manziel Is Deserving of National Attention
Much has been said and written about "Johnny Football" this year, and he deserves every bit of attention he gets.
On Saturday, the freshman quarterback set the Texas A&M single-game passing record (453) and total offense record (557). He leads the Aggies in rushing and has shown steady improvement in every game.
Against Arkansas, he showed much more patience in the pocket than in previous weeks. Instead of continuing to just tuck the ball and run, he began to look like a seasoned quarterback as he dropped back and progressed through his reads long enough to find open receivers.
When Arkansas responded by dropping back extra defenders to protect against the pass, Manziel made them pay with his feet, rushing for 104 yards. He did all of this without any turnovers and has yet to turn the ball over this year.
As long as he stays healthy and continues to play intelligent, turnover-free football, the sky is the limit for Johnny Manziel.
The Aggie Offense Can Do More Than Just Pass
With the record-breaking passing attack seen Saturday, the Aggies trio of running backs (Ben Malena, Christine Michael and Trey Williams) received a limited number of carries.
Despite that these backs did not disappoint, running for 116 yards on only 17 attempts. All three looked impressive and provided quality and depth to a position that will become more critical to the Aggies' success as the season continues.
The Aggies Might Have a Kicking Problem
Even though it had zero effect on the games outcome, freshman kicker Taylor Bertolet looked a little shaky. Despite making three of five field goals, he missed from distances of 36 and 39 yards and is only four of seven on field goal attempts this year.
While this is not a problem yet, as the games get closer and the pressure gets higher, it will be important to see how Bertolet responds.
The Defense Is Scrappy, but Far from Perfect
Arkansas quarterback Tyler Wilson threw for 373 yards, star receiver Cobi Hamilton has 162 yards receiving and talented running back Knile Davis accounted for 129 yards. Normally this would be a recipe for success for the Razorbacks, but instead they were held scoreless after the first quarter.
The Texas A&M defense never looked dominating, and at times even appeared outmatched, yet they continued to play aggressively.
They collected three turnovers, Damontre Moore provided consistent pressure, and most importantly they were able to get off the field and get the ball back to their high-powered offense. The Aggie red zone defense was especially impressive, holding Arkansas to one of five attempts.
These Are Not Your 2011 Aggies
After entering halftime with a 27-10 lead, Texas A&M was in a very familiar position. Last year under Mike Sherman, the Aggies made a name for themselves by building big leads and then becoming complacent and conservative.
This year, head coach Kevin Sumlin has brought an entirely new confidence and swagger to Aggieland. Instead of tapping the brakes and trying to run out the clock, the Aggies began the second half with guns blazing on both sides of the ball Saturday. They outscored Arkansas 17-0 in the third quarter and 31-0 after halftime.
Overall, the Aggies have outscored their opponents 45-6 in the third quarter so far and have shown no resemblance to the disappointing 2011 squad.
A&M Is Not an SEC Bottomfeeder
Here are my SEC rankings after Week 5:
4. South Carolina
6. Texas A&M
8. Mississippi State
10. Ole Miss
Hit the comments below to let us know what you think, but it's apparent that Texas A&M is much more competitive than most predicted.
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