Posted on September 24, 2017, by Travis Pulver
Before the season began, Texas A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin was officially put on the hot seat by the school’s athletic director. Heading into Saturday’s game against the Arkansas Razorbacks, Sumlin’s job was not on the line. He wasn’t in danger of being fired if the Aggies lost to the Razorbacks. Had the team blown Arkansas out of the water, his job wouldn’t have become more secure.
However, with how the team won his job didn’t become any more secure than it was before the game began.
But he won, right? Shouldn’t we be clapping him on the back and telling him ‘good job?’
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Eh—yes, we should. Since the team did win and it has been playing better, Sumlin deserves credit for a job well done. Generating over 500 yards of offense is nothing to shake a stick at. Anytime you have two guys that run for over 100 yards each, and the offense combines for 285 total yards on the ground, you did something right.
But when your defense gives up multiple 30+ yard plays a game, you are doing something wrong. When you give up 43 points and 457 yards of offense you are doing something wrong. If you do so against one of the best teams in the nation (i.e., Alabama, Clemson, etc.), that’s one thing.
But when you do so against a team that on its best days is a ‘middle of the road’ squad—that’s bad.
A&M fans have to like the progress they’ve seen in Kellen Mond. His passing game is improving (14-27 for 216 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception). His 109 yards in the ground game was pretty nice as well.
Keith Ford (14 carries for 102 yards and two touchdowns) and Trayveon Williams remain a dangerous tandem. Can fans ever say too much about Christian Kirk (five receptions for 110 yards and two touchdowns; one kick-return for a touchdown)?
While it is easy to point fingers at the defense, the unit did come through in the clutch. When the team needed the defense to make a play, it did. Thanks to Armani Watts interception Austin Allen in the end zone in overtime, the team won, 50-43.
For the third time in the last four years, Texas A&M beat Arkansas in overtime.
The production, the resiliency, the perseverance are all things that can be said about Sumlin’s team based off this game. But if the Aggies can barely handle Arkansas, how can they expect to handle Alabama in a couple weeks? Or Florida, Mississippi State, Auburn, or LSU?
Ole Miss isn’t ranked, but fans will not forget last season’s loss to the Rebels anytime soon. Shea Patterson is going to be even better this year.
Texas A&M can’t go 5-0 or 6-0 this year to start the season and then fall apart like it normally does under Sumlin. After they face an improved South Carolina team next week the schedule gets pretty tough (Alabama, Florida, Mississippi State, and Auburn).
They could easily lose all four and head into the November 11 game against New Mexico with a 4-5 record and in need of two wins to become bowl eligible. They should get one against New Mexico, but neither Ole Miss or LSU is a sure thing.
A losing record will not help Sumlin keep his job. Neither would going 6-6.
If Sumlin wants to secure his job, the Aggies will need to be at least 8-4 at the end of the regular season. Wins over Alabama and LSU would help, but wouldn’t necessarily be enough.