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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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One step away
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Gearing up for conference play

Photo by Photo by Cassie Stricker

Sophomore Kendall Bussey averaged 6.8 yards a carry with 13 rush attempts versus Louisiana-Lafayette. 

Saturday morning, Texas A&M will look to meet a school record that hasn’t been reached against the Razorbacks since 1938. For the fourth straight year, and the sixth in series history, A&M and Arkansas will meet at AT&T Stadium. 

The Aggies are coming off a second half comeback win against Louisiana–Lafayette where they scored 31 unanswered points. True freshman quarterback Kellen Mond threw for 301 yards and completed 21 of 34 pass attempts, becoming the first true freshman in school history to surpass the 300-yard passing mark. 

Mond’s performance also earned him an honorable mention from the Earl Campbell Tyler Rose award. Texas A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin said Mond continues to develop and show improvement with more practice reps as the season progresses. 

“Consistency with a young quarterback is always something you’re fighting,” Sumlin said. “[With] quarterbacks, you learn more about them as you go on, what their strengths and weakness are. He stood in there and threw some really, really good balls and took some hits last week [which were] some things we hadn’t seen before.” 

Last week, A&M was without standout running backs Trayveon Williams and Keith Ford. However, sophomore Kendall Bussey and freshman Jacob Kibodi stole the show the last two games. Offensive lineman Erik McCoy said knowing the running back position has a lot of depth just gives the offense more flexibility when it comes to play calling. 

“What we learned last game was that we have five or six guys in the back field that can run the football really well,” McCoy said. “I know that we’re going to use them to the best of their abilities and they will all get a good amount of carries. 

McCoy also said that maintaining the run game is crucial to the overall success of the team regardless of the opponent. 

“In order for this team to be successful and this offense to be successful we have to be able to run the ball,” McCoy said.  

The friendship between Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema and Sumlin has many chapters. Last summer, Bielema added one to the books when he said he wanted to punch Sumlin after the loss in 2015. On Tuesday, Sumlin had nothing but high praise for the Hogs’ head coach.

 “He’s a good friend, we’ve known each other for a long time,” Sumlin said. “I’ve got a lot of respect for how he does things, the identity that he’s created … they’re [Arkansas], a well-coached team, sometimes the ball bounces the right way.” 

Sumlin also noted that in the past few years, the games between A&M and Arkansas have been close.

 “It’s not like these games haven’t been close, they’ve been really close games, three of the last four, shoot, last year midway through the third quarter it was anybody’s game,” Sumlin said. “These games have been overtimes, they’ve been really close games. We’ve found a way to win them.” 

Arkansas senior quarterback Austin Allen only completed 9-of-23 pass attempts in the Hogs 28-7 loss against TCU two weeks ago. However, senior nickel back Priest Willis said Allen is a tough quarterback and will certainly cause havoc for the defense, much like he did in 2016. 

“He was poised, acted like he had been there, good quarterback, but once again we’re focused on our game plan and what we’re going to bring,” Willis said. 

A&M will take the field against Arkansas, Saturday Sept. 23 at AT&T Stadium for the Southwest Classic. Kickoff is set for 11 a.m. on ESPN.

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