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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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Mond leads struggling rushing attack against Auburn

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Photo by Paul Burke

Junior Kellen Mond had 335 yards and 2 touchdowns against Auburn.

From the start of the game, No. 17 Texas A&M struggled to run the ball against the No. 8 Auburn defense in a 28-20 loss at Kyle Field on Saturday.
The Aggies were only able to accumulate 56 rushing yards against the Tigers, and junior quarterback Kellen Mond accounted for almost half of them, leading the Aggies with 26.
A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher said Mond’s performance helped keep the Aggies in the game as they scored 17 points in the fourth quarter, though it was to no avail.
“He kept us in there and found a way for us to do it,” Fisher said. “That’s one of the things Kellen can do with his legs and his arms. I’m very proud of the way he competes. The guy competes his tail off.”
The Aggies only managed 14 rushing yards in the first quarter, though they lost yardage in the second for a halftime total of 12 rushing yards.
A&M’s rushing game saw little improvement moving into the second half as the Aggies accumulated 44 yards on the ground after halftime.
Though the game plan remains for Mond to be primarily a passing quarterback, Mond said he will continue to use his legs to extend plays as needed.
“Sometimes it’s scrambles or sometimes it’s designed runs or even zone reads — just being versatile like that,” Mond said. “We’ll see if I need to be involved more in the run game.”
Though Mond often receives criticism for not utilizing his running ability enough, he said it is more difficult than people realize.
“[Fisher] always talks about feeling pressure and reading coverages,” Mond said. “People up in the stands, they see you take off and run. Those gaps, especially with that defensive line, they close quick. I just have to trust my eyes and trust my offensive line and offense.”
Fisher said as the quarterback, there is increased pressure on Mond to make those running plays.
“There’s no doubt when you’re a quarterback, that means you got to make all the plays,” Fisher said. “That’s something that sometimes goes with the position. As a quarterback, you’ve got to find ways to do it. And that’s our job to help take some of that pressure off by [doing] different things.”
Junior wide receiver Jhamon Ausbon said those “different things” include abandoning the run game altogether if it doesn’t work.
“One thing Coach says is, ‘Do whatever it takes,’” Ausbon said. “It doesn’t really matter if it takes us passing the ball 80 times a game, we’re going to do it. [Mond and I] don’t point fingers and say who didn’t do their job because there’s been times where we didn’t show up for the game too. If Coach calls your name and the plays yours to make you make the play.”
A&M finally managed to find some momentum after halftime, just as they did against Clemson, but a comeback was just out of reach by that point.
Mond said in addition to the rushing attack, there are other areas the Aggies need to improve in before continuing SEC play against Arkansas next weekend.
“We have to find a way to get that running game going,” Mond said. “We can be more consistent in the passing game. As a whole offense we have to figure it out. We’re not pointing any fingers ever. We’re a collective unit — me and the coaches, we have to figure out what’s best for us.”

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