Texas A&M football: 10 highs and lows from the 2021 regular season
It was a season with the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. A bowl game still remains before the final chapter is written on this novel. The Aggies will go bowling and put one last effort on the field to attempt to put the program back on track for next season.
Here are 5 highs and 5 lows from the 2021 regular season.
1. Beating Bama
This is a no-brainer; beating then-No. 1 Alabama would be the biggest highlight to anyone’s season. Doing it in dramatic fashion just added to the brilliance of what this program wants to be.
To be the best, you have to beat the best. That’s one box checked off. When Seth Small nailed the walk-off 28-yard field goal for a 41-38 victory at Kyle Field, it gave Aggieland a glimpse of what could be for this program.
It also gave Jimbo Fisher his first victory over Nick Saban, ending Saban’s notable unbeaten streak against his former assistants.
2. Jumping out to a 3-0 start
Despite losing starting quarterback Haynes King, the Aggies were able to pick up 3 victories to start the season behind QB Zach Calzada.
They weren’t overly impressive, but the Aggies appeared to be on track for a big season after breezing past Kent State (41-10) and New Mexico (34-0) with a nail-biting 10-7 win at Colorado sandwiched in between.
3. 4-game SEC winning streak
The victory over Alabama propelled the Aggies to 4 big SEC victories.
After taking down No. 1, Texas A&M regained its confidence and went out to prove it. The Aggies took care of Missouri (35-14) on the road before returning home to Kyle Field for impressive victories over South Carolina (44-14) and then-No. 12 Auburn (20-3).
4. Seth Small comes up big
Kicker Seth Small made program history. After winning the Alabama game with a dramatic field goal, the Aggies’ senior booted a 27-yarder against Prairie View to become the all-time leading scorer in Texas A&M football history.
The boot lifted Small past 2011 Lou Groza Award winner Randy Bullock’s (2008-11) former record of 365 career points.
5. RB duo emerges
The running back duo of Devon Achane and Isaiah Spiller stepped into the spotlight in the thrashing of South Carolina. It was the second consecutive week in which each rushed for more than 100 yards. A week later, against Auburn, they came just 2 yards shy of a 3rd consecutive game in which both exceeded 100 yards.
Spiller already has topped 1,000 yards. Achane needs to gain 90 in the bowl game to get there. If Achane reaches 1,000, they’ll become the first Aggies duo to both top 1,000 yards rushing in the same season.
They have become the most prolific running mates in the SEC.
1. Injury to Haynes King
Before the season really got underway, the Aggies lost their No. 1 quarterback to injury. Haynes King had battled Calzada for the starting role, a competition that went right down to the opening week of the season.
But in just the 2nd game of the season, King went down for the season and Calzada became the guy under center.
2. Back-to-back losses
After starting the season with 3 consecutive victories, the Aggies appeared ready to compete in SEC play. But they stumbled out of the gate, losing their first 2 conference games – almost inexplicably – to then-No. 16 Arkansas on a neutral site and then to Mississippi State at Kyle Field.
The Aggies were handled rather easily by Arkansas, 20-10, and succumbed to a 400-yard passing game from Mississippi State quarterback Will Rogers in a 26-22 loss.
3. Offensive line woes
The Aggies were not a very good team as the revamped offensive line struggled. The offense was inconsistent with a back-up quarterback and an offensive line that had yet to find its identity.
That made for some up and down results over the first 5 games of the season before things began to come together starting with the Alabama game.
4. Knocked out of contention
There was still a sliver of hope that Texas A&M could somehow sneak into the SEC Championship Game. The Aggies already had a victory over division-leader Alabama in their pocket. But they’d still need some help to make the trip to Atlanta.
All that was dashed when Ole Miss claimed a 29-19 victory over Texas A&M in mid-November at Oxford. It was the Aggies’ 3rd conference loss and officially eliminated them from any consideration for league honors. The Aggies then lost their 4th SEC game in the season-finale against LSU.
Sure, injuries are a part of the game. But Texas A&M suffered more than its share.
Beginning with their starting quarterback, the Aggies also lost DBs Brian George and Myles Jones for the season as well as OL Luke Matthews, in addition to a plethora of various injuries to their receiving corps.