Saturday, December 26, 2009

Independence Bowl Preview: Texas A&M By the Numbers

Continuing our look at Georgia's Independence Bowl opponent, here is a look at how the Aggies stack up statistically.

Head Coach

Mike Sherman is in his second year on the sidelines for Texas A&M. He took over for Dennis Franchione following the end of the 2007 season, replacing Franchione's spread-option offense with a pro-style offense. Sherman was previously head coach of the Green Bay Packers, where he compiled 57-39 record from 2000 - 2005. Sherman is 10-14 overall in two years at A&M.


Texas A&M has one of the most dynamic offenses in the country. Lead by quarterback Jerrod Johnson, the Aggies can score quick and often through the air and on the ground. Here's how they rank nationally:

Rushing: 190 yards per game (2nd in the Big XII, 25th overall in the country)
Passing: 275 yards per game (6th in the Big XII, 22nd overall in the country)
Total Offense: 465 yards per game (1st in the Big XII, 5th overall in the country)

The offense statistical leaders for the Aggies are:

Jerrod Johnson - 267 of 439 for 3217 yards, 28 Touchdowns and 6 Interceptions

Christine Michael - 151 carries for 767 yards and 9 touchdowns
Cyrus Gary - 156 carries for 752 yards and 5 touchdowns
Jerrod Johnson - 131 carries for 455 yards and 8 touchdowns

Uzoma Nwachuka - 37 catches for 670 yards and 6 Touchdowns
Ryan Tannehill - 44 catches for 574 yards and 4 Touchdowns

On defense, the Aggies are led by Von Miller who led the NCAA in sacks with 17. Outside of Miller, the Texas A&M is very weak and should not be able to stop a consistent Georgia offense.

Rushing Defense: 169 yards per game (10th in the Big XII, 87th in the country)
Passing Efficiency: 135.56 (Last in the Big XII, 84th in the country)
Passing Defense: 263 yards per game (Last in Big XII, 111th in the Country)
Total Defense: 431 yards per game (Last in the Big XII, 107th in the Country)
Scoring Defense: 33 points per game (Last in the Big XII, 104th in the Country)

Statistical Leaders:

Sacks - Von Miller - 17 total (16 solo, 2 Assists)
Tackles - Trent Hunter, DB - 86 total (51 solo, 35 assisted)
Interceptions - Jordan Pugh - 3 for 64 return yards


A&M's special teams have been anything but special. They have used two different punters, neither with much success and their coverage teams are bad. While they throw very few interceptions, they do not rank very high in turnover margin.

Turnover Margin: 8th in the Big XII, 66th in the Country
Kick Off Returns: 23 yards a returns (6th in the Big XII, 45th in the Country)
Punt Returns: 6 yards a return (10th in the Big XII, 96th in the country)
Net Punting: 34 yards a punt (10th in the Big XII, 92nd in the Country - Georgia is 1st in the country at 43 yards per punt)

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Independence Bowl Preview: Texas A&M's 2009 Season Part 2

This is part 2 of a look at the season thus far for Georgia's Independence Bowl opponent, the Texas A&M Aggies.

Game 7 – Texas A&M 52, Texas Tech 30
Coming off three straight losses and facing a team that had blown Kansas State (who then blew out the Aggies), things did not look good to start the second half of the season. But running back Cyrus Gray was not about to let the Texas A&M season go down in flames. Gray rushed for four scores an Jerrod Johnson added two more (one passing and one running) as the Aggies cruised to a 22 pint victory over the Red Raiders. The Aggies were aided by 5 Texas Tech turnovers, including two interceptions of quarterback Taylor Potts.

Game 8 – Texas A&M 35, Iowa State 10

The Aggies got their second straight victory with an easy win over Big XII North foe, Iowa State. Efficiency was the name of the game for Texas A&M, as they converted 10 of 13 third downs and did not punt the entire game. The Aggies defense was able to battle Cyclones QB Jerome Tiller, who was making his first career start, into throwing two costly interceptions that helped lead to the Texas A&M victory.

Game 9 – Colorado 35, Texas A&M 34

Despite a relentless Aggies pass rush that sacked Buffaloes QB Tyler Hansen eight times, Colorado was able to squeak out a one point victory at home. Texas A&M built a 21-10 halftime lead after Cyrus Gray returned a kick-off 99 yards for a touchdown. Leading 34-28 with 3:59 to go, the Aggies kicked the ball to Colorado. The Buffaloes were able to drive the field in a little under two minutes and scored to take a one point lead. The Aggies were unable to set up a chance for the game winning field goal and their record fell to 5-4.
Game 10 – Oklahoma 65, Texas A&M 10
Facing an Oklahoma team struggling through its worse season in years, A&M hoped to beat the Sooners to get bowl eligible. What happened was their third major blow out loss of the season (third time they lost by at least 4 touchdowns). Landry Jones and Demarco Murray had big days for Oklahoma as they racked up over 600 yards of offense. The Aggies’ only touchdown came on a Michael Hodges’ interception of Landry Jones late in the first half.

