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The Battalion

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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Texas A&M pitcher Chris Cortez (10) reacts during Texas A&M’s game against Oregon at the NCAA Bryan-College Station Super Regional at Olsen Field on Saturday, June 8, 2024. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
One step away
June 8, 2024

A&M unable to gain ground against No. 1 Alabama

Photo by Photo by Meredith Seaver

Freshman kicker Seth Small made his first career kicks against ULM. 

No. 22 Texas A&M opened Southeastern Conference play with a 45-23 loss to No. 1 Alabama in Tuscaloosa on Saturday.
Alabama sophomore quarterback Tua Tagovailoa was the driving force for the Crimson Tide, going 22-of-30 to notch 387 passing yards and four touchdowns in the Tide’s rout of A&M.
A&M quarterback Kellen Mond totaled 294 yards, passing for 196 and collecting 98 yards on 18 carries. Mond also threw two interceptions in the game, his first turnovers of the season.
The Aggies missed several opportunities to score, only breaking into Alabama territory on six of 13 drives.
“We moved the ball at times, had opportunities to score,” A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher said. “Right before the half [we] had it to a one-score game with about three minutes to go in the half. We’re 21-13, they hit a big play. We gave up too many of those.”
The Aggie offensive line struggled to contain the Alabama defense and allowed seven sacks on Mond. Alabama senior defensive lineman Isaiah Buggs accounted for three of those.
Alabama dominated the game from the start when junior linebacker Mack Wilson intercepted a Mond pass on the first possession to set up a 30-yard touchdown pass by Tagovailoa just 50 seconds after kickoff.
“The defensive lineman had me wrapped up and I thought Jace [Sternberger] was open,” Mond said. “[I’ve] just got to take the sack or throw it away.”
Tight end Jace Sternberger proved once again to be a valuable asset to the Aggie offense, accumulating 59 yards on three receptions and catching one touchdown.
Fisher credited Alabama’s dominant outing to their ability to create and put pressure on the opposing team.
“We moved the football and had opportunities,” Fisher said. “But if you come up short and kick a field goal, and then get a 3-and-out and all of a sudden they score and score, they keep staying ahead two or three scores.”
The Aggies weren’t completely outmatched on the field, however, as junior punter Braden Mann averaged 60.8 yards per punt on five punts, overtaking the previous NCAA record of 60.4 yards set by BYU’s Lee Johnson in 1983 and tied by Oklahoma State’s Quinn Sharp in 2010.
“Mann was outstanding in the game,” Fisher said. “[He] had a 60 yard average, he’s been kicking it that way in practice every day.”
Despite his record-breaking showing, Mann said the numbers aren’t everything.
“It’s cool to have a record, but if I could just put my team in position to succeed more,” Mann said. “I have to put more of those punts inside the 20 and not at the 20 because of touchbacks. The individual stats are alright, but I have to have a better game in terms of field position.”
A&M’s freshman kicker Seth Small booted three goals for Texas A&M, including a 52-yarder that tied the season-long record set by Daniel LaCamera in the season opener against Northwestern State.
With this loss, the Aggies fall to 2-2 overall and 0-1 against SEC opponents.

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