Jimbo Fisher lastly made good on his 10-year, $75 million contract Saturday.
No, his Twenty first-ranked Aggies didn’t win the nationwide championship, however they lastly beat a top-five workforce, Fisher’s first since shifting to College Station in 2018. It was additionally his first such win since 2014, when he was nonetheless coach at Florida State and only a single season faraway from the Seminoles’ 2013 nationwide championship.
A&M’s 41-38 victory over No. 4 Florida lends credibility to Fisher’s monumental contract, which shortly turned a joke amongst faculty soccer followers (exterior College Station, no less than) who puzzled aloud when he would ship on his ridiculous price ticket. Prior to Saturday’s matchup, Fisher had gone 0-7 towards top-five groups with the Aggies. A 1-7 file may not appear a lot totally different, however for a workforce nonetheless making an attempt to get its footing below a third-year coach, it may very well be the spark it has been in search of.
“I believe this generally is a culture-changing win,” senior quarterback Kellen Mond advised reporters after the sport. “Especially with the entire younger guys we’ve got. … But it’s simply Week 3 and we’ve got a protracted solution to go.”
The Aggies discovered that spark Saturday within the run sport: Isaiah Spiller was immaculate, speeding 27 occasions for 174 yards and two scores towards a protection that got here in averaging 143.5 speeding yards allowed per sport. Mond performed glorious ball as nicely, finishing 25 of 35 passes for 338 yards and 4 scores. And credit score an opportunistic protection that had been gashed by Gators quarterback Kyle Trask for 312 yards and 4 touchdowns: That unit secured a late fumble to offer A&M the ball, permitting the offense to empty the clock and end the sport with a Seth Small 26-yard subject aim.
Fisher’s Aggies, in fact, had come shut previous to Saturday. There was the 28-26 loss to No. 2 Clemson in 2018, a failed 2-point conversion the one distinction towards the eventual nationwide champions. There had been shut calls in 2019, too, when the Aggies confronted three totally different groups to be ranked No. 1; the closest sport was towards No. 4 Georgia, a 19-13 loss to the Bulldogs in Athens. The newest try got here towards No. 2 Alabama final week, when the Crimson Tide demolished Fisher and Co. 52-24 in Tuscaloosa.
How straightforward it might have been for the Aggies to pack it in towards a consecutive top-five opponent in Florida. And how a lot of a aid it will need to have been for Fisher to lastly safe that elusive first win. But now he faces a unique problem: to construct off the victory and ensure it isn’t the spotlight of his workforce’s 2020 season.
To that finish, Fisher made certain to say all the correct issues after the sport — specifically, mentioning the errors that made it such a detailed sport. The Aggies dedicated 5 penalties for 67 yards, fumbled as soon as and botched clock administration on the finish of the half, which resulted in a subject aim as an alternative of a game-tying landing.
“I’m not pleased. We received an enormous sport, however we did not play in addition to we will play,” Fisher stated. “It’s nice to win and you need to count on to win. . . . We left a variety of performs on the market and loads to scrub up.”
The Aggies have ample alternative to enhance over the ultimate seven video games of the season. They must be favored in every of their subsequent three matchups, towards Mississippi State, Arkansas and South Carolina, earlier than ending with a four-week stretch towards No. 14 Tennessee, Ole Miss, No. 17 LSU and No. 13 Auburn — groups which have appeared removed from invincible. It’s not exterior the realm of chance that they end the season with simply the one loss to Alabama.
The Aggies would want assist entering into the SEC championship sport following their destruction by the Crimson Tide, however there’s no motive to assume Jimbo and Co. can’t be part of the dialog heading into late November and early December. It may be too early to count on comparable discussions relating to the College Football Playoff, however that in the end is why Fisher took over in College Station.
He nonetheless has that clean spot for a nationwide championship trophy to fill, in any case.