Number 11 Texas A&M (3-1) knocked out the Bulldogs (1-3) 28-14 Saturday afternoon, beating the hosts with 186 yards and 6 sacks while holding the hosts at -2 yards. Mississippi has collected just 217 yards of insult and one insulting touchdown.
No team scored in the first quarter, but the pace of the game was already set. A&M’s running game, led by Isaiah Spiller (18 carriers, 114 yards, 2 TD), scored 72 yards on the ground, while Mississippi penalized twice and defender KJ Costello (15-22, 99 yards, 1 INT) threw easily. intercepting in the end zone of A&M to a waiting corner back Miles Jones on the device between them.
The Agians took command of the point of attack during their third drive, when they covered 66 yards in 8 plays ̵
“The focus all week was on controlling the ball,” said senior offensive commander Carson Green. “We wanted to show that we can run to anyone.”
The Bulldogs went 3 and came out on their next possession and Aggie knew they would get the ball back, but they couldn’t get a better position on the pitch. Linebacker Chris Russell broke the Mississippi line and blocked Tucker Day’s shot, which was restored to Bulldog 1. After a game, Spiller had his second touchdown and Agis was 14-0.
A&M forced another very quick possession of the state of Mississippi and looked like they would get the ball in midfield after another shot, but defender Leon O’Neill was called for a personal foul for trying to jump the shield, giving the state the ball in their own 48.
“We got three penalties for one game,” said coach Jimbo Fisher. “(O’Neill’s penalty) was just ridiculous. We could have scored there. ”
Instead, it became 3 or more as Brian Williams took the first sack of his career to end driving in Mississippi. The Bulldogs would get another point kick in their last possession in the first half, reaching A&M 26, before being fired by senior defender Jaden Peavy and an illegal block in the back pushed them out of the scoring. Aggies entered the locker room 14-0, got the start in the second half and doubled the total number of bags for the season by four – mostly three.
“The focus of the week has been skipping,” Peavy said. “We trained well this week (out of three). Mike Elko had a great plan to play against them. “
A&M took the second half and headed down to Mississippi 32 when a potential disaster struck. Quarterback Kelen Mond (13-23, 139 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT) threw a pass that hit Ainias Smith’s shoulder pads and bounced all the way to the scoring line, where cornerback Emmanuel Forbes grabbed him and returned the bizarre 60-yard touchdown interception.
“We had a good drive,” Fisher said. “We had ricochets then.”
On past trips to Starkville, this type of game was a turning point that led to a Bulldog run that guided Aggie behind the 8-ball. This time A&M responded immediately. In just four plays, Aggie covered 75 yards and pushed her 21-7 lead after unfolding Chase Lane (2 catches, 70 yards, 1 TD), grabbed a shallow cross and overtook the entire Mississippi defense by 51 yards.
“It was the driving I was really proud of,” Fisher said. “We returned immediately. We had two really great catches from Chase Lane and great throws from Kellen. “
A&M were about to take the game out of range soon when midfielder Buddy Johnson and defensive end Michael Clemens combined to hit Costello, forcing them to dig in as Pivi recovered in Mississippi 27 and roared 19 yards to 8.
“I was so close (to scoring points),” Peevy said with a little regret later.
It wouldn’t matter; Le Monde hit Smith (5 catches, 20 yards, 1 TD; 10 runs, 52 yards) for a 6-yard pass, two games later, extending the lead to 28-7. These would be curtains for Costello, who was replaced by freshman Quarterback Will Rodgers. Rodgers was far more efficient, making 15 of 18 assists for 120 yards and the first offensive touch that the Bulldogs had scored in more than two football games, but A&M’s strong defense and running game stole any hope of a comeback.
Eventually, Aggies ran out of the last 5:06 of the game, pushing the Mississippi defense around one last minute for a good measure. A&M was finally running the clock on Bulldogs’ 1-yard line instead of trying to add to its winning margin.
“We wanted to show that we can control the ball so that (Fisher) doesn’t call passes,” Green said. “We want to prove that we are a great team and people need to know our name.”
Fisher said Aggie would have something to improve on, but was pleased with the end result.
“A 14-point win is a good win,” Fisher said. Mississippi has always been a difficult place to play.