Texas A&M made the biggest plays in Saturday’s 24-17 victory over Ole Miss, but the Aggies flirted with danger by making a few basic mistakes.
Ole Miss had six plays of at least 20 yards in gaining more than half of its 405 yards.
The Rebels opened the second half with a five-play, 65-yard touchdown drive for a 14-10 lead that was jump-started by a 38-yard run by Scottie Phillips.
“We’ve got two guys perfectly there to make the play,” A&M coach Jimbo Fisher said at his weekly Monday press conference. “We just fit it wrong, [we were] one gap over. Is it easily fixed? Yes.”
“That player could say, ‘I made only one mistake,’” Fisher added. “But, OK, how big was that mistake?”
Ole Miss took a 7-3 lead on a 69-yard run by Jerrion Ealy as A&M’s Myles Jones and Demani Richardson missed chances to tackle Ealy.
Those mistakes also happened on offense.
“We had a double move [by a wide receiver,]” Fisher said. “We had it protected well [but a lineman was pushed back into quarterback Kellen Mond].”
Fisher said that mistake might have cost A&M seven points.
“A lot of times you don’t notice those things, but other times you do, because of the result of the play or the type of game it is,” Fisher said. “And it’s that simple. Is it very fixable? Yes, you just got to limit those things and not have those 4-5 mental breakdowns.”
Ole Miss had four rushes for 170 of its 250 yards on the ground.
Defensive end Michael Clemons who had make six straight starts missed the Ole Miss game with injury as did cornerback Charles Oliver (four starts), cornerback Keldrick Carper (two starts) and tight end Glenn Beal (three starts). Fisher said he’s hopeful to get some of them back this week against Mississippi State (3-4, 1-3).
Senior defensive back Roney Elam who started the first three games has been unvailable, Fisher said.
Senior cornerback Larry Pryor is no longer with the team and junior safety Derrick Tucker is taking a redshirt, Fisher said.
Pryor played in the first six games, getting 12 tackles. Tucker played in the first four games, getting two tackles.
A&M linebacker Buddy Johnson who returned a fumble 62 yards for a touchdown was the Southeastern Conference’s defensive player of the week. Johnson also had 10 tackles in becoming the first Aggie this season to earn a weekly honor.
A&M (4-3, 2-2 SEC) will play Mississippi State at 11 a.m. Saturday at Kyle Field on the SEC Network. The Aggies also will play at 11 a.m. next Saturday against Texas-San Antonio on the SEC Network.