Texas A&M Football: Winners and Losers from Week 6 Game vs. Ole Miss
The Texas A&M football team beat the Ole Miss Rebels, 30-27, in a come-from-behind victory. The Aggies did everything possible to try to lose the game, but they dug down and found a way to win it in the end.
When you go on the road in the Southeastern Conference, you need to limit turnovers in order to win the game. The Aggies committed six turnovers, which would normally spell defeat. Johnny Manziel committed some late-game heroics and took victory from the jaws of defeat.
The victory moved the Ags to 4-1 on the season and 2-1 in the conference. The Rebels dropped to 3-3 overall and 0-2 in the SEC.
This is a look at the winners and the losers from the Ole Miss game.
Winner: Kevin Sumlin
When a team commits six turnovers and wins the game, that means that the team did not quit. It has taken less than a year for Kevin Sumlin to instill a "never give up" attitude with the Texas A&M football team.
The squad has obviously bought into what Sumlin is preaching. They had every reason to give up in the game against Ole Miss. They could have accepted that it was not their day and gone through the motions until the clock ran out.
Instead, they continued to fight and found a way to win. When a team starts believing and trusting in their coaches, and the coaches are good at their job, that becomes a very dangerous team.
Loser: Aggie Secondary
For the second game in a row, the Aggies struggled mightily against the pass. It appears that Aggie defensive coordinator Mark Snyder is going to stick with his soft-zone concept as long as the Aggies keep winning games.
A&M allowed 305 total passing yards and 15.2 yards per completion to a team that had not surpassed 150 yards passing in their past two games.
De'Vante Harris had some issues early on with the physical nature of the Ole Miss receivers. The Aggie defensive backs have to get used to it, because the SEC is a physical league. The refs are going to allow contact while the ball is in the air.
The Aggies need to get their secondary issues sorted out, because Louisiana Tech has a prolific passing offense.
Winner: RB Ben Malena
Junior running back Ben Malena had 18 carries for 142 yards and a touchdown against the Rebels. It was his first career 100-yard game.
Malena is proving each week that he is an SEC-quality running back. He took a handoff and raced 59 yards for a touchdown on the second play of the game. He had a 50-yard touchdown run against South Carolina State.
He has shown breakaway speed this year to go along with great power. The Ole Miss game marks the first SEC game of the season where Malena did not knock an opposing defensive back out of the game.
Malena has gone from an afterthought entering the season to one of the Ags' best offensive weapons.
Loser: QB Johnny Manziel
Redshirt freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel made great strides during the Arkansas game. He spent the second and third quarter going through his progressions and picking the Arkansas secondary apart.
He regressed against Ole Miss. Manziel had all day to throw the ball yet ignored multiple wide-open receivers. He played his worst game as an Aggie.
Manziel completed 17 of 26 passes for 191 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. He also fumbled the ball. He rushed for 129 yards but had 50 yards in losses.
It is understandable that as a freshman he is going to make mistakes. He needs to learn that you cannot throw the ball back over the middle against an SEC defense. The interception that he threw when scrambling to the left and then heaving it downfield will be a great learning tool.
It is a process with Manziel, and Aggie fans needs to be patient, but he needs to stop trying to make the impossible play and start taking what the defense is giving him.
Winner: The Legend of Johnny Manziel
Last week, Manziel broke Archie Manning's SEC record for total yardage in a game. This week, he ripped the hearts out of the Ole Miss fans by leading a comeback from 10 points behind with six minutes and 24 seconds left in the game.
Manziel played a bad game but in the end led his teammates to an SEC road win. This performance will make his teammates believe in him in the future. They will know that they are never out of the game no matter what the score is.
Manziel has endeared himself to fans and his teammates with the win. It was ugly on the field, but he found a way to get it done.
Loser: PR Dustin Harris
Dustin Harris has been a sure-handed punt returner for the first four games of the season. Against Ole Miss, the ghosts of years past returned and he muffed a punt, which gave the Rebels possession of the ball at the Aggies' 5-yard line.
Ole Miss scored on that possession to take a 27-17 lead. Harris is going to make the NFL based on his special teams play. He needs to show scouts that he can be counted on to field a punt.
If he cannot get it done, then Sumlin will find someone who can.
Winner: WR Mike Evans
Redshirt freshman wide receiver Mike Evans' 32-yard reception on 3rd-and-19 from the Aggies' 3-yard line is the play of the season so far for A&M.
Evans reached over the Ole Miss defensive back to steal the ball from him. It was an NFL-type play. Evans had eight receptions for 105 yards in the game. He is quickly becoming one of the better receivers in the SEC.
Loser: OLB Donnie Baggs
Sophomore outside linebacker Donnie Baggs was very effective against Arkansas when the Aggies spent most of the game in their nickel defense. Against Mississippi, Baggs struggled to make a difference on the field.
He only registered two tackles for the game. The defense played better when Jonathan Stewart was on the field and in their base 4-3 alignment than when Baggs was on the field in the nickel.
He simply needs to play better going forward.
Winner: Offensive Line
The Aggies offensive line played a tremendous game against Ole Miss. They gave Manziel plenty of time to find receivers in the passing game. They also dominated at the point of attack in the running game.
Manziel was sacked because he refused to throw the ball to his open teammates. There was a play where Manziel had at least seven seconds to pass and did not throw the ball.
When the Ags needed to make plays, the O-line opened huge holes for Malena and Manziel to run through.
Winner: Ole Miss Program
Ole Miss has a good coach in Hugh Freeze. He has made more progress quicker than anyone thought possible at Ole Miss. The Rebels are a threat to go to a bowl game.
The roster is undersized right now and simply short on scholarship athletes. When Freeze can get a full allotment of 85 players in Oxford, the Rebel fans will have a lot to cheer about on the field.
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