No. 11 Texas A&M defeated Mississippi State 28-14 during its second road game of the season. Here’s what we learned:
Responding to key moments
A&M was able to create momentum off of numerous key moments during the game. Following a blocked punt by special teams, the offense responded with a 1-yard touchdown run by sophomore running back Isaiah Spiller in the second quarter. After Mississippi State scored its first touchdown of the game on a pick-six in the third quarter, A&M quickly answered with a 51-yard catch and run from sophomore wide receiver Chase Lane.
A&M coach Jimbo Fisher said responding to key moments is a huge part of obtaining success.
“On momentum swings in the game, when we got them, we took advantage of them,” Fisher said. “On that interception, we were able to come right back and get that momentum back. That is a big part of learning how to be successful, answering up in those situations.”
The offensive line
The A&M offensive line has had a dominant performance so far this season, only allowing senior quarterback Kellen Mond to be sacked once. The offensive linemen continued this success against the Bulldogs, as Mond was left untouched in the pocket. They also allowed the signal caller to put up 139 passing yards.
A&M senior offensive lineman Carson Green attributes the success the offensive line had in the game to Fisher.
“Last week we practiced pretty hard,” Green said. “Coach Fisher is putting us in good formations and good running sets so we can get the yards that we need.”
Lane played an integral role in this game for the Aggies, who were missing junior wide receiver Caleb Chapman due to a season-ending injury. Following Mississippi State’s touchdown in the third quarter which put them on the board 14-7, the Houston native distanced the Bulldogs’ momentum with a 51-yard catch and run. Lane led the way in receiving yards for both teams with 70 yards.
“We answered [the pick six] offensively with a big time drive,” Fisher said. “Two really good catches by Chase Lane and throws by Kellen, it was huge and a way to answer up.”
The A&M defense had a strong performance against Mississippi State. Following last week’s performance in which the Aggies limited Florida’s junior tight end Kyle Pitts to five receptions for 47 yards and one touchdown, the defense was able to extend its momentum with the Bulldogs. A&M was able to hold Mississippi State to 14 points, seven of which were the result of a pick-six. The Bulldogs were only able to put up a net total of negative-2 rushing yards, and their quarterbacks K.J. Costello and Will Rogers were sacked a total of six times. A standout for the A&M defense was senior defensive lineman Jayden Peevy who had five tackles, one sack and a 19-yard fumble recovery.
Peevy said the defense is happy with its performance.
“It felt great,” Peevy said. “It's just because of the practice. [Coach] Mike Elko had a great game plan against them. We practiced hard this week to have a great victory.”
Sophomore running back Isaiah Spiller had a huge game for A&M as he showed his versatility. He was responsible for A&M’s two touchdowns in the first half and totaled 114 rushing yards. His longest run was for 26 yards. In addition, he was the overall rushing leader for the game.
Green said Spiller is one of A&M’s best players and was a fierce competitor during the game.
“Spiller was in there, he was running the ball pretty hard,” Green said. “We just need to get him the ball, he is one of the best ball players we have on this team. When you get him the ball, he is going to make the yards.”