The Texas A&M Aggies were locked in a battle with the NC State Wolfpack for a while in Monday’s Gator Bowl, but in the second half, RB Trayveon Williams and the A&M offense pulled away, aided by a couple of huge plays by the defense.
The final score was 52-13, with A&M outscoring NC State 31-0 in the second half of the game.
After the victory, which saw the Aggies end the year with a 9-4 record, first-year head coach Jimbo Fisher was all smiles. Here’s what Fisher had to say after the big win:
Jimbo on the stage! pic.twitter.com/xLzv8urwjX
— TexAgs (@TexAgs) January 1, 2019
Jimbo Fisher at the mic: pic.twitter.com/7nrcuRyzmo
— Brent Zwerneman (@BrentZwerneman) January 1, 2019
Opening comments from Fisher’s postgame press conference:
“First of all, very proud of our team. Happy for our seniors, the first bowl win they’ve ever experienced against a very good NC State team. Dave Doeren and NC State is heck of a football team guys. That’s a very well-coached, good team. We played very well tonight, and I just want to say a special thank you to those seniors and then I want to say a special thank you to all of our players. The work we put in, the ups and downs that goes with it and then the great bowl preparation, understanding how to prepare and come here with a mindset. We had fun, we worked when it was time to work and got a very mature group of guys that played very well, very excited. And like I say, the first bowl win for these seniors, it doesn’t get any better than that. You have to learn to play bowl games, you have to learn to prepare for bowl games, you have to learn how to play in these big games and do the things you’ve got to do, and so I’m very proud of them in that regard.
“As a team, I thought all three phases of our team were really, really good tonight. Our special teams, we kicked the ball well, had the one missed long field goal, but that’s a tough one there. We hit our kicks, our punts, our coverages, returns, everything was really good, defense was outstanding. I believe they only ended up with 273 yards and that is a dominant team, and they were 0 of 13 on third down, so I mean, getting the ball back, that’s as good as it gets. And then you get a pick six, some guys, I mean, you believe this guy ran down the field and scored a touchdown. No, it was outstanding.
“But they got six — they played dominant up front. And then offensively to be able to run for 401 yards against a team that was giving up 100 yards a game rushing and what we did. Trayveon, one of the greatest Gator Bowl performances of all time. He broke the single-season record this year.
“And then converting on third downs. We were 5 of 10 and got some critical third downs. I thought one of the best third downs that was critical, it was 14-13 and were able to hit that third and 5 on the 5 that got it to 21-13. I thought that was a huge play in the game for momentum and then we come out the second half and play well.
“We’re learning to finish, that was one of things that we emphasized, and we’ve learned to get better at that as the season went on and that’s something we’re continuing to grow on, so hopefully we can build on this. Special thanks again to our seniors and hope these young guys learn from it and build from it.”
on his team’s performance, was it the most complete of the season?
“I would probably have to say in all three phases and learning to come out and finish a game. We kept talking about at halftime, once we get ahead, try not to give the other team hope, and I know that sounds crazy, but when you kind of let up and a team gets back, and anytime they get within two scores if not three scores, you give them hope, and they’re back in the game. And it was one of the most dominant performances from that standpoint and learning to just play the next play. Whatever you made, okay, go make another play, go make another play, go make another play, and learning that mentality. Yes.”
on re-recruiting juniors on his A&M roster:
“Oh, yeah, listen. Here’s the key. You don’t re-recruit them, you find the right information out for them. I tell them, life is about making the right choices. And that’s all it is. It’s about making the right choices, and my job as a coach, it’s not to make a choice for them. It’s to find out the exact information so they don’t get misled in any way, shape or form and they have all the information from front of them that they can make a lifelong decision. I’ll voice an opinion about where I think their development is and what they can do and whether they can do it, and listen, I’ll back them a hundred percent. But at the same time, we’ll have a discussion about it because life, these — here’s what I always say about the NFL: It’s not about getting to it, it’s getting there and staying, making sure you get there at the right time with the right things and are you really ready, and if you are, like I say, I’ll be the first one to kick you out the door. If not, I’ll forget that, and if not I’ll help you. But it’s about making choices.
“Kids today, you don’t want to hurry up and get somewhere. Take your time and do it right, know what I’m saying, and if it’s the right time, it’s the right time. But our job right now is to get the proper information, and I got great information for them, I believe, and usually it’s very accurate, and I think that’s what they’ve got to do and trust and make a decision, and like I say, we’ll back them 100 percent either way. Hopefully they will be, and if it’s right for them to come back, come back, and if not, it’s time to go.”
on Trayveon Williams setting the new single-season Texas A&M rushing mark:
“Listen, nobody achieves a record in football without the other guys on the team. It is a complete team effort. Those guys up front become a dominant — even our tight ends, our fullbacks, our receivers did a great job blocking downfield. You go look at those blocks, those guys are 15, 20 yards down the field, allowing him to make cuts. Here’s the thing: They want to block for him. See, people don’t think about that, a guy is a great player and guys do their job, but then you have guys that want to block for a guy who works his tail off and deserves it, know what I’m saying, and there’s different thing, and those guys wanted to block for them because they love him. They watch him practice. There’s no accident why he’s doing what he’s doing. It’s the way he comes to practice every day. It’s the way he would get on people. It’s the way he would lead. He would carry the messages and things I would say and do to the offense, Tyrel would do to the defense. And those guys carried him and they respected him. They knew he was a great player, but they respect him as a human being, so they wanted to play hard for him, and he performed.”