A powerful start by the University of Texas at San Antonio quickly turned into an overwhelming loss.
After leading Texas A&M to a 45-14 win over UTSA, junior quarterback Kellen Mond is now in the top five in A&M history in passing yards, completions, attempts and passing touchdowns. Mond went 16-of-21 passing for 211 yards and one touchdown on Saturday, also adding a rushing touchdown.
“Every record is big for me, but a lot of times I don’t really take it as an individual record,” Mond said. “It goes back to the work my team has put into it."
The first quarter began slowly for A&M, with UTSA scoring on a 2-yard rushing touchdown by the Roadrunners’ sophomore quarterback Lowell Narcisse with 8:22 remaining. A&M junior defensive lineman Justin Madubuike said the touchdown reminded the defense to focus.
“We all just told each other to wake up,” Madubuike said. “It is not gonna be an easy game. They are gonna come in here, harder and ready to go and they did. It was kind of like a wake-up call, and we got it together.”
A&M was quick to answer with freshman running back Isaiah Spiller scoring on a 60-yard rushing touchdown on the first play of the next drive, marking the team’s longest rushing touchdown of the season.
The Aggies quickly took the lead with sophomore running back Cordarrian Richardson scoring on a 19-yard run.
The team continued to struggle to convert on third downs in the second quarter, with success on only one of five attempts.
“Third down wasn't good in the first half, didn't finish really,” A&M coach Jimbo Fisher said. ”I think it was the third quarter we were excellent on third downs. Missed a couple of the twos at the end. We ran the ball very well.”
Despite the difficulty on third down, the Aggies managed to take a 14-point lead into halftime with a 7-yard passing touchdown to freshman Jalen Wydermyer.
Freshmen continued to make big contributions in the game as Spiller finished A&M’s first drive of the second half with a 50-yard rushing touchdown, becoming the only SEC player with multiple 50-plus yard rushing touchdowns in a game this season.
“When you hit those one‑play drives, it demoralizes people,” Fisher said. “It takes the heart out of guys on the other side. Takes a mature team to bounce back from that. On offense, it gives you that adrenaline, that shot and we kept building off of it. He was the catalyst today.”
Mond contributed a 1-yard rushing touchdown before freshman Zach Calzada replaced him at the helm of the offense.
Calzada threw an interception during his time on the field, with UTSA sophomore safety Dadrian Taylor returned for a touchdown. Fisher said the turnover was due to Calzada’s youth and inexperience.
“Just a young guy, made a mistake,” Fisher said. “It could have been great. He ended up throwing a pick. He made a mistake on a read and throw it out there. They'll learn from it. That's why we've got to get them in there as much as you can, get them playing as much as you can. I think he's got a tremendous future and is going to be a great player.”
With the victory, the Aggies will go into the bye week with bowl eligibility and preparing for the last three conference games of the season against South Carolina, Georgia and LSU.
“I feel me as a team and me individually, I feel really comfortable where we are at,” Mond said. “Obviously, there are things that we need to clean up; we are not perfect. But I like where we are at and I look forward to this bye week to get out minds and our bodies right and continuing process onto South Carolina.”