Four Downs From Mississippi State and Texas A&M

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Photo: John Glaser/USA Today Sports

COLLEGE STATION, Texas- Last night, the Aggies (5-3, 3-2) welcomed Mississippi St. (6-2, 3-2) into Kyle Field for a pivotal SEC West matchup a week after having a bye. The Aggies could have used another week to help put together a game plan, because Mississippi State dominated Texas A&M from the opening kick, en route to a 35-14 victory.

Here are a few observations from the catastrophe at Kyle Field. Mississippi State Owned The Clock.

Mississippi State won the time of possession 36:09 vs 23:51 over the Aggies and the defense for Texas A&M was left gasping for air. The Bulldogs were 6/14 on third down conversions and picked up 19 first downs throughout the game.

The Bulldogs used their rushing attack to eat away at the clock and wear down the Aggies defense. Mississippi State finished the game with 228 total rushing yards on 52 attempts, while averaging 4.4 yards per carry.

Texas A&M Rushing Attack Nonexistent

With running backs like Trayveon Williams and Keith Ford and dual-threat quarterback Kellen Mond, one would think the Aggies would run downhill at opponents all night. Texas A&M was awful running the ball against the Mississippi State defense. The team as a whole had less rushing yards than Bulldogs quarterback Nick Fitzgerald had himself.

Texas A&M finished the game with 96 total yards on 28 carries, but were averaging 3.4 yards per carry when they did run. Kellen Mond and Trayveon Williams led the Aggies with 32 rushing yards a piece, Keith Ford chipped in with 25.

Quarterback Experience Critical

Mississippi State quarterback Nick Fitzgerald played like the polished veteran he is, while Kellen Mond seemed timid on the big stage.

Fitzgerald is a redshirt Junior who learned behind a guy most fans in Texas are familiar with by the name of Dak Prescott. The experience Fitzgerald has gained helped him lead his team to victory, silencing the 12th Man along the way.

Nick Fitzgerald was 12/21 passing for 141 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception, but was most effective on the ground. The veteran carried the ball 18 times for 105 yards and one touchdown, keeping multiple drives alive on third downs.

Kellen Mond played very green against the Bulldogs, making for a long night.

Mond was 8/26 passing for 56 yards. He had no touchdowns and two interceptions. Kellen didn’t use his athleticism in the rushing game to his advantage for some reason, as he only rushed the ball six times for 32 yards and.

Quarterback Controversy?

Mond took a shot to the back during the fourth quarter and was forced to leave the game. In his absence Nick Starkel came in and passed for 77 more yards than Mond.

Starkel entered the game with 9:11 left in the fourth quarter and after an early interception, settled into rhythm. The quarterback led the Aggies to their second touchdown drive of the game. Starkel finished with 8/15 passing, 133 yards, one touchdown and one interception.

The production that Starkel was able to produce in a fraction of gameplay compared to Mond will leave the Aggies coaching staff with a difficult decision to make this week. The Aggies go into Sunday to prepare for next week’s game against Auburn.

 

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