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Cessna's grades: Texas A&M perseveres in win over No. 4 Florida
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Cessna's grades: Texas A&M perseveres in win over No. 4 Florida

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Here's how The Eagle's Robert Cessna graded Texas A&M's performance against Florida.

OFFENSE: A-

What went right: Just about everything. The line pass protected well last week; this week it dominated a suspect Florida defense as the Aggies rushed for 205 yards, averaging 5.4 yards per carry to complement 338 yards passing. Sophomore Caleb Chapman looked like a big-time receiver with nine catches for 151 yards and two scores.

What went wrong: Ainias Smith’s fumble led to a Florida touchdown.

Bottom line: Kellen Mond had a game worthy of becoming the school leader in career passing yardage. He had great throws — a couple with a blitzing defender in his face — and he also had some luck, a couple of balls that could have been intercepted and a one-handed third-down catch by tight end Jalen Wydermyer en route to a touchdown to make it 31-31. Most of all, Mond was a winner, a big winner.

DEFENSE: B

What went right: The forced fumble by linebacker Buddy Johnson led to the game-winning field goal. Florida’s Kyle Pitts, the nation’s best tight end, managed only five receptions for 47 yards.

What went wrong: A personal foul penalty on end Micheal Clemons wiped out an interception by safety Leon O’Neal Jr., who also was called for two personal foul penalties, though one was offsetting.

Bottom line: The Aggies stopped quarterback Kyle Trask only once, but that game’s lone sack led to Florida’s lone punt as the Gators didn’t build on a 31-27 lead.  

SPECIAL TEAMS: B

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What went right: A&M had a good snap and good hold on Seth Small’s game-winning 26-yard field goal. Any slip-up and it would have been overtime.

What went wrong: Small’s 19-yard field goal to end the first half and one of his extra points were hit low, but they still counted.

Bottom line: O’Neal’s personal foul penalty on a Florida touchdown allowed the Gators to pin A&M inside the 10 on the ensuing kickoff. A&M’s Chase Lane did a great job fielding the squib kick and returned it 3 yards to the 6. It was a huge improvement over two weeks ago when he had trouble fielding a kickoff.

COACHING: A-

What went right: The players kept their poise after costly penalties and bad luck that left them 11 points down. Smith took the majority of snaps at wide receiver that benefitted the passing attack and got Spiller more carries.

What went wrong: A&M got to the Florida 2 to end the first half but had to settle for a field goal because it wasted a timeout with personnel issues.

Bottom line: A&M converted 10 of 15 third downs, making them 20 of 32 in back-to-back games against top five teams.

OVERALL: A

What went right: A&M persevered.  

What went wrong: There were bad penalties, mental mistakes and a costly turnover, which are the things that have kept A&M without a conference championship since 1998.

Bottom line: At crunch time A&M made one more play to win the kind of game it has consistently lost in the last two decades.

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