In the middle of what was statistically the best game of Kellen Mond’s career came one of the weirdest plays in recent college football history.
On A&M’s first drive of the second quarter, Mond took off down the left side of the field for a 25-yard run to the 4-yard line before taking a big hit from Mississippi State’s junior safety C.J. Morgan. On the tackle, Mond’s shoe came off, and when he attempted to retrieve it, chaos ensued.
“I knew it was gone, and I was walking over to pick it up,” Mond said. “He just ran off with it.”
Morgan plucked the shoe from the ground and ran away from Mond. A&M senior center Colton Prater took the shoe from Morgan, who then fell to the ground. Prater and the Aggies received a 15-yard penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct.
Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher said though he appreciates Prater’s intentions, he would prefer the team refrain from any actions that could draw a penalty, especially when the Aggies are in prime scoring position.
“Over a shoe?” Fisher said. “If he’s got him on the ground beating him up, maybe I understand getting him off of him. And it comes from a good place, but you have to understand, it’s a 14-7 game. That can change everything. I say that in the locker room, ‘Don’t let your personal ego or ambitions override what we’re here to do as an organization, as a team.’ You can’t let those things happen.”
Senior punter Braden Mann, who is also Prater’s roommate, didn’t see the play as it happened. He said Prater’s intentions were simply to retrieve Mond’s shoe.
“He explained it to me perfectly,” Mann said. “He was just trying to get the shoe back, so he grabbed it, bumped into him a little bit, didn’t really hit him. The guy just kind of fell back and drew the flag. It was a good job on that dude’s part drawing the flag, but I know Prater just wanted the shoe back.”
Mann said the incident was the talk of their house throughout the rest of the weekend.
“Me and my other roommate are thinking about making a couple of yellow flags for around the house, just to kind of throw them around [and] bother Colton about it,” Mann said.
The teasing may not stop there, though. “I need to go into his closet and steal a few shoes,” Mann said.
The reasoning for the shoe theft remains a mystery as Mond said he never got the chance to ask Morgan about the incident.
“I never talked to him after,” Mond said. “I was trying to talk to him, but the refs were kind of backing everyone up.”
The shoe, Fisher said, was the most bizarre object he has ever seen an opponent take.
“I’ve seen them grab a helmet because they get ripped off sometimes,” Fisher said. “That I can remember, I’ve never seen them grab a shoe. That was a new one.”
Mond said while that was the first time he’s ever had his shoe stolen during a game, opponents have taken other things.
“They’ve taken my sleeve off,” Mond said. “[A guy] kept one of my sleeves in high school. I don’t know why.”
Reflecting on the shoe-stealing incident, Mond said he is baffled that it happened in the first place.
“It’s weird,” Mond said. “I don’t know what he was thinking.”
Fisher said in the instance a situation like this one ever happens again, the best course of action for his team is to not react at all.
“Let the official go get the shoe,” Fisher said. “They’re going to go get the shoe back [anyway]. It ain’t like they’re going to make him play without a shoe.”