With a rigorous conference slate quickly approaching, No. 16 Texas A&M will look to make the right tune-ups Saturday against Lamar at Kyle Field.
The Aggies’ only FCS opponent on this season’s schedule, Lamar, is coming off a playoff berth in 2018 under third-year head coach Mike Schultz.
Since the football team’s reinstatement in 2010, Lamar has not seen any success against FBS opponents. The last time the Cardinals beat a Division I-A program was in 1989 against The University of Texas at El Paso during Lamar’s last season before reinstatement.
This season, the Cardinals have started 2-0 with wins over Division II Bethel and an overtime victory over Mississippi Valley State, a team that went just 1-10 a year ago. Lamar’s road trip to Aggieland will be its first since A&M routed the Cardinals 73-3 in 2014.
For A&M, this week’s game will be integral for the offense after the Aggies lost starting tailback Jashaun Corbin to a season-ending hamstring injury. According to head coach Jimbo Fisher, true freshman Isaiah Spiller will take the reins in the backfield going forward.
“We’ll keep that same rotation [at tailback],” Fisher said. “[Jacob] Kibodi will be back this week, Spiller is in that group, we’ve got Cordarrian Richardson and [Deneric] Prince. We’ve got four really good players.”
With a home matchup against No. 8 Auburn next week, it will be key to get Spiller acclimated as a starter. Kibodi also faces a similar situation as the next man in the rotation at tailback, and this game will serve as a warm-up before SEC play.
“I’ve always known [Kibodi] was a really talented guy since his freshman year,” quarterback Kellen Mond said. “[That] year I think he had a touchdown in week three. He’s always been a guy that’s pretty consistent, but has always waited his turn.”
Despite the loss of Corbin and last week’s loss to No. 1 Clemson, Fisher is still confident in his team.
“There were plays we made all over,” Fisher said. “We didn’t execute them well enough, but we’re right there, eyeball-to-eyeball. We had all of these mistakes and the score was 24-10 in the football game against the No. 1 team in the country on the road with a lot of very young players. So I feel comfortable about this team. It’s just a matter of us having the experience to make those plays.”
Fisher also announced that defensive tackle Jayden Peevy will return this week after sustaining a pair of ankle injuries against Clemson. The return of Peevy is huge for the defensive line, where he is a key part of the 10th-ranked rushing defense in the country.
A&M will play against Lamar on Saturday at Kyle Field. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m., and the game will be televised on ESPNU.