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The SEC West schools combined for a record of 18-0 against non-division opponents.

Aggies still have room for improvement

September, 15, 2014
Sep 15
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COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Texas A&M is becoming a more popular pick currently when it comes to projecting things like the SEC championship game participants or the four teams who will make the College Football Playoff field.

[+] EnlargeMalcome Kennedy
David J. Phillip/AP PhotoMalcome Kennedy and the Aggies are sitting at 3-0, but there's still plenty of course corrections to be made on the field this season.
There's valid reasoning for it: the Aggies have a quality win on their résumé, a convincing road victory over South Carolina. They are ranked sixth in the country, first in our SEC power rankings and the general consensus is that more success is ahead for Kevin Sumlin's crew.

But every team has flaws and the Aggies are no exception. And several of those flaws were visible in Texas A&M's most recent game, a 38-10 win against Rice.

Texas A&M had fewer total offensive yards, rushing yards, first downs and ran only 59 plays to Rice's 91 on Saturday.

The offense had its hiccups, such as the opening drive which consisted of a dropped pass, an intentional grounding penalty and an incomplete pass. The Aggies were only 3-for-8 on third-down attempts. Even though it wasn't a bad offensive day (477 yards, 38 points), the Aggies' standard is set so high that a day like Saturday is considered a down day (the Aggies had more than 600 yards and 50 points against both South Carolina and Lamar, their first two opponents).

"People get a little spoiled with how we play offense around here," Sumlin said. "And if we don't score right off the bat, the sky is falling. We'd like to score every time the first series of every game. Our percentage is high enough that people get frustrated and our team starts pressing a little bit. But you know what? That's football."

Defensively, the Aggies allowed a season-high 481 yards including 240 rushing yards. It was the first time this season the Aggies allowed a team to reach 100 or more rushing yards, a far cry from last season when allowing 200 or more rushing yards was the norm.

But the first two weeks provided different circumstances. In Week 1 vs. South Carolina, the Aggies raced out to a large lead, virtually taking the running game away from the Gamecocks as a long-term option, and the Gamecocks' star back, Mike Davis, was injured. In Week 2, the Aggies were simply far superior to Lamar, an FCS squad.

Rice, a well-coached squad whose head coach (David Bailiff) knows Sumlin well from their days coaching head-to-head in Conference USA, provided a viable challenge. A mix of read-option, speed option, play-action passing and a mobile quarterback (Driphus Jackson) gave the Aggies plenty to deal with, especially minus a key player, starting middle linebacker Jordan Mastrogiovanni.

Still, Sumlin was happy with what the final scoreboard read.

"Ten points," he said. "That's pretty good. If we can keep our point totals down -- we gave up some yards, a lot of yards at time -- and the time of possession deal, third down. We're not nearly where we've been the last two weeks on third down.

"I think their quarterback played very, very well, particularly in the first half, extending drives, improvising, not just the option, but dropping back and taking off."

Sumlin noted third downs, which the Aggies allowed 10 conversions on 21 Rice attempts. The biggest play allowed was the result of freshman cornerback Victor Davis biting on a Jackson pump fake, which left receiver Mario Hull wide open for a 35-yard touchdown. With a lot of youth in key positions, things like that are bound to happen.

The result on the scoreboard was positive at the end of the night. But that doesn't mean the Aggies are perfect and Sumlin acknowledged that.

"Guys weren't very happy with how they played," Sumlin said. "Rice had something to do with that. They had a great plan. Our guys were kind of ho-hum in the locker room afterward and hard on themselves because of their performance. That's good, when you get to that point, as a team, because there's a lot of guys that would have liked to have won 38-10 today and be happy with how they played."

SEC bowl projections: Week 3

September, 14, 2014
Sep 14
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We're creeping closer and closer to the meat of conference season in the SEC. That just means things will get a little clearer in the bowl picture for the league.

