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Cessna's grades: Aggies earn B- for first victory since late September

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GRADES 1

Texas A&M wide receiver Moose Muhammad III, right, runs with the ball after catching a pass against UMass on Saturday.



OFFENSE: D

What went right: Quarterback Conner Weigman had runs of 22, 29 and 32 yards to complement an 11-of-19 passing effort for 191 yards. A&M had a season-high 11 plays of 20 or more yards. Five had been the team’s previous high.

What went wrong: A season-high three turnovers, all fumbles that cost A&M points with them occurring in UMass territory, two of them at the Minutemen 11- and 14-yard lines.

Bottom line: A&M drove inside UMass territory on 11 of 14 possessions but scored only four times. Don’t count the last since A&M was running out the clock, but that’s still only 4 of 10 for a woeful 40%.

DEFENSE: B

What went right: A&M allowed only 113 yards rushing, the fewest by an opponent since the opener against Sam Houston State. The Minutemen had only one play longer than 20 yards, a 21-yard pass.

What went wrong: A&M looked helpless on UMass’ 13-play, 72-yard drive that ended with a field goal only because a wide-open receiver couldn’t keep his feet.

Bottom line: UMass was just as inept as advertised, converting only 3 of 16 third downs with six three-and-outs.

SPECIAL TEAMS: B

What went right: Moose Muhammad III was solid on punt returns in traffic despite the wet conditions. He averaged 7 yards on four efforts with a long of 16. Jalen Preston also had a 30-yard kickoff return.

What went wrong: Randy Bond missed a pair of field goals, and UMass’ Greg Desrosiers Jr. had a 31-yard kickoff return.

Bottom line: Bond did hit two field goals, the second giving the Aggies a two-score lead.

COACHING: B-

What went right: A&M’s defense got a handle on UMass’ running game after a poor first quarter. True freshman Noah Thomas had two solid catches for an offense that continues to lose personnel to injuries with running back Devon Achane, tight end Max Wright and wide receiver Evan Stewart missing Saturday’s game.

What went wrong: UMass picked up its initial first down when A&M lineman Shemar Turner lined up offside on third down. A&M managed just a 1-yard run on third-and-17 from the UMass 18, settling for a field goal.

Bottom line: A&M had four penalties for 20 yards, its fewest in six games as the Aggies played a relatively clean game.

OVERALL: B-

What went right: A&M never trailed.

What went wrong: The Aggies couldn’t dominate arguably the worst team in the Football Bowl Subdivision.

Bottom line: A&M won, ending the program’s longest losing streak in five decades as the season that’s felt that long has just one more week in it.

Robert Cessna’s email address is robert.cessna@theeagle.com.

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