Texas A&M got off to a slow start against the University of Texas at San Antonio, but turned around a slow first quarter for a 45-14 win that made them bowl eligible. Here are the takeaways from the game.
Defense struggles in first quarter
The Aggies got off to a slow start in their 11 a.m. game against the Roadrunners. All of UTSA’s passing plays in the first quarter were of at least 10 yards, with a 44-yard pass on the Roadrunners’ second drive helping to put them in scoring position, which they capitalized on for the first score of the game. The Aggies recovered after that quarter, though, holding UTSA to only 24 total yards in the second quarter, and the Roadrunners finished the game with only 231 total yards of offense.
“Early game, people are still dragging from sleep, but we got it going after the first drive,” junior defensive lineman Justin Madubuike said. “We shouldn’t have let that happen, but we did. How you respond to things is what matters, and we responded well.”
Smith sees more playing time
After several weeks of seeing time primarily on kick and punt returns, freshman wide receiver Ainias Smith saw more time on offense against UTSA. With three receptions on four targets, Smith accounted for 31 of A&M’s 238 passing yards. He also had two punt returns for 25 yards and two kick returns for 41 yards.
“The young guys keep making plays and doing what they have to do,” A&M coach Jimbo Fisher said.
Mond moves up in A&M record books
With his 211 passing yards, junior quarterback Kellen Mond moved up to No. 5 in A&M history for passing yards. He also ranks in the top five in completions, attempts and passing touchdowns. Mond led the offense until the 11-minute mark of the fourth quarter, when freshman Zach Calzada came in for him. Against UTSA, he went 16-of-21 with one passing and one rushing touchdown.
“Every record is big for me, but I don't take it as an individual record,” Mond said. “It goes back to the work my team has put in. I can’t really do anything without my offensive line, my running backs and my receivers making plays, [and] the defense getting the ball back to me. My name’s on the record, but it’s pretty much a team record to me.”