Texas A&M 38, Arizona State 17
Sept. 5 – It wasn’t always a sharp day from the Texas A&M offense, but it got the big plays when it needed them with Kyle Allen throwing for a nine-yard score to Tra Carson and running for a 12-yard touchdown. Christian Kirk returned a punt for a 79-yard score, and caught a 66-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter to help the Aggies breathe. Carson put the game away with a ten-yard touchdown run in the final few minutes, and the defense did the rest. Arizona State struggled against the revamped Aggie defense, but got a touchdown pass and a 19-yard scoring run from Mike Bercovici to make it a game in the third quarter. The Aggies controlled the fourth and Allen did the rest.
– In an interesting move, Texas A&M worked in Kyler Murray at quarterback along with Kyle Allen, and while the offense didn’t explode, and turned it over three times, it came up with 425 yards and stayed ahead with the big plays it needed to have. The defense was the big story, looking night-and-day stronger and more aggressive than it did last year, keeping the high-powered Sun Devils to just 291 yards.
– Kyle Allen completed 15-of-26 passes for 198 yards and two scores with a pick, and ran for three yards and a touchdown. Kyler Murray completed 4-of-9 passes for 49 yards and a pick and ran for 69 yards on six carries. Christian Kirk caught six passes for 106 yards and a touchdown
– Where were the playmakers? The offense came up with under 300 total yards and couldn’t seem to break free. There were a few good runs, and two big pass plays, but there wasn’t enough to production to overcome the decent day from the Aggie attack. The Sun Devil defense did enough to stay around, but ASU’s offense couldn’t take advantage.
– Mike Bercovici completed 25-of-41 passes for 199 yards and a touchdown.
Texas A&M – Arizona State Game Rating: B-
Texas A&M Flexes Defensive Muscles In Win Over Arizona State
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It’s only one game, sure. But it’s not too early to upgrade Texas A&M to a serious SEC West contender.
Since joining the SEC, the Aggies have always been a capable D away from being a championship contender. While only time and more reps will tell just how good this unit winds up being, it is clearly better than the 2014 edition that didn’t have John Chavis in charge of it.
The Aggies lower the boom from all levels. They fly to the ball. And they boast arguably the best bookend in the country, Myles Garrett and Daeshon Hall, which helped blow up QB Mike Bercovici and the rest of a potent Arizona State offense.
Texas A&M will continue to improve on offense, because quarterbacks Kyle Allen and Kyler Murray are only pups, and because scoring points is still what Texas A&M does best. A young offense plus an athletic, Chavis-coached defense is going to make the Aggies very, very dangerous as the season unfolds.
Plus, now that the toughest non-conference test of 2015 has been aced, A&M can use upcoming layups with Ball State and Nevada to fine-tune both sides of the ball before league play gets cranking.
The Aggies might finally have some balance, which ought to concern the rest of the West.
Arizona State Gets Run Over by Texas A&M
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Let this game be Exhibit A of how preseason expectations and polls don’t mean squat.
It seems like I’ve been putting a disclaimer on everything because it is week one, but unless Arizona State can fix its inability to stop opposing young men in football pads, there’s no way it’s contending for anything in the Pac-12.
Sure the Sun Devils have plenty of offense to win in a score fest against a USC, UCLA or Arizona, but there’s also a good chance that a Utah or Washington have a banner day on offense against their soft D and make life miserable just like Texas A&M did today.
And it’s not just happening in Tempe. College football has a number of teams like Arizona State. It’s like watching a youth soccer game where everyone is muddled up going after the ball and you can’t tell one from the other. You still have to have a defense to be able to beat back teams when the offense isn’t quite clicking and there’s just not many coaches putting as much emphasis on that side of the ball these days.
Texas A&M knows that story, but today was much different for them because the defensive players actually got off the bus. We’ll see if that continues as the season moves forward in College Station.