Texas A&M swept the Magnolia state for the first time since 2013, earning a 49-30 win over Mississippi State on Saturday. Here are the takeaways from the game.
Offense finds its groove
After struggling for weeks to find some rhythm on offense, A&M finally had success in that area, and looked like a new team doing it. The Aggies struggled on their first drive, which ended in a punt, but turned it around on their second drive. A&M marched down the field to open scoring with a one-yard dive into the end zone by junior quarterback Kellen Mond. For the first time since starting SEC play, A&M had consistency both passing and rushing. The Aggies ended the game with 441 total yards, of which 234 were passing and 207 were rushing.
“We were able to move it in the running game a lot,” Mond said. “Isaiah [Spiller] was running it really hard, especially in the first half. Just being able to switch it up, and I thought Coach [Jimbo Fisher] did a really good job of throwing a mixture of play calls.”
Spiller leads A&M rushing success
Freshman running back Isaiah Spiller played a large role in A&M’s offensive success, leading A&M in rushing yards with 90 on 22 carries and one touchdown, in addition to one reception for 13 yards. Spiller helped A&M garner momentum on its second drive of the game. The Aggies took over field position on their own 49, and Spiller had three consecutive runs for 39 yards, and A&M went on to score on the drive three plays later.
“All the young contributions — Isaiah Spiller had another 90-yard day and plays excellent,” A&M coach Jimbo Fisher said.
Aggies on third down
A&M found success with third down situations on both sides of the ball. The offense converted eight of 11 for 72.7 percent, their highest conversion percentage of the season. Meanwhile, the defense held Mississippi State to four of 11 third down conversions for 36.4 percent. One of those third downs ended in an interception as sophomore defensive back Devin Morris picked off Mississippi State freshman quarterback Garrett Shrader on a third-and-10 from A&M’s 46-yard line in the first quarter.
“Coming into this game, that was one of our key things — win on third down,” junior linebacker Buddy Johnson said. “Guys stepped up and made a lot of plays. The plays Devin [Morris] made [were] outstanding. Devin’s just been climbing and climbing; he just keeps getting better.”