Texas A&M picked up its second straight win and third in the past four weeks by shutting out Vanderbilt, 25-0, in Nashville, Tennessee, on Saturday. Here’s how it all played out:
What the win means for Texas A&M: The Aggies (8-3, 4-3 SEC) get back to over .500 in league play and the win was a positive, regardless of who it was against or how it was attained. Getting a shutout was a positive, especially for a defense that struggled in recent weeks. Could the quarterback position be getting closer to a resolution? Coach Kevin Sumlin suggested in the postgame that “we’re fine with where we are” after sophomore Kyle Allen threw for 336 yards and a touchdown with no interceptions in his return to the starting lineup, seemingly intimating that Allen will start next week versus LSU. He won’t win any awards with his performance on Saturday (18-for-36 passing), but he looked much better than he did in his last start, on Oct. 24, in a 23-3 loss to Ole Miss. The Aggies have a chance to finish with a 5-3 SEC record if they can win at LSU next week, which would be their best league record since 2012.
What the loss means for Vanderbilt: The Commodores (4-7, 2-5 SEC) won’t be bowl eligible this season -- they had to win each of their last two games to attain that status. The defense was encouraging early on, holding the Aggies to only one offensive touchdown, but the offense could get nothing going. The Commodores finished with a meager 148 offensive yards and only 23 passing yards combined between starter Kyle Shurmur and sophomore Johnny McCrary, who combined for five completions in 16 attempts. If Vanderbilt could have generated anything offensively, it might have been able to make it a game.
Player of the game: Texas A&M kicker Taylor Bertolet. The senior tied the school record for field goals in a game with six, including three from more than 40 yards away and two 46-yarders. He’s 22-for-29 on field goals this season (75.8 percent), which is the best single-season success rate of his career. He’s also perfect on PAT attempts this season.
Stat of the game: The shutout was the Aggies’ first since 2004 when they blanked Wyoming and the first road shutout since 2002 (at Baylor). It’s the first out-of-state shutout since 1975 (at Kansas State).
Unsung hero: The defense gets the glory in this game, as it should after its dominant performance, but running back Tra Carson once again turned in a quality game. He ran for more than 100 yards for the fourth straight game, finishing with 126 on 22 carries. He is now only 10 yards away from his first 1,000-yard rushing season with one regular-season game remaining.