The Aggies went to Ohio State and were beaten soundly by the Buckeyes.
Most has been covered already in my game story and column.
The Aggies didn't do anything offensively, although the team was respectable on defense. The score was 0-0 after the first quarter, forcing an Ohio State missed field goal and a punt. But when the offense doesn't get a first down, a defensive effort like that isn't sustainable.
Piling on the offense isn't the best method in the world, but at this point in the season it will continuously be pointed out. Sure, the team hasn't done much in its last three outings — the Aggies haven't scored an offensive touchdown in 13 quarters and just six offensive points in that span. And when you look at the entire year, the unit hasn't really done much of anything.
Against Idaho, the team scored just six points although actually threw for 235 yards. Looking back at that passing performance, it actually was a strong one for a team that has been in a major slump.
They had a good first half against Prairie View when Seth Smith ran wild. They were timely in the win at UNM — who can forget the game-winning drive in that game, as well as some good first-half possessions against the Lobos when the team moved the ball deep into enemy territory. Against Utah State at home? Really, nothing. Marcus Anderson had a lot to do with 10 of the team's points in that game with a stellar effort in the return game. The team needs to finish the season better offensively.
On defense, the Aggies are playing respectable. It's funny because the team has changed so much since the last few years. Now, the defense is the strength and the offense hasn't been able to do the job. I do think it's better to be consistent on defense and have to piece together an offensive gameplan. It seems like you can scrap out some more wins with a philosophy like that.
Walker was direct about his feelings following Saturday's loss.
“I felt like our defense came into this game early and really challenged (Ohio State),” he said. “I felt like if we could have generated any offense early in the game, I'm not going to say we would have won the game, but I think we would have made it a little bit more interesting throughout the game.”
On the team's gameplan against Terrelle Pryor.
“We knew we had to cage him up and I was still going ballistic because there were a couple times he got out on us,” he said. “It was wishful thinking to think we could keep him contained the whole game. I thought our gameplan was pretty good. I just wish we executed a little better and gotten some help from the other team areas — special teams and offense.”
While the team fought on defense, it should be noted that Davon House dropped two first-half interceptions in the game that could have swung momentum.
Special teams has tapered off a bit since the game against Utah State which saw Anderson and Hughes carry the team to victory. Hughes' punting numbers have been good, although his performance has seemed inconsistent, with him getting off some bombs here and there and getting some flubbers off as well.
Donyae Coleman returned kicks on Saturday, getting one out to the 30 and his other two getting brought down inside the 20.
Ohio State's onside kick in the second quarter caught the Aggies by surprise.
“It did,” Walker said. “I think it's a teachable moment for our special teams coach. It's something that he (worked on) this week.”
OSU went on to score their second touchdown of the game on the ensuing drive, making a 0-0 game into a 14-0 contest in the drop of a hat.
The team started Jeff Fleming at quarterback over Trevor Walls. Neither quarterback did much, although Fleming did create some things with his legs when protection broke down. Walls' scenario was tough, coming on in the second half, cold from sitting on the bench.
“We just knew he could get himself out of trouble,” Walker said of starting Fleming. “He's more athletic, he's more mobile. (The Ohio State defensive line), they're pretty athletic and mobile too. We just felt like Jeff could get himself out of trouble more so than Trevor.”
Walls was diplomatic.
“Whenever coach thought it was right was when I came in,” Walls said. “It didn't go too hot for me. But that's just the way it goes.”
Walls did lose a fumble in the third quarter that was recovered by the Ohio State defense in the Aggie endzone for a touchdown. He finished 0-for-2 on the afternoon.
Fleming went 6-of-13 for 22 yards and an interception. He gained 31 yards on the ground on seven carries.
As far as getting into a game at The Horseshoe, it was exciting. Walls, a Waverly, Ohio native, said there were about 200 fans from his hometown attending the game.
“It was a dream come true for me,” Walls said. “I always watched them play, grew up a Buckeyes fan. Just a dream come true to play in this stadium.”
Walls wasn't the only Aggie fired up to play at Ohio State.
“Ohio State was my dream school out of high school,” linebacker Ross Conner said. “I made it to The Shoe.”
I believe the team is still headed in the right direction under Walker. OSU simply overpowered the Aggies.
Yes, the offensive issues are concerning. You would figure the team would have walked into some points over the last three weeks. But they really haven't gotten anything going.
This is a long rebuilding project. And I think the team will still get another win this season. Four wins isn't bad for the 2009 Aggies. It's more than what many predicted.