Louisville-Texas A&M grades: New Aggies QB struggles against the blitz
Here are the top takeaways and highest-graded players from Louisville’s 27-21 win over Texas A&M:
– QB Lamar Jackson’s career day rushing the ball was the story of this game, as he led his team with 22 rushes for 235 yards. Jackson did most of his damage on option runs, scrambling just twice. He gashed the defense to the left, with 154 yards on just eight carries. Jackson forced 5 missed tackles and scored twice, but also fumbled. In the pass game, Jackson was productive with a clean pocket (10-15 for 201 yards, 2 touchdowns), but was less effective under pressure (2-11 for 26 yards, 1 sack)
– Jackson’s production is even more impressive given the ineffectiveness of his offensive line in this game (-10.3 pass block grade, -6.6 run block grade). RT Aaron Epps had a tough task lining up across from Myles Garrett, and earned a game-low -8.7 overall grade after allowing 5 hurries and a hit and earning a -2.0 run blocking grade. RG Kiola Mahoni (-4.5) also had a long game, earning red grades in both run blocking and pass protection.
– DE Sheldon Rankins (-1.0) has been Louisville’s most productive defender this season, and led his team with a +1.5 run defense grade in this game. He was completely neutralized as a pass rusher however, failing to record a single pressure in 51 attempts. OLB Devonte Fields (+2.3) was the Cardinals’ most effective pass rusher, recording three sacks, a hit, a hurry and two batted passes. ILB Stacy Thomas (+2.2) held his own after starter James Burgess was ejected for targeting on his first snap, leading the team with 9 tackles and 4 stops.
OLB Devonte Fields (+2.3)
ILB Stacy Thomas (+2.2)
SS Josh Harvey-Clemons (+1.8)
CB Jermaine Reve (+1.7)
TE Cole Hikituni (+1.5)
Texas A&M Aggies
– QB Jake Hubenak (-1.8) did not grade out as well as his stat line would indicate, largely due to his struggles against the blitz. Hubenak was 22-30 for 242 yards and a +2.0 grade when not blitzed, and just 6-18 for 65 yards and a -4.5 grade when blitzed. He was pressured on 13 dropbacks, taking five sacks and earning a -2.0 grade. Both of his touchdown passes came against the blitz however, and Hubenak added 44 yards on six rushes. Josh Reynolds (+3.8) was the top target, catching 11 of 17 passes for 177 yards.
– Texas A&M’s +52.4 pass rush grade ranks 20th of 208 NCAA teams this season, and DE Myles Garrett is responsible for +40.0 of that grade, the third-best mark of 386 qualifying NCAA edge defenders. Garrett had another huge game yesterday, recording one sack, one hit and 7 hurries for a game-best +5.6 pass rush grade. DE Daeshon Hall (+4.2) played well on the other side of the line, adding two hits, three hurries and four run stops.
– The Aggies had five defenders earn green (+1.0 or better) grades in run defense, but they were ultimately unable to contain QB Lamar Jackson as a group. LB Richard Moore (-0.5) led the team with five run stops, and SS Armani Watts finished with four run stops and a +3.2 run defense grade. DT Daylon Mack (+3.6) continued to impress with his work against the run, earning a green grade for the ninth time in 2015. Mack’s +21.1 run defense grade ranks 19th of 348 NCAA defensive tackles this season.
DE Myles Garrett (+5.8)
RT Germain Ifedi (+4.9)
DE Daeshon Hall (+4.2)
WR Josh Reynolds (+3.8)
DT Daylon Mack (+3.6)