Game 11 – Texas A&M 38, Baylor 3

Paced by Christine Michael’s school record 97-yard touchdown run, the Aggies gained bowl eligibility with a 35 point thumping of in-state rival Baylor. The team rushed for a season high 375 yards on the Big XII’s worst rushing defense. QB Jerrod Johnson also became the school’s single season record holder for passing yards. This was Texas A&M’s ninth straight home victory over Baylor.

Game 12 – Texas 49, Texas A&M 39
Thanksgiving night was a showcase for two of the Big XII’s best passers, as Jerrod Johnson and Colt McCoy went head to head in an old fashioned shoot out. Johnson threw for 342 yards and 4 touchdowns and added 97 yards rushing. But McCoy was up to the task, as the Heisman finalist accounted for 5 total touchdowns (4 passing) and led the Longhorns to the win. While emotion fueled A&M against their biggest rival, the talent gap proved too much.

Final Assessment
The Aggies finished the second half the same way they did in the first half with a record of 3-3. This included 3 blow out victories where they won by at least 25 points in each game, but they also suffered their fourth loss of the season by at least 28 points. Close games against Colorado and Texas could have changed the season dramatically, but in the end they ended up where they should be. They beat the bad teams on their schedule and lost to the good ones and more likely than not, the final score was not close. While they are a threat on offense, they have too many holes on defense to stop talented offenses.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Independence Bowl Preview: Texas A&M's 2009 Season Review Part 1

This is the first part in series of articles examining Georgia's Independence Bowl opponent, the Texas A&M Aggies. First I will examine the Aggies 2009 results beginning with their first six games of the season.

Game 1 – Texas A&M 41, New Mexico 6

The Aggies’ offense opened the season firing on all cylinders as they put up 606 yards on the Lobos of New Mexico in a 41-6 victory. Junior QB Jerrod Johnson completed 31 of 41 passes for 349 yards and two touchdowns. Johnson also ran in another score as did running backs Cyrus Gray and Christine Michael. The defense was also stellar, sacking Lobos QB Donovan Porterie 5 times and allowing only 21 yards on the ground. It was the Aggies’ 24th victory in their last 26 home openers.

Game 2 – Texas A&M 38, Utah State 30

After building a 24-10 halftime lead, Texas A&M had to hold on to beat Utah State 38-30. Jerrod Johnson threw for four touchdowns in the game. Three of those touchdowns went to freshman wide receiver Uzoma Nwachukwu. He also added a rushing score in the game and was the star player on the field. The offense had to put up big numbers, because the defense failed to hold Utah State from marching up and down the field as well. Their quarterback threw for 334 yards and two scores and running back Robert Turbin rushed for 114 yards. After Utah State scored two touchdowns to get within 8 with just minutes remaining, the Aggies were finally able to run out the clock and seal the victory.

Game 3 – Texas A&M 56, UAB 19

The Aggies improved to 3-0 with a blowout victory over UAB. This game was never in doubt, as Texas A&M built a 28-6 halftime lead and continued to pour it on in the second half.
Game 4 – Arkansas 47, Texas A&M 19
The Aggie defense was no match for Arkansas QB Ryan Mallett on his Saturday. After taking an early 10-0 lead on the Hogs, Arkansas rallied off 30 straight points. Mallett threw for 4 touchdowns and Arkansas added 162 yards on the ground. Jerrod Johnson struggled against the SEC defense, attempting 58 passes but completing only 30.

Game 5 – Oklahoma State 36, Texas A&M 31

Despite missing stars Dez Bryant and Kendall Hunter, Zac Robinson was able to lead Oklahoma State to victory at College Station. OSU lead 29-22 going into the fourth. Texas A&M got a Randy Bullock 50 yard field goal to cut the lead to 4 with 14:54 left on the clock. But the Aggies D could not stop the Cowboys from chewing up the clock and putting the game out of reach. A 7 minute, 41 second touchdown drive made the score 36 – 25, and despite a touchdown late, the Cowboys held on for the victory.

Game 6 – Kansas State 62, Texas A&M 14

Texas A&M suffered their third straight defeat, this time in a blowout fashion to conference rival Kansas State. The Aggies defense could not stop the Wildcats from scoring, resulting in a 38-0 half time deficit. To make matters worse, Kansas State returner Brandon Banks took the second half opening kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown. All this came after Kansas State had suffered an embarrassing loss to Texas Tech the week before when they gave up 700 yards and 66 points. 6 turnovers and -13 yards rushing killed the Texas A&M offense.

