Texas A&M Aggies: What we learned 090813

What we learned in the SEC: Week 2

September, 8, 2013
Here are five things we learned on another crazy Saturday in the SEC:

East should be wild: Just as we all expected, Georgia, Florida and South Carolina each have a loss after all of two weeks. Georgia jumped into the division lead with its 41-30 win against South Carolina on Saturday, but the division's power trio all figure to hang around throughout the fall. They all have demonstrated glaring weaknesses that make a second loss possible for each of them -- and even if Georgia has the lead now, it also faces perhaps the most difficult league schedule of the three expected front-runners. It should be yet another memorable race in the East.

Pay attention, Tide: Johnny Manziel certainly looked like a Heisman Trophy contender in passing for 403 yards and three touchdowns and rushing for another in Texas A&M's 65-28 thrashing of FCS squad Sam Houston State. But the Aggies' porous defense has to be a major concern for Kevin Sumlin, with Alabama's stable of running backs on tap next week. Sam Houston's Timothy Flanders rushed for 170 yards and scored three touchdowns against A&M's depleted defense. Several Aggies defenders should be back from suspensions next week against Alabama, which should help. But after allowing 450 yards per game in the first two games, the Aggies will have to get a lot better in a week's time.

[+] EnlargeShayon Green, Jeff Driskel
Mike Ehrmann/Getty ImagesJeff Driskel and the Gators offense struggled in a 21-16 loss to Miami on Saturday.
More of the same at Florida: Jeff Driskel and Florida's offense still appear to be the middling bunch they were in 2012. In Saturday's 21-16 loss at Miami, Driskel passed for a career-high 291 yards, but the Gators turned it over four times inside the Miami 20 in another bumbling performance. Florida's defense surrendered just 212 yards and 10 first downs, but the offense still hasn't found consistent playmakers, and that was clearly evident Saturday.

Mettenberger for Heisman: It looks like the offseason talk about LSU making better use of Zach Mettenberger's powerful right arm under new offensive coordinator Cam Cameron was no joke. Mettenberger set a new school record with five touchdown passes in Saturday's 56-17 win against UAB. After passing for 282 yards against UAB -- with Odell Beckham Jr. grabbing five balls for 136 yards and three scores -- and 251 last week against TCU, Mettenberger has eclipsed the 250-yard mark in both of the first two games. He did so only three times last season.

Welcome back: Through two weeks, seven SEC programs are off to a 2-0 start. Included in that bunch are four of the five teams that failed to reach a bowl game last season: Auburn, Missouri, Tennessee and Arkansas. Enjoy it while it lasts, though, guys. Tennessee faces Oregon and Florida in the next two games. Auburn gets Mississippi State and LSU in the next two weeks. Arkansas draws Texas A&M, Florida, South Carolina and Alabama in a four-week stretch before long. And Missouri faces Vanderbilt, Georgia, Florida and South Carolina in October alone. In other words, the road's going to get bumpy soon once they jump into conference play, and they can't feast on the Samfords, Arkansas States and Toledos of the college football world.

What we learned: Week 2

September, 8, 2013
With Texas A&M sitting at 2-0 after a win over Sam Houston State on Saturday and Alabama looming, here are three things we learned about the Aggies:

The defense still needs work: The Aggies have allowed two teams to rush for at least 200 yards in consecutive weeks. Sam Houston State compiled 240 on the ground a week after Rice went for 306. With Alabama running back T.J. Yeldon and Co. coming to Kyle Field next week, that doesn't bode well. Here's one thing that could work in the Aggies' favor, though: Rice ran some read-option and Sam Houston State used a lot of option football as well. Alabama won't be using any of that; the Crimson Tide will try to run right at the Aggies, so schematically, it might not be as tough a task. But the caliber of opponent goes way up, so there's no doubt it's a tall task. The Aggies need all the bodies they can get, so they'll be happy to welcome back linebacker Steven Jenkins, defensive end Gavin Stansbury and cornerback De'Vante Harris, who all served two-game suspensions.

The offense is still explosive: Texas A&M rolled up 714 offensive yards on Saturday. Not only did quarterback Johnny Manziel impress, so did true freshman Kenny Hill, who came in and completed two big passes right away after entering the game (the second was a touchdown pass). The running game was solid for a second straight week, receiver Mike Evans continues to get better and the Aggies have plenty of weapons, as 11 different players caught a pass on Saturday.

Johnny's still Johnny: Manziel looked impressive in his first start of 2013. Since entering the game in the second half against Rice, Manziel has thrown for six touchdowns and completed 69 percent of his passes. His signature elusiveness was on display, and he showed a desire to stay in the pocket and made nice throws when he did.


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