Having a non-conference matchup late in the season proved to be no issue for Texas A&M, but mistakes were made. Here’s what we learned from the game:
Special teams shows up to play
A&M’s special team unit put a touchdown on the board only nine seconds into the game, and their performance didn’t end there. After Larry Pryor’s 17-yard fumble recovery that ended in an early touchdown, A&M stopped three field goal attempts by UAB’s kicker Nick Vogel — one of which was blocked by Jayden Peevy. Throughout the game, special teams continued to earn valuable field position for the Aggies and give UAB the opposite.
“That was crazy,” Pryor said. “First kickoff of the game, I’m sprinting down there full speed and I shared a block and I look up and the ball is in my hands. My thinking from that point was ‘I’m going to score.'”
A&M secondary experiences issues against UAB offense
Last weekend against Ole Miss, the A&M secondary was at the top of their game. The defense held Ole Miss to 1 of 11 third down conversions and forced two fumbles, along with one interception. However, they were not as successful against UAB’s offense, allowing 25 first downs and 10-of-16 third down conversions.
“[They] didn’t play very well," head coach Jimbo Fisher said. "Didn’t cover well, didn’t tackle well in space. Need to tackle better, need to cover them tighter and need to get a better rush. The rush will help on that too so I think in those facets we need to do a better job. We’ve got to play better."
Time of possession controlled by UAB
In past weeks A&M has been known to control time of possession against its opponents, but this week the Aggies showed they can still dominate the scoreboard even if they don't have possession of the ball longer than their opponent. UAB kept possession for 34 minutes and 11 seconds during the matchup, while A&M’s time of possession was 25 minutes and 49 seconds.
Seth Small remains consistent
After a 46-yard field goal against Ole Miss, the freshman kicker has shown improvement in his consistency. With two field goals against UAB that turned otherwise unsuccessful drives into scoring opportunities, Small now improves to 16-of-23 on the year.
It was senior night for A&M and the seniors were honored before the game in front of the crowd of 97,584 Aggies and visiting fans. Even with one more home game next weekend against LSU, senior defensive lineman Landis Durham said senior night was something he could never really prepare for, but was pleased with the outcome.
“You dream about nights like this,” Durham said. “I couldn't tell you what it was going to be like a couple years ago, even last week really. We came out here and did our thing and I’m happy we got the dub. I’m blessed to be playing with these guys.”