The Texas A&M Aggies ended a rollercoaster 2014 season on a high note, taking out the West Virginia Mountaineers 45-37 in the Liberty Bowl. Kyle Allen got off to a hot start with four first-half touchdowns (three passing, one rushing), and ended with five total TDs to go with a number of really nice passes.
The Aggies started the scoring in the first few minutes, but West Virginia quickly hit back and built a 17-7 lead in the first quarter. The two teams traded literal and metaphorical punches, and a wild, two-hour first half ended at 28-27 Aggies.
Eventually, Allen and the A&M offense, aided by West Virginia miscues, created breathing room in the second half. West Virginia quarterback Skyler Howard threw for 346 yards and three touchdowns, but he missed a slew of open receivers who could have given the Mountaineers easy points against an accommodating Texas A&M defense.
The Mountaineers were able to narrow the lead to only eight points with just over 2:30 remaining, but that was as close as they came to catching up.
Three things we learned
1. Anything can happen in the Liberty Bowl. Seriously, anything. A graduate assistant coach punching players when they come near the sideline. A kicker who got slapped in the pills. A confused, wandering Tennessee fan. A middle finger and a whiffed punch. Don't come to the dang Liberty Bowl unless you're ready for anything.
2. Kyle Allen is sitting pretty for the starting job next year. Remember Kenny Hill? The would-be 2014 Heisman winner has now been thoroughly pipped by Kyle Allen, who was outstanding for the Aggies on Monday. He went 22-of-35 for 294 yards, four touchdowns and a pick, and even added a rather nimble rushing touchdown. Barring something significant, Allen should be the starter for A&M heading into 2015.
3. Texas A&M should hire a defensive coordinator, in our opinion. The numbers don't actually look that bad for the Aggie defense. They did give up 37 points, but WVU was only 5-for-19 on third downs. However, those low numbers were greatly aided by Skyler Howard's inaccurate passes. The Aggies are still without a full-time defensive coordinator, and the defense had plenty of terrible coverage busts to give the Mountaineers gold-plated chances. Now that the season is over, they should probably get on the whole defensive coordinator thing.