Mid-season assessment: After starting off the year with 3 wins over opponents from non-BCS schools, the Aggies struggled against Arkansas from the SEC and two conference opponents. And while the close loss to a highly rated Oklahoma State team showed the team had fight, the embarrassing loss to a weak Kansas State team was equally as bad. At the mid way point, the Aggies record sat at 3-3. As you will see, the second half of the season went much the same as the first.

Tomorrow: Part 2 of the review of the 2009 season for the Texas A&M Aggies
Friday: I will break out the Aggies team statistically.
Saturday: What Georgia must do to win and my final prediction

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

We're playing a bowl game in less than a week: Does anyone really care?

!!!NEWS FLASH!!! - Hutson Mason commits to Georgia. AJC has the story here
This seems like forever ago, doesn't it?

There seems to be exactly no buzz heading into Georgia's Independence Bowl match up with Texas A&M. I know it was a rough season and we have bigger fish to fry (finding a new DC), but this is still the last game of the 2009 season! That means no more Georgia football for the next 8 months! We should at least be more excited for this game than we were for Tennessee Tech. Unfortunately work has held me up from writing much lately, but with the Christmas holidays coming up, I will finally get a chance to sit down an take a look at our bowl opponents.

Come back tomorrow where I will examine the season thus far for the Texas A&M Aggies. I will go through their schedule, game by game, and hopefully paint a little light on what the Dawgs can expect to see on December 28th.

Until then, GO DAWGS!!!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Top Ten Plays of 2009: Part 2

#5 - AJ Green Leaping Touchdown Catch against LSU

Georgia struggled all day to get the offense going against the top ten rated Tigers in Athens. Down 12-7, Georgia drove the field to the Tigers 16 yard line. Joe Cox lofted a pass towards the back corner of the endzone and AJ was there to haul it in:

Georgia took the 13-12 lead with only 1:09 left on the clock. A BS celebration penalty was called and we all know what happenned after that.

#4 - Rennie Curran Saves the Day Against South Carolina

Thanks a Deangelo Tyson blocked extra point, Georgia held a four point lead over the Gamecocks in the final seconds of the game. Stephen Garcia led his team inside the Georgia 10 and faced a fourth down with just seconds remaining. Garcia dropped back to pass, but seeing no one open, took off like he was going to run for the endzone (In my opinion, had he ran for it, he would have gotten the TD). At the last second, Garcia tried to throw a quick pass across the middle. But Mr Everywhere, Rennie Curran, was able to tip the pass away and save the game for Georgia:

#3 - AJ Green Blocks a Field Goal, Sets Up Game Winning Score

On a rainy night in Athens, Arizona State had taken advantage of Georgia turnovers to tie the game at 17 and had a chance to take the lead on a field goal with just minutes remaining. The Sun Devils lined up for the kick, but AJ Green was not about to let Georgia lose to a mid-level team from the Pac 10:

Following the block, Joe Cox found AJ on a deep ball the set up Blair Walsh to kick a field goal to win it for the Dawgs. Final score, Georgia 20, Arizona State 17.

#2 - Bacarri Rambo Separates the Ball from Mario Fannin

With Georgia holding a seven point lead against the Tigers, Auburn QB Chris Todd found an open Mario Fannin near the Georgia goal for what looked like the game winning touchdown. Redshirt freshman safety Bacarri Rambo had other ideas:

As the crowd chanted, "Rambo, Rambo, Rambo", the defense came up with a huge play, sacking Todd and forcing Auburn into a long 4th down play. The pass then fell incomplete and Georgia held on to win. Rambo suffered a concussion and would miss Georgia's final two games, but has endeared himself to all of those in the Bulldog Nation.

#1 - Caleb King's 75 Yard Touchdown Run against Georgia Tech

The Dawgs took a suprising 17-3 lead into the half against top ten ranked Georgia Tech. Tech took the ball to start the second half and on the third play Jackets receiver Demaryius Thomas took a quick out pass for a long Georgia Tech TD to make the score 17-10. Many Georgia fans feared the scond half was going to turn into a repeat of 2008, when a a Georgia lead evaporated in what became a 45-42 Tech victory. Georgia had been able to gash the Tech D-line the entire first half and needed to answer the Georgia Tech score. One their first play of the second half, Caleb King provided the answer Georgia was looking for:

Georgia held on for the hug upset victory, 30-24. Georgia's running back pair of Caleb King and Washaun Ealey combined for over yards and 3 scores on the ground. It was a great night for Georgia and was a reminder to everyone that "WE RUN THIS STATE!".