Rapid Reaction: Aggies escape, end Vols' magical ride
Two titans of the SEC did battle at Kyle Field on Saturday. It wasn’t decided until double overtime. Texas A&M was able to make enough stops in crucial situations to overcome error-prone Tennessee.
Here’s a closer look at the Aggies’ 45-38 victory.
What it means
For No. 8 Texas A&M, the victory keeps the Aggies unbeaten for the season and sets up a showdown with No. 1 Alabama in two weeks following the Aggies’ bye week. For the No. 9 Vols, it’s a stinging defeat, but it by no means derails their chances at an SEC East title.
What I liked
Tennessee: Having rallied before, the Vols showed no panic when falling behind 28-7 early in the third quarter. Tennessee bounced back and drove for a score on the ensuing drive to make it 28-14 and continued to move the ball with the same confidence displayed in two previous comeback victories.
Texas A&M: The Aggies did not take their foot off the gas pedal. While they were unable to move the ball with much consistency in the second half, the Aggies were not sitting on the lead. Knowing the ability of Tennessee to score in short order, the Aggies’ offense did not play it conservatively. Though they kicked off to start the second half, the Aggies were the first to score after the break and extended their 21-7 lead. They continued to attempt to move the football both on the ground and through the air, even though it wasn’t always with much success.
What I didn’t like
Tennessee: Self-inflicted wounds. The Vols turned the ball over three times in the first half, helping the Aggies build a 21-7 lead at halftime. They coughed it up again on their first possession of the second half, halting a drive that would have put them right back in the game. Instead, Texas A&M went on a drive — aided by a pass interference call on the Vols — to extend its lead to 28-7. They fumbled away yet another opportunity to get back in the game after cutting the Aggies’ lead to 28-14 and driving for another score. The plethora of lost fumbles (five on the day) were the most by a Tennessee team in 19 years.
Texas A&M: The Aggies gave up an incredible amount of yardage (684). On top of that, QB Trevor Knight made some poor decisions in throwing the ball up for grabs on a couple of occasions. But Tennessee moved the ball up and down the field throughout. The Vols were able to gouge the Aggies with authoritative run plays through the middle of the Aggies’ defense and got back in the game with consistent running plays for big gains.
Who’s the man
Tennessee: RB Alvin Kamara was the key performer on offense for the Vols. He kept drives alive with a hard-running ground attack as well as an ability to catch the ball out of the backfield. He led the Vols in both categories, surpassing 100 yards in both rushing (127) and receiving (161) — and scored three times, including the tying touchdown that sent the game into overtime.
Texas A&M: Despite fumbling at the 1-yard line as he was running in for what could have been the game-winning touchdown with a little less than two minutes left, RB Trayveon Williams still rushed for a game-high 217 yards.
Texas A&M DB Armani Watts came up with an interception in the second overtime period to preserve a hard-earned 45-38 victory.
The next game on both teams’ schedules are dates with No. 1 Alabama. Tennessee gets it first, hosting the Tide next Saturday at 3:30 p.m. ET on CBS. Texas A&M has a bye week coming up before it travels to Tuscaloosa for a Saturday, Oct. 22 showdown with Alabama.