What Texas A&M said: ‘That was a helluva team we just played’
ATHENS — Jimbo Fisher saw opportunities slip away for Texas A&M on Saturday, but the Aggies’ vaunted head coach knows that’s the nature of big-time football.
“It was a hard-fought game, we’re not here for moral victories,” Fisher said after a 19-13 loss to No. 4-ranked Georgia at Sanford Stadium snapped his team’s four-game win streak. “We played a great football team very well, but we’ve got to find that last two inches.
“We were there; there were some opportunities that things could have gone a different way.”
Georgia’s defense rose to the challenge at their own 26-yard line in the third quarter. The Bulldogs stopped Kellen Mond on a third-and-1 QB sneak, and then stopped tailback Isaiah Spiller on a run out of the shotgun formation.
Fisher intimated he felt Mond might have picked up the first down on his QB sneak.
Fisher, a long-time QB coach turned coordinator and guru, explained the age-old question of why teams run out of the shotgun set rather than put the QB under center in short-yardage.
“The angles, the Pistol gives the back a two-way go, and he can see a downhill run,” Fisher said, explaining that it allows the backs more flexibility and negates a blitzing defense’s ability to cut off runs to pre-designated holes.
Georgia’s defense held Texas A&M to minus-1 yard rushing, but it came through in pass coverage, too.
The Aggies were driving for a potential go-ahead score when freshman DB Tyrique Stevenson broke up a third-and-11 pass at the Georgia 43-yard line with 4:26 left and the Bulldogs clinging to the 19-13 margin.
Fisher explained he chose to punt after that play because the Aggies had three timeouts left, and he was counting on his defense to stop Georgia.
Instead, a Jake Fromm pass to D’Andre Swift and two Brian Herrien runs netted a first down and forced Texas A&M to burn timeouts.
Then, in the same series, on a second-and-12, Fromm struck again, hitting Dominick Blaylock for an 11-yard pass.
Swift took a toss left for another first down on the ensuing third-and-1.
Some Georgia fans complained about the nature of the win, but Texas A&M linebacker Anthony Hines had a different perspective after facing the Bulldogs’ offense.
“That was a helluva team we played,” Hines said. “That was definitely a very hostile environment, very physical game, the No. 4 team in the country and they showed it.”
Fellow linebacker Buddy Johnson said the Aggies will get some confidence out of the hard-fought game with the Bulldogs rolling into their next game at LSU.
“We just played with the No. 4 team in the country, and those guys were pretty good,” Johnson said, “and we were going toe to toe with them.
“It’s very frustrating, because at times, in the big moments, that’s when it’s most important, and that’s when guys have to step up and make the big plays, and that’s something we didn’t do.”
And it’s something Georgia did do, staying alive in the College Football Playoff hunt with a noon kickoff at Georgia Tech on deck next Saturday.
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