Texas A&M vs. Ole Miss score: Jimbo Fisher proves that the future is bright for the Aggies

Jimbo Fisher's 10-year, $75 million paycheck requires him to not only make Texas A&M competitive, but make it a national champion. For that to happen, though, the Aggies need to take baby steps -- something that has happened throughout the season.

They rattled off 17 points in the final quarter on Saturday afternoon against Ole Miss to notch a 38-24 home win, earn bowl eligibility and ensure at least a .500 record in conference play. That might not seem like much. In fact, it appears to be very Kevin Sumlin-ish on paper. 

If you take a closer look at how those six wins happened, though, you'll see why there's reason for optimism in College Station. 

Saturday afternoon's win was a shootout in which Aggies quarterback Kellen Mond threw for 236 yards and three touchdowns while Rebels quarterback Jordan Ta'amu threw for 375 yards, and both offenses blew past the 400-yard mark. The flip side was the overtime win over No. 11 Kentucky on Oct. 6 in which the defense held the Wildcats to just 3.56 yards per play and didn't allow them to run a play in Aggie territory until they had to, by rule, in overtime. Throw in a two-point loss to No. 2 Clemson in Week 2, and you have a squad that not only stays relevant virtually every week, but is capable of doing it in different ways.

The only game that the Aggies didn't have a chance in was against No. 1 Alabama on Sept. 22 when they lost 45-23. But the Aggies put up the biggest challenge to the mighty Crimson Tide despite the 22-point loss so far this year.

Fisher's first campaign in College Station hasn't always been smooth. They beat Auburn last week in virtually every aspect besides on the scoreboard, when the Tigers offense finally remembered to show up during the final seven minutes. The loss to Mississippi State the previous week wasn't great either, but Starkville is a tough place to play and they were only down one heading into the final frame.

If nothing else, Fisher has instilled a toughness and attitude that wasn't present during the last few years of the Sumlin era. That's the foundation that Texas A&M needs to become a contender in the SEC West. Could it happen next year? Don't count the Aggies out -- especially with a full offseason for Fisher to put a bigger stamp on the program.

College Football Writer

Barrett Sallee has been a member of the sports media in various aspects since 2001. He is currently a college football writer for CBS Sports, analyst for CBS Sports HQ and host for the SiriusXM college... Full Bio

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