In a press conference on Nov. 18, Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher had high praise for junior quarterback Kellen Mond.
“Kellen, I’m so happy with him it’s ridiculous,” Fisher said. “He’s never perfect, but the things he does and the way our team responds is incredible, and the leadership and toughness he shows.”
Despite the Aggies’ 19-13 loss to No. 4 Georgia on Saturday, Mond did not disappoint. Instead, he kept A&M in the game with a passing attack while the run was essentially nonexistent.
Junior wide receiver Jhamon Ausbon said it was Mond’s leadership that helped keep the offense on its feet during the game.
“It just shows you his maturity level, his poise, his competitiveness,” Ausbon said. “He's a dog. We told him on the sideline, ‘We’re going to war with you. We’re not going to come off this field with a loss.’ Even though we did, we still fought hard, learned a lot about ourselves this game. We’re just trying to take it over to next week and capitalize next week."
Against the Bulldogs, Mond went 25-of-42 for 275 yards through the air. Though on the ground he had a loss of eight yards that gave the Aggies minus-1 rushing yards, A&M had several opportunities to top a more balanced Georgia team but came up short.
The performance propelled Mond further into A&M history, making him one of only two Aggies to reach the career mark of 7,000 passing yards and 1,000 rushing yards.
Mond now has 7,192 passing and 1,276 rushing yards, and is fourth all-time in school history with 8,468 total yards. With 421 more offensive yards, he will move into second place behind Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel, who Mond joins as the only players in A&M history to pass the 7,000 passing, 1,000 rushing career yards mark.
The strength of Georgia’s front seven shut down A&M’s run game, Fisher said, but Mond still managed to find success despite being sacked twice in the game.
“He played great,” Fisher said. “They do a lot of different things up there and he was directing, and the blitzes and the calls and not taking sacks. He got one or two, but guys came through and got beat. What they do on defense is sophisticated, and he did a great job of getting us in there and standing there and making plays.”
The pressure is nothing new to Mond, as he has been sacked 26 times this season. Junior linebacker Buddy Johnson said Mond’s ability to be successful despite the pressure he faces is impressive.
“He’s a tough guy,” Johnson said. “Any time I’m watching Kellen play I’m like ‘Man, Kellen is super tough.’ He just has that heart in him. He shows his heart, and he’s a leader. He keeps the offense together, no matter what it is. He keeps those guys going and makes sure they keep their heads up because the game isn’t over until the clock hits zero.”
While Mond did not play a perfect game, with a fumble that turned a third-and-25 into a fourth-and-39, Fisher said his play sets an example for the rest of the team.
“There’s some things he’d like to have back, you always do,” Fisher said. “In games like this there’s always things you want back. But that guy is growing and he’s becoming one heck of a football player and a leader. We’ve just got to keep growing with him.”