Quarterback Kellen Mond threw for 172 yards and two first-half touchdowns to capture the 17-14 Maroon win in the Maroon and White Spring Game at Kyle Field on Friday.
The junior was able to get the win despite the absences of four of his top receivers that returned from a year ago, mainly due to injuries sustained during spring.
“With a lot of the receivers hurt it’s usually really hard,” Mond said. “[I] just kinda continue to build chemistry and then kinda restart from square one. I’ve definitely seen a lot of growth from some of the younger guys stepping up, you never know what could happen during the season so they’re definitely going to have to be ready.”
Both teams would trade possessions to start the contest, with sophomore quarterback Connor Blumrick leading Maroon to a three and out, and Mond throwing an interception on the first play.
After another three and out from Maroon, White would strike first with a 25-yard pass from Mond to junior wide receiver Camron Buckley to go up 7-0 with 8:12 left in the first quarter.
“It was kind of a new play that we drew up before the game,” Mond said. “[It was] something that was game planned before and just under thrown on a wheel route. So, just kind of short term memory and [I] was able to bounce back from it. Not only me, but the receivers were able to make plays and I was able to get it in the end zone twice.”
Maroon would answer in the first possession of the second quarter when true freshman Zach Calzada led an 80-yard drive, throwing a 31-yard touchdown to Baylor Cupp to make it 7-7.
Running back Deneric Prince and quarterback James Foster would immediately lead a 48-yard drive for a field goal from Caden Davis to go up 10-7 with 6:33 left in the first half.
“I’ll wait and look at the film and see where we’re at with what’s going on there,” A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher said on Calzada potentially being the second-string quarterback. “[Calzada] made some nice plays today, you see some of his talent and James [Foster] made a nice drive. We put them in a tough situation at the end.”
After an interception from Blumrick to begin the next drive, Mond threw a 29-yard touchdown to tight end Glenn Beal to extend the lead to 17-7.
The second half did not see as much scoring as the first, but was finished with a three-yard touchdown run from Maroon running back Jacob Kibodi to cut the lead to three with 47 seconds left.
Ray Guy Award winner Braden Mann would punt for both teams, averaging 49.1 yards per punt on 13 punts, just shy of his 2018 average of 52.1 yards per punt.
Starting center Ryan McCollum won spring game MVP with the Maroon team, taking over the position from former A&M center Erik McCoy.
“I’m filling some really big shoes,” McCollum said. “I was just trying to step-up to the plate and knock it out of the park, because I don’t want to be as good as [McCoy], I want to be better than him. Getting that accomplishment was really important to me.”
Fisher said he believes the Aggies had a solid spring with a lot of improvement in several key areas.
“It was a good, solid spring, now we just have to evaluate what we are, who we are,” Fisher said. “We have to get those other guys back in the first of June and the end of this May and get the freshmen incorporated in what we do and how we do it.”