We had a major shakeup at the top of our predictions with South Carolina's 38-35 upset win over Georgia, but we're still going with one SEC team making the College Football Playoff and 11 teams from the league making it into the postseason:

College Football Playoff semifinal (Rose Bowl): Alabama
Orange Bowl: Texas A&M
Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl: South Carolina
Capital One Bowl: Auburn
TaxSlayer Bowl: LSU
Outback Bowl: Ole Miss
Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl: Georgia
Belk Bowl: Missouri
AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl: Mississippi State
AutoZone Liberty Bowl: Florida
Birmingham Bowl: Tennessee

SEC Reigns Over AP Rankings

September, 14, 2014
Sep 14
3:23
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ESPN College Football Insider Brett McMurphy discusses the latest Associated Press college football poll, where the SEC has an unprecedented seven teams in the top 15.

SEC again dominates AP poll

September, 14, 2014
Sep 14
2:07
PM ET
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South Carolina's win over Georgia vaulted the Gamecocks 10 spots to No. 14 in The Associated Press college football poll, giving the Southeastern Conference an unprecedented seven teams in the top 15.

The SEC had eight teams ranked in the poll for the third straight week and five teams in the top 10 for two weeks running. Alabama was third behind No. 1 Florida State and No. 2 Oregon, followed by No. 5 Auburn, No. 6 Texas A&M, No. 8 LSU and No. 10 Ole Miss.

Georgia fell to No. 13 after losing to the Gamecocks 38-35, and Missouri was No. 18.

Florida State, which was off, had 37 first-place votes, losing one to the Ducks, who had 17.


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SEC Power Rankings: Week 3

September, 14, 2014
Sep 14
2:00
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There's a new No. 1 in the SEC Power Rankings following South Carolina's triumph over Georgia. The teams at the top of this week's rankings weren't tested this week, but that could change Saturday, when Florida travels to Alabama and Mississippi State heads to LSU. This week's shakeup could be just the beginning.

Edward Aschoff, Jeff Barlis, David Ching, Sam Khan Jr., Chris Low, Greg Ostendorf and Alex Scarborough contributed to these rankings.

Best of the visits: SEC

September, 14, 2014
Sep 14
1:25
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There were some great games around the SEC over the weekend. Several prospects attended games and used social media as a platform to share their experiences. Here's a look at some of the top social media posts:

The No. 2-ranked inside linebacker in the country, Roquan Smith, visited South Carolina for its 38-35 victory over Georgia. The Under Armour All-American tweeted out a picture of his family in Williams-Brice Stadium. Georgia is one of Smith’s favorite schools, while South Carolina has fallen behind. A big win against the Bulldogs could have given the Gamecocks a boost.



Former Florida defensive back commit Marcus Lewis is still considering Kentucky and Florida. The four-star prospect might not have attended the game, but Lewis was definitely watching on TV. The ESPN 300 prospect tweeted out his thoughts on how Kentucky looked.



David Womack tweeted a picture of his son, Matt Womack, an LSU commit, with Alabama head coach Nick Saban. Womack has been committed to LSU since July, but it appears the Alabama offer could give this three-star offensive lineman something to think about.



Five-star defensive end CeCe Jefferson, despite suffering a shoulder injury Friday night, visited Florida for the third consecutive week. In this photo he tweeted out, Jefferson is in the Florida locker room holding a “Chucky” doll. The doll, which is usually taken through the Gator Walk prior to the game, is a recent Florida defensive tradition started by New England Patriots defensive tackle and former Florida player Dominique Easley and passed down to defensive end Dante Fowler Jr.



ESPN Junior 300 quarterback Brandon McIlwain poses with his mom for a photo in front of Williams-Brice Stadium. McIlwain has narrowed down his choices to South Carolina, Duke, Florida, Auburn, Penn State and Virginia Tech. The strong-armed quarterback is one of the top signal-callers in the country for 2016.



