Texas A&M-UCLA: Cessna grades the Aggies
OFFENSE -- B
What went right: A&M rushed for 382 yards with a pair of 100-yard rushers Trayveon Williams (22 carries-203 yards, two scores) and Keith Ford (18 carries-114 yards, 3 TDs).
What went wrong: Losing quarterback Nick Starkel to an injury was a killer. Kellen Mond has legs (54 yards on 15 carries) but he was 3-of-17 passing as UCLA had six sacks.
Bottom line: A&M rolled up 471 yards, didn’t have a turnover and still lost.
DEFENSE -- C
What went right: A&M recovered three fumble, had three sacks and five times forced UCLA to punt after running three plays – including four straight in the first half.
What went wrong: A&M couldn’t get off the field as UCLA scored touchdowns on its last five drives, going 75, 85, 96, 74 and 66 yards.
Bottom line: A&M allowed 554 yards on 84 plays. It was the first game of the season and maybe the Aggies wore down, but A&M’s offense was on the field 36 minutes, 22 seconds so the defense should have been fresh.
SPECIAL TEAMS -- C
What went right: Shane Tripucka had a 47-yard punt downed at the UCLA 4.
What went wrong: Braden Mann had 76 kickoffs last season, hitting only one out of bounds. His first one in 2017 was out of bounds, jump-starting UCLA’s field-goal drive. A holding penalty negated a 32-yard punt return by Christian Kirk.
Bottom line: The missed 43-yard field goal by Mann proved large.
COACHING -- C
What went right: Offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone and defensive coordinator John Chavis looked like the nation’s best duo as A&M took a 38-10 halftime lead.
What went wrong: A&M took a 7-3 lead by going on the ground on the last five plays, but after getting the ball right back with a turnover at the UCLA 3, the Aggies threw two incomplete passes, eventually settling for a field goal.
Bottom line: A&M couldn’t come up with enough offense or defense at crunch time.
OVERALL -- C
What went right: A&M played about as complete a first half as possible.
What went wrong: A&M did little in the second half, getting outgained 403-129.
Bottom line: It hurt that A&M didn’t have Starkel but with a 44-10 lead and only 17:06 left, you have to win.