This will be short and sweet. Defense and special teams won the game. The best thing our offense did was to minimize turnovers with only one ill-advised Onyegbule throw. We scored off of four forced turnovers (including a pick 6), Quandre's 81 yard punt return field position, and a great trick play call from Harsin. That's it.
Our offense accounted for a miserable 237 yards and only 3.6 yards per play. Miserable.
Case McCoy certainly won my respect as a competitor and he didn't put us in a bind with interceptions as Ash did against Kansas State, but his overall play was poor aside from his improbable, opportunistic 25 yard run to set up the winning field goal. McCoy was 16 of 27 for 110 yards, scrambled from clean pockets at least a half dozen times, threw several balls poorly, and did little to inspire confidence in any reasonable Longhorn fan that he's our answer at QB. He doesn't keep his eyes down the field when he scrambles and he doesn't like to step into balls in traffic. We all enjoyed the karmic payback for Cart McCry in their place in Aggieland's Mostest Importantest Game Ever, but let's not get carried away with the Tebowian All He Does Is Win meme. I don't like where we are at QB and it's a potential albatross on a team that's setting up nicely otherwise for an enjoyable run in 2012-2014.
I was pleased to Ash get a few snaps, if only to keep him involved and to help nurture him out of shell shock.
I thought Brown was banged up and 17-44 was as revealing of his blocking and A&M's ability to ignore our passing game as much as his running. Cody Johnson was pretty amazing in ways that belie his 6 carries for 9 yards stat line. He created a touchdown and two short yardage conversions with sheer force of will and leg drive when he should have been stopped short. These guys didn't have much to work with and created no value adds of their own. We miss Fozzy immensely and we miss Bergeron too.
After reviewing the tape, I have no problems with Mike Davis being demoted. He gave up on some plays, didn't do much to help Case, and generally looked like a guy frustrated with the offense we're being forced to run. I don't think he's unsalvageable, but he needs to compete even when he can't run the routes he wants or get the ball where he wants it. He had around eight targets and ended up with one catch for 7 yards. Unacceptable. Onyegbule threw an ill-advised pass and I'm sure he wishes he could have had it back after his WR stumbled. Had he pulled it down, it was probably a ten yard gain. Marquise Goodwin caught 8 for 60, but observing the difference in practical on-field speed between he and Monroe is startling. Goodwin just fights himself when he tries to cut. Shipley certainly competed, but he looked to be around 70%. Hopefully, extra time off can get him to 90%.
Irby has perfected the wide open TD catch play. Glad to see Blaine have success. We need Big Luke to strap it on against Baylor. He needs to come loaded for Bear.
Pass protection was actually better than it looked, given Case's penchant for the early bail out and the fact that A&M has legitimate outside pass rushing threats, but I was disappointed in our run blocking. Certainly A&M ganged up on the run, we're incredibly vanilla in how we ran, and a passing game that could create some honesty would have helped immensely, but this A&M front was quite average and we let some guys plays above their heads. Dominic Espinosa struggled with the undersized Aggie NG Eddie Brown and neither of our guards imposed their will on the interior. Sean Porter and DeMontre Moore did a great job of crashing down from outside to squeeze our running game while their interior DL basically occupied space. Given how small our splits are, there was simply no room. David Snow probably played the best game over all, but far too often our guys were content to run interference instead of trying to get a push.
This OL still isn't physical or skilled enough to line up and run over people without the benefit of multiplicity and angles so I'm sure we'll see more of Ash running the ball against Baylor, more Wildcat looks, or an attempt at expanding some easy play action throws to give DEs something to think about beyond crashing down on the run. We have to do all of the above or otherwise it's Pickett's Charge every Saturday.
Little Giant Quandre stepped up when we needed it - his 81 yard punt return was extraordinary and I just can't conceive of him as a freshman anymore. Justin Tucker nailed that 40 yard game winner like a cold-blooded killer and allowed us to forgive him for some pretty pedestrian punting. Guys is nails.
Winning the game obscured how poorly this offense played. We effectively went 3 and out on our first SEVEN possessions. Our longest drive went for 48 yards. Against a pretty marginal A&M defense. That's bad. Real bad. Going back and re-watching without emotion and taking notes was sobering. There is no solution for fixing this offense until we can create a passing game or introduce some run threats at QB. Preferably both.
Baylor does share some characteristics with Tech and KU in their defensive front 7 and that's good news. We won't be able to impose our will in the running game in the same manner, but Baylor has size issues on the edge and that means we may be able to run some smash mouth if our passing game can make a couple of easy throws or we can introduce some legitimate run threat options at QB.