Texas A&M football: Jimbo Fisher notches win against Florida that could turn tide
As all good coaches do, Jimbo Fisher downplayed.
Fisher was fresh off the biggest victory of his 3-year tenure at Texas A&M. The Aggies had just defeated No. 4 Florida, 41-38, on Saturday thanks to a huge performance from quarterback Kellen Mond. It was a win fans in College Station have been waiting for since Fisher arrived. Prior to Saturday, he was 0-7 against top-5 teams as the Aggies’ coach.
So, naturally, Fisher was asked afterward just what this win might mean for his team and the program.
“It shows you what you’re capable of,” he said. “Now what I want to see is, what do you follow it up with? We have potential, and potential is one of the worst words in the world because it means you haven’t done it yet. We have potential, and we won that game and did things we needed to do. Now you’ve got to understand how to prepare and play the next one.”
The Gators have been good luck for Fisher, who is now 8-1 against them. When he took over Florida State in 2010, the Seminoles had lost six straight to Florida. FSU won 31-7 in his inaugural season. We all know how his stop in Tallahassee ended up working out.
Now it seems like a victory against the Gators could get things going at his next stop.
Mond was widely talked about as one of the SEC’s best quarterbacks this preseason. He showed why Saturday. He had an answer for every Gator touchdown. His best came after Florida retook a 38-31 lead in the fourth. He tossed a 51-yard touchdown to Caleb Chapman on the next drive, showing gumption in one of the game’s biggest moments.
— Steve Helwick (@s_helwick) October 10, 2020
Mond also converted two critical third downs on the Aggies’ final drive to help set up the game-winning field goal from Seth Small. He finished 25-of-35 for 338 yards and 3 touchdowns and became A&M’s leader in career passing yards.
But the promising thing from Saturday was that the Aggies didn’t have to lean entirely on Mond.
They might not have had the opportunity for a field goal had the defense not recovered a fumble with Florida driving. Thank linebacker Buddy Johnson for that. Isaiah Spiller was equally explosive as he rushed for 174 yards and 2 touchdowns, including one that gave A&M its first lead with 12:35 to go.
This, as Fisher mentioned, is the potential so many have been talking about at A&M the past few years. Florida was (and still is) a team with national title aspirations, and A&M was the better team Saturday. The Gators took a hit when Kyle Pitts went down with an injury, but the Aggies still beat a great team with lots of talent.
After a rough start against Vanderbilt and a blowout loss to Alabama, it looked like this season was headed in the direction of the two that preceded it. Now, however, the Aggies have some momentum going into a very winnable game against Mississippi State. Their toughest opponents are seemingly behind them, though plenty more good ones await.
More than anything, though, they’ll have confidence. It’s difficult to win marquee games in the SEC — some might say a tad more difficult than in the ACC. But Fisher got his first one down Saturday. He’ll look for more as the year goes on.
“I feel like this can be a culture-changing win,” Mond said. “It definitely can give this team more confidence, especially with all the young guys we have. Just the ability to build off this. It’s Week 3, so we’ve still got a long way to go. I’m excited about that part.”