Rapid Reaction: Texas A&M isn't an SEC contender in 2014
Here are some quick thoughts from Texas A&M’s 35-21 loss to Ole Miss.
What it means: Texas A&M’s offense sans Johnny Manziel and Mike Evans isn’t built for this rugged SEC West. The run defense, as foreshadowed by its performance against Rice, is a major liability. There are too many holes for this team to compete in the division in 2014.
What I liked: Speedy Noil had a coming-out party, regaining his burst a few weeks after his knee injury. Noil caught 11 passes for 105 yards, no small feat against what may be the best secondary in the nation. And though yellow nylon negated some of his return yards, he looked electric as a returner. A&M outgained Ole Miss, though it didn’t matter. Kenny Hill completed 76.1 percent of his passes, but again, it didn’t matter.
What I didn’t like: A&M’s offensive line has gotten its butt whipped for three consecutive weeks. That’s a huge issue, considering it’s supposed to be the engine that drives coach Kevin Sumlin’s offense. Hill threw two costly interceptions and fumbled, leading to two defensive touchdowns. The Aggies averaged 1.5 yards rushing. Despite an SEC-record crowd of more than 110,000, the Rebels controlled this game from the start.
Who’s the man: Noil (see above). He’s the only receiver to rack up 100 yards against Ole Miss this season.
Key play: Cody Prewitt’s 75-yard touchdown return on a second-quarter interception that gave Ole Miss a 21-0 lead.
What’s next: Texas A&M’s reward for navigating the rugged Magnolia State? A trip to Tuscaloosa to face a Top 10 Alabama team. The Aggies (5-2, 2-2) will be underdogs and could lose a third consecutive game.