When the Texas A&M Aggies entered halftime of Saturday’s game against Louisiana-Lafayette trailing 21-14, tensions were at an all-time high for the players and fans alike.
However, in the second half, the Aggies performed much better, running all over the Ragin’ Cajuns to earn what eventually became a lopsided 45-21 victory.
Still, it was anything but an easy win for coach Kevin Sumlin’s crew, and the pressure will only continue to grow moving forward.
Here are a few quick reactions to Saturday afternoon’s roller-coaster victory for the Aggies:
Kellen Mond has a cannon…
It didn’t take long for the freshman to show off his big arm, launching a pass on 3rd-and-36 in the first quarter to convert a huge first down.
The ball easily covered the 36 yards through the air before landing in WR Damion Ratley‘s hands, and he did the rest, finishing off a 75-yard play that ended at the 2-yard line.
He also had a nice touchdown throw to Jhamon Ausbon in the second quarter, which should give Aggies fans some hope moving forward.
… But his decision-making could use some work
You can’t throw interceptions deep in your own territory, but that’s what Mond did late in the first quarter, firing a pass directly to a defender from his own end zone.
That led directly to a short Louisiana-Lafayette touchdown drive, tying the game at 7 in the second quarter.
Mond was also being a little loose with the football earlier in the quarter, dropping a ball after being hit, but he was bailed out when a teammate covered the fumble.
Hit the weight room
The Texas A&M defense was getting pushed around quite a bit by the Cajuns, something that shouldn’t happen to an SEC defense.
Against a lesser opponent, the Aggies had trouble imposing their will until the second half, but even then, it was a turnover problem — not the strength of the A&M defense — that slowed the Cajuns in the third and fourth quarters.
Christian Kirk dropping too many passes
Kirk had a couple of key drops in the first half on passes from Mond, one of which led to a fake field-goal attempt that was stopped cold by the Cajuns.
He also muffed a punt, leading to another Louisiana-Lafayette touchdown.
Those are the sorts of plays Kirk usually makes, so seeing him struggle when his team needs him the most is a disheartening sign.
Armani Watts showed up, at least
Watts snagged two interceptions, taking advantage of a pair of errant Louisiana-Lafayette passes.
The Aggies have been very opportunistic this year, and continued to grab key turnovers on Saturday afternoon.
Considering how much the A&M defense got pushed around by the Cajuns, Watts and company are going to have to keep coming up with timely takeaways to stay competitive this season.
Everyone on the Bussey!
When the Aggies finally started handing the ball to Kendall Bussey in the second half, the offense got going.
Though he only got 13 carries for 88 yards, he helped the Aggies move the chains at will in the second half, regaining control of the game.
Freshman RB Jacob Kibodi also had several nice carries when Bussey was getting a breather and had an incredible 67-yard touchdown run to put the game even further out of reach in the fourth quarter.
The hot seat grows hotter
Though the scoreboard will show a 45-21 Texas A&M victory, fans, trustees, boosters and school administrators still know the Aggies were trailing 21-14 at halftime.
That won’t help coach Kevin Sumlin keep his job, though avoiding an embarrassing loss likely helped him hold the position for at least another week.
With a big SEC opener against Arkansas coming up next weekend in Dallas, the pressure will be on Sumlin once again to win or face losing his job.
Source: Saturday Down South