Trevor Knight wins but gives glimpse of problems that benched him at Oklahoma
The No. 8 Aggies played generous hosts on Saturday afternoon/evening at Kyle Field, opening the door for visiting No. 9 Tennessee to continue its run though the 2016 season as the Team of Destiny.
They blew a 28-7 lead. But that’s not unusual for a Tennessee team that has rallied from double-digit deficits all season long. In fact, the Vols probably figured they had the Aggies right where they wanted them.
Once again, what looked to be the late nail in the coffin for UT turned out to be anything but as A&M fumbled away the game-winning touchdown in regulation.
Aggies RB Trayveon Williams was brilliant, save for that one big play, as he rushed for a game-high 217 yards and one touchdown. But it was the score he left on the field that nearly spelled doom for the Aggies.
On an apparent 72-yard touchdown run, Williams slowed down as he reached the end zone just enough in fact to have the ball punched away from behind. The ball rolled out of the end zone and instead of a potential game-winning score, Tennessee got the ball on the 20-yard line.
Vols QB Josh Dobbs proceeded to march his team the length of the field in the waning moments of regulation for the tying touchdown.
Then, the Aggies missed a makable field goal in the final seconds, leaving the game tied with the need for overtime to decide it.
Aggies kicker Daniel LaCamera missed the 38-yard try in the final seconds, leaving the game knotted. He redeemed himself somewhat in the first overtime, booting the game-tying field goal after Tennessee took a 38-35 lead on its first possession in OT.
In fact, the Aggies did all they could to allow Tennessee to come away with a win on the road Saturday and add another notch to its belt of comebacks.
But in the end it was Texas A&M that finally grabbed a hold of victory. Aggies safety Armani Watts intercepted a Dobbs pass in the second overtime period to preserve the 45-38 win. It was the Vols’ seventh turnover in a game that they practically dominated otherwise.
The Vols rolled up 684 total yards, nearly 100 more (592) than what the Aggies could muster. Tennessee controlled the football for 32 minutes plus change and held a 29-21 edge in first downs. But despite nearly coughing up their three-touchdown lead, the Aggies were able to reach deep and pull out a little extra when they needed it most.
Aggies QB Trevor Knight flashed the inconsistency that lost him the starting job at Oklahoma. However, the graduate transfer had the wherewithal to bootleg left for a hard-fought yard and score what proved to be the game-winning touchdown in the second overtime period.
Knight completed 50 percent of his passes (17-for-34) for 239 yards and 2 touchdowns, but he threw two interceptions. That’s a stat that played Knight into a seat on the Oklahoma bench, and one in which he had avoided for the most part in his first five games at Texas A&M, only throwing two previously.
It’s a part of his game that, if revealed like that again, can’t be overcome by the Aggies moving forward; not against No. 1 Alabama, the Aggies’ next opponent, in an Oct. 22 showdown at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
Future opponents Ole Miss and LSU will take advantage as well. Knight cannot revert to his old ways of forcing what isn’t there. He threw 12 picks in 2014 at Oklahoma and another two in just 40 pass attempts last season as a Sooner.
He’s got to be smarter than that. He has been smarter than that this season. We’ll see which direction he goes from here as the stakes continue to rise higher with every game the unbeaten Aggies play.