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Important X-factors to watch for in Aggies matchup with Ole Miss
Coming off the bye week the Texas A&M Aggies were riding some positive momentum after coming up one play short of upsetting the #1 ranked Crimson Tide in Tuscaloosa. They rode that momentum into Colombia, South Carolina hoping to start a winning streak in the second half of the season. Instead, the Ags met a buzz saw in the Gamecocks, who jumped out to a 17-0 lead within the first five minutes of the football game. Shane Beamer had his squad ready to play and the environment was too much for this uber-young Texas A&M team. They dropped their third straight game and fell to 1-3 in SEC play. Disappointing for Jimbo Fisher in a year that carried so much expectation is an understatement. Let's examine precisely what has gone wrong for the Aggies and how this season could possibly be salvaged.
The two biggest things that I believe have plagued the Aggies in 2022 are the youth and inexperience and the offensive line play. Let's start off with the offensive line play, as the group has struggled to pass block and get any decent push for run plays. Things aren't going to get any easier for the unit as Jimbo Fisher announced Monday that starting lineman Bryce Foster, Aki Ogunbiyi and Jordan Moko are all out for the season. We have seen flashes of what the unit could be, during the second half of the Arkansas game and spurts of the Bama game as well. But for the majority of the season, offensive line coach Steve Addazio’s group has struggled big time. That has led to both QBs Max Johnson and Haynes King getting injured due to the opposing pass rush. Now with true freshman QB Connor Weigman getting snaps, Fisher should be concerned about the well-being of his five-star signee. Unless this key group can turn things around in a hurry, then an already anemic offense runs the risk of getting worse.
The next biggest issue I think that has impacted the Ags in 2022 is youth and inexperience. Now I get that might sound like a bad excuse given that these freshmen were a part of the highest-rated recruiting class of all time, so it’s easy to say that they should be ready to play at a high level. Hear me out on this, while most of them are four and five-star signees, they still have only 7 games of experience and playing time together. Teams take a while to gel, freshmen take time to get used to systems, routines game day operations and all of that good stuff. So I do think it is fair to give Jimbo Fisher a little slack when it comes to the amount of inexperience that is on the field.
With these two issues and many more staring the Maroon and White in the face, they welcome the Ole Miss Rebels to Kyle Field fresh off a loss to LSU. With this being the first home game back in Kyle Field in over a month, expect the 12th Man to show up and create an intimidating environment for the Rebs. The Rebels’ offense should be the X-factor in this one, if the Rebs can get the ground game going, the Aggies are in for a long night and this bad season could get worse. I see the Aggies hanging around in this one, but not being able to muster enough offense to hang around. Ole Miss wins 34-21 and the Ags fall to 3-5.