COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Texas A&M has played around quarterback Kellen Mond’s inability to complete chunk pass plays downfield all season. Saturday against Mississippi State, it was too much to overcome for the Aggies.
Mond threw for a measly 56 yards on 8-of-26 passing (2.2 yards per attempt) with two interceptions as the Aggies fell to the Bulldogs 35-14.
Mond didn’t have help from his wide receivers. Senior Damion Ratley dropped a deep touchdown pass on the second play of the game and let a ball slip right through his hands, into Mississippi State senior defensive back Lashed Durr’s mits for Monds’ second interception.
Every quarterback has to deal with occasional drops. There’s no legitimate excuse for why Mond is completing only 47.3 percent of his passes against power five opponents. Let alone his averages of 145.8 yard per game with three touchdowns and five interceptions.
Mond was shaken up in the fourth quarter and replaced by sophomore Nick Starkle. The quarterback who was the opening day starter before hurting his ankle the first week. Starkle threw a pick-six well behind his intended receiver on a crossing route. Thankfully for Aggie fans, he came back to throw a 70-yard bomb on the next drive to freshman Camron Brock. The sophomore finished 8-of-15 for 133 yards.
Starkle wasn’t good enough to take a hold of the starting job, especially considering he’s not nearly the run threat Mond is. However, he was certainly effective enough to make Aggie coach Kevin Sumlin think about it. It should be an interesting week of practice in Aggieland.
Blame Them All
Texas A&M’s run game was also nonexistent. Outside of a 33-yard dash by Mond, the Aggies gained 63 yards on 27 carries (2.3 per attempt). Sophomore Trayveon Williams and senior Keith Ford, hailed in the preseason as possibly the best duo in the SEC, managed 57 yards on 18 totes.
Mississippi State’s defense played so well, the offense only had to do so much. The Bulldogs gained 369 yards on 73 snaps. The 5.05 yards per play was below their season average of 5.7 and would rank 90th nationally.
Junior quarterback Nick Fitzgerald totaled 246 yards (141 passing, 105 rushing) and three touchdowns (two passing, one rushing). Junior running back Aeria Williams added 68 yards on 22 attempts.
Mississippi State threw four passes on a 16-play drive, eating up more than eight minutes of the first quarter. The Bulldogs decided to stick with that run-heavy strategy the rest of the game. They finished with 52 rushes and 21 passes.
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