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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Aggies turn in complete performance on Senior Night, dominate New Mexico 55-14

Redshirt+Freshman+Quarterback%26%23160%3BNick+Starkel+threw+for+416+yards+and+4+touchdowns.
Photo by Photo by: Kevin Chou

Redshirt Freshman Quarterback Nick Starkel threw for 416 yards and 4 touchdowns.

With Texas A&M in desperate need of a victory after suffering back-to-back defeats to SEC opponents, the Aggies started fast and never looked back as they dominated New Mexico 55-14 in front of 99,051 fans on Senior Night at Kyle Field.
Nick Starkel, making his first start since the season opener against UCLA, got off to a scorching start. He found Christian Kirk for a 70-yard touchdown on the second play from scrimmage to put the Aggies up 6-0, giving them a lead they would never come close to relinquishing.
In all, the Aggies scored touchdowns on their first seven drives of the game as Starkel racked up 416 passing yards and four touchdowns in the first half alone.
“I believe it gives us a lot of momentum,” senior receiver Damion Ratley said in the postgame press conference. “We knew we needed this. After coming off the two tough losses, we knew we needed to have a good game and we knew we needed to blow them out and get that momentum on our side.”
Starkel capped off the Aggies second drive — a 13-play, 81-yard grinder — with a 10-yard screen pass to Jhamon Ausbon, and then put them in position for another score with a beautiful 46-yard strike to Roshaaund Paul on the ensuing drive.
Keith Ford finished that drive with a 12-yard run to put A&M up 20-0 and the route was on.
The Aggies outgained the Lobos 456-to-57 in the first half and amassed 22 first downs to New Mexico’s four.
“We knew they were going to load the box, so the thought process was to be able to throw the ball early and make plays,” Sumlin said. “They didn’t change, so we had to keep doing what we were doing. I thought that not only did Nick execute well, but I thought our perimeter guys played well.”
After punting on their first five drives — one of which was returned 90 yards for a touchdown by Christian Kirk — the Lobos did not get on the board until the end of the second quarter, when Elijah Lilly took a kickoff back 90 yards for a touchdown.
Kirk, playing what may have been his last game at Kyle Field, put together one of his best games of the season. He caught four passes for 120 yards and a touchdown to go along with his exciting long punt return score and a key block on one of the Aggies’ touchdowns.
“It’s the most important thing to me,” Kirk said of contributing in all facets of the game. “I play as hard as I can for the guys on this team and it’s always been like that. I’m always trying to be a leader and trying to go out there and put it all on the line for them.”
Kirk was one of three A&M receivers to reach the century mark in receiving yards, the first time that has happened in school history. Roshaaund Paul led the way with 129 yards on seven catches and Jhamon Ausbon snatched seven passes for 105 yards and a touchdown.
Damion Ratley chipped in 58 yards and two touchdowns in what was an impressive showing by the Aggie receiving corps.
“I think the difference this week was us receivers going up and making those contested catches,” Kirk said. “We’ve had throws and opportunities like that all season where we didn’t make those catches, and tonight I think we took a step forward in making those catches.”
Defensively, the Aggies completely shut down the Lobos’ prolific triple-option rushing attack. New Mexico was held to a season-low 144 total yards as A&M held them to a mere 2.9 yards per carry on the ground.
“The game plan was rather simple,” said senior defensive end Jarrett Johnson. “We knew what they wanted to do was run the ball with the quarterback and their tailbacks and get to the perimeter. We had our defensive end playing the quarterback and various other players playing the pitch and as you can see, it was pretty successful.”
Kellen Mond played the entire second half behind center for the Aggies, completing 8-of-11 passes for 78 yards and a touchdown.
The win marked the 30th win for the graduating senior class and also made the Aggies bowl eligible for the ninth-straight year.
“It was good to go out there and lay it all on the line for the seniors,” Kirk said. “They’ve been through so much and to be able to send them out with a win on Kyle Field was special.”
The Aggies will be back in action next Saturday, November 18, for a road game against Ole Miss. 

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