In an era that celebrates the passing quarterback, the Texas A&M-Ole Miss matchup offered something a little different.
Quarterbacks Kellen Mond and John Rhys Plumlee both supplemented their offenses’ rushing attacks, accumulating a total of 114 yards on the ground.
Plumlee had an uncharacteristically low game total, as the Aggies held him to only 38 rushing yards. Prior to Saturday’s matchup, he had rushed for over 100 yards in three games.
Keeping Plumlee’s production to a minimum was a focus for the defense going into the game, junior defensive lineman Justin Madubuike said.
“[Plumlee] is extremely fast,” Madubuike said. “[Defensive coordinator Mike] Elko was emphasizing to us he comes from an elite track family. We were all prepping and getting ready for him, and he did run on us a little bit, but I believe as the game went on we stopped him and slowed him down.”
Mond has led A&M rushing in two games against Alabama and Auburn. He almost notched his third against Ole Miss, with 76 yards on 15 carries, just two yards behind A&M’s leading rusher for the night, freshman running back Isaiah Spiller.
A&M coach Jimbo Fisher said the Aggies improved in their run game, and Mond’s rushing total was a large part of that success.
“We ran the football,” Fisher said. “We found some good running game in there tonight.”
Ole Miss redshirt freshman quarterback Matt Corral, while typically used in passing situations, threw only 17 passes, completing nine of those for 112 yards. Plumlee added 43 passing yards of his own and was 5-of-12.
Mond did manage to find some success through the air though, throwing 16-of-28 for 172 yards and one touchdown. While his passing performance remained inconsistent as he also threw two interceptions, he led a touchdown drive just before the half that put the Aggies ahead of Ole Miss.
After the Rebels missed a field goal from the 33-yard line, the A&M offense took over. Over the next six plays, Mond threw six passes, only one of which was incomplete, and marched the Aggies into the end zone with an 18-yard touchdown pass to Kendrick Rogers.
Junior wide receiver Jhamon Ausbon said Mond’s performance played a key role in the Aggies’s 24-17 win over the Rebels.
“Kellen’s tough,” Ausbon said. “Even though we had some ups and downs in this game, he took it upon him and made plays when the time came.”