Stunned in Starkville: 5 Observations from No. 17 Texas A&M’s 42-24 loss to Mississippi State

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Rogelio V Solis/AP/Shutterstock (13434488i) Texas A&M quarterback Max Johnson is hit from behind by a Mississippi State defender and looses the ball during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Starkville, Miss Texas A M Mississippi St Football, Starkville, United States – 01 Oct 2022

Stunned in Starkville: 5 Observations from No. 17 Texas A&M’s 42-24 loss to Mississippi State

After beating ranked opponents in consecutive weeks (#13 Miami and #10 Arkansas) the Aggies lost in convincing fashion to Mike Leach’s Bulldogs in Mississippi. Five thoughts on the upset loss:

  1. More of the same for Jimbo Fisher’s offense

The Texas A&M offense has been an absolute disaster in 2022. That continued in Starkville Saturday afternoon.

Fisher, brought in to College Station with a record-breaking deal at the time, was pitched as a ‘quarterback guru’ who paired tremendous recruiting ability with ‘a great offensive mind’. That is far from evident this season. Only once this year has the Aggie offense scored more than three touchdowns on offense, that came in their first game against the Sam Houston State Bearkats.

  1. Five-Star Freshman Disappoints Again

He scored his first collegiate touchdown last week against #10 Arkansas, but freshman WR Evan Stewart has been unimpressive four games into his Aggie career.

Stewart caught five passes for 56 yards during Saturday’s matchup with Mississippi State, struggling throughout the game to create separation against the Bulldogs’ defensive backs. The five-star freshman is averaging 49 yards per game receiving in 2022. Stewart also missed A&M’s matchup with the Miami Hurricanes two weeks ago due to disciplinary action after he missed a team curfew.

  1. Ainias Smith is Missed

Arguably the most explosive weapon for Texas A&M’s offense, Ainias Smith left last week’s game against Arkansas with a season ending injury. His consistent ability to create plays for the Aggie offense was missed in a massive way on Saturday in Starkville.

  1. QB Issues for ‘QB Guru’ Jimbo Fisher

It may be time to get a look at true freshman quarterback Conner Weigman.

A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher selected Longview native Haynes King as his quarterback to begin the 2022 season. After a massive upset loss to Appalachian State, Jimbo pivoted to LSU transfer Max Johnson. Johnson went 19 for 26 on Saturday for 203 yards and a touchdown before getting injured and then replaced by Haynes King.

King entered the game and did what he has done best in his career-provide turnovers to his opponent. In a limited amount of time due to the injury to Max Johnson, Haynes King threw two interceptions.

  1. Stopping the Run Still an Issue for A&M

Although they’ve been the bright spot for A&M in 2022, the Aggie defense has shown a weakness in their efforts to stop the run. Mississippi State may not have run the ball as often as they should have on Saturday, but when they did so averaged over six yards per carry. The Aggie offense is the Achilles heel for Jimbo Fisher and Texas A&M, but a running clock when unable to stop the run is a real problem for the Ags. The Bulldogs got yards on the ground in key moments throughout the game, and bled the clock when necessary.

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