Posted: 1:15 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 13, 2013
By Brandon Larrabee
If there were any doubt that it's a new game in the SEC this year, one where the offenses are having their best season in a while, the Texas A&M-Ole; Miss match-up should have pretty much removed it. Over the course of 157 plays, the two teams picked up 1,049 yards and 56 first downs while scoring 79 points. The fact that those numbers don't sound as astounding this year as they once might have is reason enough to believe that something has changed.
And, boy, is it fun. The Aggies and the Rebels were tied four different times after A&M; put up the first points. There were 11 drives of 50 or more yards. Nine players caught passes of at least 20 yards. The score was 21-20 -- in the fourth quarter alone. And we could go on and on. It was one of those games that you didn't want to end.
Which makes the end a little bit disappointing. Not for Texas A&M; fans, of course, who watched their team win the game. But for Ole Miss fans, first of all, and for those of us who had begun to enjoy the barnburner.
On its final series, with 3:07 left, Ole Miss inexplicably decided to try three straight passes, all of which fell incomplete. The idea of running the ball to try to catch Texas A&M; off-guard, or to at least run down some of the clock in case they had to kick it back to Johnny Manziel and the Aggies offense, apparently did not occur to Hugh Freeze. The Rebels gained no ground, burned off just 34 seconds, and left more than enough time on the clock for Manziel and Co. to march down the field and set up the game-winning field goal.
With that, Texas A&M; became one of the ranked teams to survive a series of upsets and Top 25 losses that reshaped the rankings. The Aggies will almost certainly move up in the wake of the chaos higher in the poll, and they avoid a loss that would have all but killed their SEC West hopes. Here's hoping that the process of finding out whether A&M; can achieve those hopes is as fun for the remainder of 2013 as it's been so far.