For the first time since Sept. 21 against Auburn, Texas A&M did not open scoring in a game. The Aggies got off to a slow start in an 11 a.m. game against the University of Texas at San Antonio.
After both teams had their first drives end in punts, UTSA capitalized on its second drive of the game to take a 7-0 lead over A&M.
Junior defensive lineman Justin Madubuike said the early kickoff time affected the defense’s ability to dominate the game early, which allowed the Roadrunners six plays of over 10 yards in the first quarter, including a 44-yard pass on their scoring drive.
“Early game, people are still dragging from sleep, but we got it going after the first drive,” Madubuike said. “We shouldn’t have let that happen, but we did. How you respond to things is what matters, and we responded well.”
By halftime, the Aggies had only a 21-7 lead, and A&M coach Jimbo Fisher said his message to the team was simple: wake up.
“I wasn't upset,” Fisher said. “We got momentum. Let's keep momentum, go out and get points on the first drive. Let's get a stop on defense, and let's go get it up to a four‑score game and start to stretch this thing.”
Junior wide receiver Jhamon Ausbon said Fisher’s halftime speech helped the Aggies succeed in the second half of the game.
“We still have our game, but he was just trying to get our attention to let us know that [UTSA is] coming in here ready to win,” Ausbon said. “ I don't know why we came out [slow] or what it was, but we picked it up towards the middle of the game and end of the game.”
After UTSA’s early score, A&M went on to score 45 unanswered points, while holding the Roadrunners to only 99 total offensive yards after the first quarter.
Fisher said the Aggies had success because of their answering touchdown, in which freshman Isaiah Spiller scored on a 60-yard run on the first play of A&M’s next drive.
“When you hit those one‑play drives, it demoralizes people,” Fisher said. “It takes the heart out of guys on the other side. Takes a mature team to bounce back from that. On offense, it gives you that adrenaline. … And we kept building off of it. He was the catalyst today.”
Despite the success A&M had accumulating points, the Aggies struggled to convert on third downs for the first half, converting only one of five. They improved to a 57 percent conversion rate in the second half, finding success on four of seven attempts.
Mond said he is not worried by A&M’s early inability to convert third-down situations.
“Just like every single game, we're going to take it one drive at a time,” Mond said. “Isaiah [Spiller] was able to pop a big one and then we were able to go up 14‑7 and then 21‑7 right before the half.”
Though the Aggies managed to blow out UTSA in the game, the defense’s slow start was disappointing, junior defensive back Keldrick Carper said.
“We didn't come out like we wanted to, as far as just guns a-blazing, heads on fire, trying to be a great defense,” Carper said. “But once we got settled in and we really started to focus and lock in, we were able to contain them and make big plays.”