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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

Malcome Kennedy: This is our game

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Kennedy dodges a Lamar player at home. 

The Aggies spent the better part of the game Saturday against Arkansas out of sync. Dropped passes, a fake punt and sloppy football left the Aggies trailing by a touchdown at the end of the first half.
Senior wide receiver Malcome Kennedy stepped up and took the reins, eventually sealing the thrilling 35-28 overtime win with a touchdown catch.
Before that, he showed his leadership in another way in the locker room at halftime.
“At halftime I knew what I wanted to say, but when I got to the door, Malcome Kennedy was standing there and he looked at me and said, ‘I got something I want to say,’” head coach Kevin Sumlin said. “I listened to him for about 30 seconds and I said, ‘Yeah, that’s better than anything I can say.’”
Kennedy, a seasoned veteran in his fifth year in the Aggie football program, lifted the team’s spirits and confidence at halftime, said teammate Cedric Ogbuehi.
“He just went into the locker room and said, ‘Hey, this is our game — we’re still in this game. No one have their head down because we’re going to win this game.’ And we did,” Ogbuehi said.
Offensive coordinator Jake Spavital also praised Kennedy’s leadership and said it helped the coaching staff as well as the players.
“Malcome is the vocal leader of our offense and it was great for him to step up and say those things and encourage [the team] throughout the process,” Spavital said. “It was very beneficial for Malcome to get in there and keep everybody on check. It helps out the coaching staff because it means [we] don’t have to speak as much at halftime. [We] can just make adjustments and move on because Malcome handled it from there.”
Sumlin said Kennedy served as a good role model for the underclassmen, particularly in demonstrating how to cope with adversity.
“When [you] start to have that in the team, as a coach you start to feel a lot better about situations like that,” Sumlin said. “When younger players see a guy like Malcome Kennedy in that role, down the road they’re going to think, ‘Hey, that needs to be me.’”
Kennedy said he felt the frustration and dampened spirits of his teammates. It was time to take action and save the game.
“I just had to let the team know there was just something on my heart,” Kennedy said. “I was telling the team, ‘Keep your head up. As bad as we might think we’re doing, or as bad as we feel like we’re doing, we’re only down by a touchdown.’ I knew we weren’t playing bad, there were just a few things that didn’t go our way. In a football game, that’s going to happen sometimes. We didn’t have success where we wanted it at, but I knew if we just kept playing we would. I felt like I had to express that to the team and they responded well.”
And respond they did. After conceding another touchdown to Arkansas in the third quarter, the Aggies shut the Razorbacks out in the fourth quarter and climbed out of a two-score deficit to win the game in overtime.
“Nobody on that sideline ever believed that the game was over,” Kennedy said. “That’s the great thing about this team. If the game is on the line in the fourth quarter and we’re only down by 14 points, then we’re going to make a comeback. It just goes to show how great the coaching staff is and how great we work together as a team.”
However, Kennedy hurt his shoulder in the fourth quarter and his return was questionable. Despite the injury, Kennedy knew he wasn’t finished.
“My shoulder was probably out of place,” Kennedy said. “The trainers came down and popped it back in. They asked me if I was alright or if I was done. I was like, ‘No, I’ve got to go back in.’ I just had a lot of adrenaline so it didn’t really hurt. I told my coach, ‘I may not be able to block the best, but I can still run and I can still go out there and be a threat.’ I was thinking if I get in and take a hit, whatever, I’ll get right back up and keep going. I just wanted to win the game. They wanted to sit me down but I said, ‘No, I just want to go.’”
Sumlin didn’t expect his receiver to return.
“We thought he was finished,” Sumlin said. “He said, ‘Coach, I need to go back in, especially on this play.’ I think he knew it was a touchdown.”
Kennedy was right. The very first play of overtime, sophomore quarterback Kenny Hill threw a bullet to Kennedy for the game-winning, 25-yard score.
“Man, it was such a great feeling. I never pictured it working out like that,” Kennedy said. “We ran that play a few other times in the game and it just didn’t work. The coverage they played — they always switched coverages and they never played where we figured they would. One time it worked perfectly and I caught it and ran it in. It felt amazing.”
Spavital knew what the game plan was going into overtime — to get the ball in Kennedy’s hands.
“I thought it was just the perfect opportunity to get it in there to Malcome,” Spavital said. “I always tell them that when the game is on the line, Malcome’s the guy that we’re going to. He made a great misdirection, a big time play, and won the game for us.”
Kennedy, a 6-foot, 205-pound recreation, parks and tourism sciences senior from Cayuga, Texas, holds an impressive résumé. As a junior, Malcome had 60 grabs for 658 yards and seven touchdowns, three of which came against No. 1 Alabama. One of only six Aggie receivers to ever catch 60 or more passes in a season, he needs just 39 yards to become the 11th player in A&M history to reach 1,500 career receiving yards.
Kennedy, the No. 2 receiver in the SEC, has already come down with 33 passes for 378 yards this season. He also leads active A&M receivers with 130 careers grabs — no other Aggie has more than 30.
Reflecting on last weekend’s win, Kennedy said the entire team learned something and is better off.
“Games like that, where you face adversity against a good team and come back to win — you take so many things away from that,” Kennedy said. “I’d rather win like that than win big and be big-headed coming into the next week. It’s always good to have that humbling experience and to be able to see where you could work to get better. We showed that we can stand up in front of a big audience in Cowboys stadium. We knew it would be a big show, and it was great. All the older guys stuck together and it was good to see the leadership because coach always talks about how much we need that.”

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  • Kennedy dodges a Lamar player at home. 

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