Football vs. Mississippi State

Freshman tight end Jalen Wydermyer is shoved out of bounds by the Bulldog defense before reaching the end zone.

A 52-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter against Mississippi State was monumental for Texas A&M for several reasons.

Not only was it A&M’s longest pass of the season, but it gave junior quarterback Kellen Mond the third most passing touchdowns in A&M history with a total of 48, tying Kevin Murray.

Moreover, Saturday’s win over Mississippi State marked the success of A&M’s freshmen on offense.

With the score, freshman tight end Jalen Wydermyer is now tied for third in the nation for touchdown catches at his position with five, which is the most by a freshman tight end. He is also tied for second in A&M’s all-time tight end touchdowns list.

Though Wydermyer had only two receptions against the Bulldogs, he led the Aggies in receiving yards with 63. A&M coach Jimbo Fisher said Wydermyer’s success is a result of his versatility, which has been improving since the beginning of the season.

“He’s athletic,” Fisher said. “In high school, he was more of a receiver than he was a blocker, but he’s really learning to become a better blocker. He’s big. He’s strong. And when you have that body type, man, it makes a big difference.”

Wydermyer wasn’t the only freshman to play a big part in A&M’s 49-30 win over Mississippi State. Running back Isaiah Spiller led the Aggies in rushing yards with 90 on 22 carries and one touchdown. He also caught one pass for a 13-yard reception.

Forty-three of Spiller’s total yards came in the first quarter alone, which allowed A&M’s run game to finally open up after weeks of struggling to do so, junior quarterback Kellen Mond said.

“We were able to move it in the running game a lot,” Mond said. “Isaiah [Spiller] was running really hard, especially in the first half.”

A&M has also struggled to produce explosive plays this season, but junior wide receiver Jhamon Ausbon said the Aggies found success in that area.

“It was very nice to see that your practice is paying off and you’re correcting mistakes,” Ausbon said. “Those are our base plays. We just executed them well because it was slowed down on the field for us. So I think that we just took it for what it was and executed well on the field when it came time to.”

Fisher said the freshmen’s ability to make those critical plays was the key to A&M’s win on Saturday.

“If you don’t get explosive plays, it’s hard to score points,” Fisher said. “Turnovers and explosive plays are as big a factor in winning and losing games now as it’s ever been because of the way the game is played, the openness at which the game is played.”

Thirteen of A&M’s 33 touchdowns this season have been scored by freshmen, with the two touchdowns by Spiller and Wydermyer. The duo leads the Aggies with five touchdowns each.

Mond said he has been impressed by the growth of the freshmen on offense this season.

“Seeing those freshmen grow from where they started to now is pretty remarkable,” Mond said.

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