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

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

The Battalion

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Hubenak and Aggies fall short to Louisville 27-21 in Music City Bowl

Texas A&M’s bid for a fifth straight bowl win was denied Wednesday night when the team fell 27-21 at the hands of Louisville in the Music City Bowl.

Three quick first quarter touchdowns by Louisville ultimately doomed the Aggies despite a late comeback attempt. A&M had trouble moving the ball early and the defense enabled Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson to have a historic day.

Texas A&M (8-5) defensively, allowing Lamar Jackson to account for 453 yards of total offense. Josh Reynolds and Tra Carson finished with eleven receptions for 177 yards and 20 carries for 106 yards and a touchdown, respectively, but the Aggies still ultimately fell short.

Louisville (8-5) quarterback Lamar Jackson had a field day on the ground running all over A&M’s defense for 226 yards on 22 attempts, breaking the Music City Bowl rushing record and earning him the MVP award of the game. The freshman dual threat quarterback also went 12-of-26 through the air and threw for 227 yards and two touchdowns. Jackson is only the third quarterback to rush and pass for at least 200 yards each, joining him with Vince Young and Johnny Manziel.

A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin said giving up the yardage to Jackson was costly as well as turning the ball over.

“Anytime you lose the turnover battle it becomes tough to win the game and you give up 300 yards rushing,” Sumlin said. “[He’s explosive and he’s got wheels. He gave us fits on the edge. We shored up the interior but he got the ball on the perimeter on us.”

In his first start as an Aggie, Hubenak went 28-of-48 throwing for 307 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Aggie running back Tra Carson said his quarterback remained calm throughout the game.

“Jake never seemed rattled,” Carson said. “He did a great job of taking control of the huddle. He was the same from the first snap to the last snap.”

The Aggies fell in a 13-0 hole early in the game. Lamar Jackson ran for a six-yard touchdown with 11:56 early in the first quarter and then passed to Micky Crum with 5:22 left to put the Cardinals up 13-0. Kicker John Wallace missed the extra point.

After appearing to be nervous early in the game and struggling to move the ball, Hubenak and the offense put together a solid drive that was capped off by a nine-yard touchdown run by Tra Carson.

Jackson answered by gashing the A&M defense with a 61-yard touchdown. The long score put the Cardinals on top 20-7 with a 1:14 remaining in the first quarter.

In the second quarter A&M contained Jackson and held Louisville scoreless. Both defenses proved to be stout until just before half when Tra Carson ran up the middle for a 55-yard gain to the Louisville four yard line. Hubenak then lobbed the ball over a defender to Ricky Seals-Jones in the corner of the end zone cutting the lead to 20-14.

The Aggies put together another impressive drive during the third quarter. Hubenak hit Seals-Jones for a completion just inside the Louisville 10-yard line and the Aggies were in prime scoring position. However, offensive lineman Avery Gennesy committed a crucial hands to the face penalty to push the offense back 15 yards and ultimately preventing them from scoring.

Hubenak threw his lone interception of the game in the third quarter. Lamar Jackson capitalized with a long drive to setup a 17-yard touchdown on a play action pass to tight end Keith Towbridge. Heading into the fourth quarter, Louisville held a 27-14 cushion.

The game didn’t see another score until A&M received the ball with 7:05 minutes remaining. Hubenak hit Josh Reynolds multiple times on the drive to help set the offense up to score. Louisville sent a corner blitz on 1st and 10 and Hubenak found Kirk for a 29-yard touchdown, bringing the Aggies to within six at 27-21 with 4:54 remaining.

The Aggies made a critical stop on 3rd and five and received the ball back with one last attempt to win the game. Hubenak led the Aggies into Louisville territory, but with 1:49 remaining, he overthrew his intended receiver on 4th and 8.

Sumlin said although Hubenak did not ultimately win the game at the end, he gave the Aggies a chance and did well in his first start.

“Once [Hubenak] settled down he was fine,” Sumlin said. “He had great demeanor. For him to do what he did and our team to give us a chance. [You’ve] got be proud of him.”

A&M senior cornerback Brandon Williams said it was very difficult for the seniors to finish their careers with a loss.
“It [leaves] a sour taste in our mouths but through it all I’m glad I played with these coaches and players and for the university,” Williams said.

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