Rapid Reaction: Kellen Mond, Texas A&M roll past Mississippi State
Texas A&M snapped a 3-game losing streak to Mississippi State, brushing off a depleted Bulldogs team that was without 6 starters because of injuries and violation of team rules. The Aggies, now 5-3 overall and 3-2 in the SEC, won consecutive games for the first time this season with a 49-30 victory over the Bulldogs, who lost for the 4th consecutive game and slumped to 3-5 overall and 1-4 in the SEC.
Aggies QB Kellen Mond recorded his first career 3-passing, 2-rushing touchdown game.
Mond threw his 3rd touchdown pass of the game on Texas A&M’s opening possession of the 2nd half to extend its lead to 35-10. It was a 52-yarder, the Aggies’ longest pass play of the year, with most of the yardage coming after the catch by big freshman TE Jalen Wydermyer, who fought off defenders on his way to the end zone.
Both teams traded long 70-plus-yard drives and the Aggies led 42-17 entering the 4th quarter.
But the Bulldogs didn’t go quietly. A second consecutive 70-plus-yard touchdown drive tightened things up early in the 4th quarter. Kylin Hill scored on a 1-yard run reducing the Aggies lead to 42-24.
However, Texas A&M put the game away turning a fumble into a touchdown drive. Cordarrian Richardson scored on a 2-yard run with 5 minutes remaining to extend the lead to 49-24 and put the game out of reach.
The Aggies controlled the game from the outset. A maligned offensive line opened running lanes for RB Isaiah Spiller for a 5-play, 51-yard scoring drive midway through the first quarter. Spiller ran the first three plays for 39 yards to set up Mond’s first of 2 1st-quarter touchdown runs, a 1-yard sneak.
Mond capped a 9-play, 55-yard drive with a 12-yard touchdown run to give the Aggies a 14-0 lead at the end of the 1st quarter. The drive was started by a Devin Morris interception.
The Bulldogs, who managed just 26 total yards in the 1st quarter, wasted little time in answering on their first drive of the 2nd quarter. It took just 4 plays to go 75 yards and cut the Aggies lead to 14-7. Running back Kylin Hill sparked the drive and softened up the Aggies defense with a 36-yard run. Two plays later, Bulldogs QB Garrett Shrader dropped a 32-yard strike to Stephen Guidry for the score.
The blitzing Aggies took Shrader off his game through the first 15 minutes. Shrader started the game 0-for-6 passing. He finished 13-of-30 for 194 yards. He did throw 3 TDs passes. Hill finished with 150 yards rushing.
Texas A&M went up 21-7, scoring on its 3rd consecutive drive by marching 65 yards in 7 plays. Mond completed all 4 pass attempts in the drive, for 50 yards, including a 19-yard touchdown pass to a wide open Jhamon Ausbon. In addition to a perfect passing series, Mond added to the drive with a big 25-yard run.
The Aggies piled on for a 28-7 lead after Demani Richardson ripped the ball away from Bulldogs RB Nick Gibson, who was fighting for extra yards. Aggies DB Debione Renfro pounced on it at the Mississippi State 19-yard line, and the Aggies were back in business.
It took just three plays to reach the end zone again. Mond completed a 3rd-and-7 slant to Kendrick Rogers, who broke four tackles to complete a 16-yard touchdown play and give the Aggies a commanding lead.