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The Battalion

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

The Battalion

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Freshmen have big night for A&M

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Photo by Kaylee Cogbill

Freshman wide receiver Ainias Smith had a kickoff return for 16 yards in the Aggie win against Lamar.

By the end of the third quarter, the No. 16 Aggies had a commanding 41-3 lead over Lamar.
A&M’s freshmen were instrumental in the win, accounting for 93 passing and 131 rushing yards, in addition to four touchdowns.
True freshman quarterback Zach Calzada entered the game for junior Kellen Mond with just over a minute remaining in the quarter, and on his first play, he hit fellow freshman, tight end Jalen Wydermeyer, for a 25-yard touchdown.
Calzada was 4-of-8 passing in the game, garnering 68 yards and adding two touchdowns.
A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher said while the young quarterback’s execution was not perfect, he was pleased with what he saw.
“[He] made a couple nice throws, had a couple drops,” Fisher said. “He missed a read or two.”
Calzada also connected with a freshman for his second touchdown of the night. Wide receiver Ainias Smith reeled in a 13-yard pass in the fourth quarter to make the score 55-3. In addition to the touchdown, Smith had 66 receiving yards.
“The guy’s a very talented guy in the return game, can catch in the slot, can get the ball over,” Fisher said. “[He] runs routes. He’s a really good player.”
There’s a familiarity between Smith and junior wide receiver Jhamon Ausbon as the pair grew up together around the Houston area.
“I played flag football [with Smith] my whole life,” Ausbon said. “He works very hard as a freshman. He works very hard at that level to compete in the SEC. I’m really happy for him and he really deserves it.”
Ausbon is part of the reason Smith committed to A&M. The junior said he used the appeal of the SEC to bring Smith to Aggieland.
“I just told him, ‘You’re playing in SEC West, the best of the best. What kind of games do you want to play in? What kind of competition level do you want to play in?’” Ausbon said. “I know everybody wants to go to the NFL. … All the top players play in the SEC. And next week he’ll see what he came here for in these conference games.”
After Calzada’s second touchdown of the night, redshirt freshman signal caller James Foster entered the game. Foster went 2-for-5 for 25 yards in A&M’s final drive of the night. Fisher said he was impressed by Foster’s development as a passer.
“[He] had good command of the things we asked him to do,” Fisher said. “[I] thought he did a great job and really started emerging in the passing game. I thought he did a nice job giving us another weapon going forward.”
A&M’s run game also saw success from an underclassman. True freshman Isaiah Spiller led the Aggies with 116 rushing yards, making this his second game of over 100 yards.
A&M’s rushing performance was a big question mark going into Saturday’s matchup against Lamar, as the Aggies lost sophomore running back Jashaun Corbin to a season-ending hamstring injury against Clemson.
Fisher said he has hope moving forward with the way Spiller has stepped up to fill that role.
“There’s a lot put on him,” Fisher said. “He’s having to fill some big shoes, but he’s a very smart, talented young man, and he’s doing a really good job.”

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