Miami running back commit Dexter Williams visited Florida for its thrilling 36-30 victory over Kentucky. Despite his commitment to the Hurricanes, the Gators have continued to pursue Williams. Williams tweeted about his time in Gainesville.



2017 OL prospect Jack Anderson, who already holds offers from Arizona State, New Mexico, Texas Tech and UAB, visited Texas A&M for its 38-10 victory over Rice on Saturday night.

COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Late in the fourth quarter, the fans at Kyle Field let out a loud cheer after freshman backup quarterback Kyle Allen completed a pass to Malcome Kennedy for a 9-yard gain and a first down.

But the cheer wasn't for Allen or the Texas A&M offense or the play. It was for the Kyle Field grounds crew, who spent a few seconds placing sand in a divot. The group was rather busy on Saturday night during the Aggies' 38-10 win over Rice, tending to the playing surface as large divots emerged throughout the game.

The Aggies have a new grass surface this season (the previous one had to be replaced during the Kyle Field redevelopment project, which is ongoing) and College Station received a torrential downpour of rain on Friday night, which didn't help field conditions.

Rice coach David Bailiff expressed concern about the field conditions and, according to the Houston Chronicle, spoke with Texas A&M athletic director Eric Hyman after the game.





Rice athletic director Joe Karlgaard said the Aggies were in constant communication on steps to keep the field safe throughout the game.

“We were comfortable with the way they handled it,” Karlgaard said.

Bailiff was complimentary of the grounds crew after the game.

"I thought their grounds crew did as good a job as anybody could do keeping up with that," Bailiff said.

The players noted after the game that the field did cause some difficulty at times.

"It's a new field and it's a pretty bad field," Texas A&M defensive end Julien Obioha said. "We've got to get used to it. Conditions aren't always perfect. There are times out there myself when I was on a block and the field would give out but you can't change anything about it. You just have to deal with it."

Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin said that if the field conditions caused big issues, they would have taken further action.

"I don't know how much [the field conditions] impacted the game," Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin said. "We got a lot of rain last night ... you never know with a new surface what it was going to be like. The good news is it didn't rain very much all day today. It could have been worse if it was raining.

"It was something we kept an eye on and if we thought it was going to be a really, really big issue, then there would've been decisions made, not necessarily by me, but in conjunction with a lot of other people that things would have changed."

Video: Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin

September, 14, 2014
Sep 14
1:42
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Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin knows his team can play better but was content enough with the 38-10 win over Rice.

No. 7 Texas A&M 38, Rice 10

September, 14, 2014
Sep 14
1:37
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video Kenny Hill threw for 300 yards and four touchdowns to lead No. 7 Texas A&M past Rice 38-10.
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Kenny Hill threw for 300 yards and four touchdowns as A&M overcame a slow start for a 38-10 win over Rice.
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It wasn't Texas A&M's best showing, but it was good enough for the Aggies to win comfortably over Rice 38-10.

Hill's 4 TD passes lead No. 7 A&M over Rice 38-10

September, 14, 2014
Sep 14
1:00
AM ET
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COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Kenny Hill threw for 300 yards and four touchdowns and No. 7 Texas A&M overcame a slow start for a 38-10 win over Rice on Saturday night.

The win gives the Aggies a 3-0 record for the first time since 2010.

Texas A&M led by 14 points at halftime, but struggled at times to sustain drives and committed several costly penalties, including one that resulted in a touchdown being called back, in the first half.

They got going after halftime with Hill finding Josh Reynolds on a 20-yard touchdown on the first drive of the third quarter. A 1-yard touchdown run by Tra Carson pushed the lead to 35-10 later in the third.

Hill also had TD passes of 14, 13 and 48 yards and has 1,094 yards passing this season to become the first player in school history to throw for 1,000 yards in the first three games of a season.

Driphus Jackson threw for 212 yards and a touchdown and ran for 84 yards for Rice (0-2).


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