For those wondering and/or worried about the stage being too big for Kyler Murray, fret not. Well, for one game, at least, you can be fret-free.
Knowing full well the kind of defense it came against, and armed with the knowledge of the dangers of over-projecting the initial success of a Texas A&M quarterback, the true freshman Murray was borderline stellar in the 35-28 win over South Carolina, using both his arms and his legs to show that the quarterback of the future is here in the present. Before the season began, some observers said he had some of the traits that made Johnny Manziel a Heisman-winning quarterback in College Station; at least statistically, Murray was Johnny Football-esque in his first collegiate start.
All told, and going up a defense that’s 82nd nationally, Murray accounted for 379 yards of offense — 223 passing, 156 rushing — and one touchdown each running and throwing. The yards rushing are the most for an Aggie quarterback since, you guessed it, Manziel put up 181 yards on the ground against Louisiana Tech in October of 2012.
Most importantly/impressively, Murray didn’t have a turnover via either an interception or a fumble. It was interceptions, of course, that helped trigger a change from starter Kyle Allen to Murray — although a shoulder issue that’s not being discussed publicly could’ve played a role in that move as well.
The 544 yards of total offense served as a season-high total for the Aggies. Somewhat concerning, though, were the 445 yards given up by the defense, although there were several key sacks as well as a pair of turnovers that helped offset the yardage allowed. The red-zone defense needs some work, though, as USC, which came into the game with the worst offense inside the 20, scored on all three such possessions in the first half.
With the win, A&M is now bowl-eligible for the fifth straight year.