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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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Texas A&M outfielder Jace Laviolette (17) robs a home run from Florida infielder Cade Kurland (4) in the top of the ninth inning during Texas A&M’s game against Florida at the NCAA Men’s College World Series at Charles Schwab Field in Omaha, Nebraska on Sunday, June 15, 2024. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)
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Nick Starkel sees action against Auburn, set to start next week

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Photo by Photo by Hanna Hausman

Quarterback Nick Starkel looks for an open receiver down the field.

When Nick Starkel strapped on his helmet with seven minutes left in the second quarter, Texas A&M was desperate for some sort of offensive production. Despite Starkel’s efforts the remainder of the game, A&M fell to No. 14 Auburn 42-27.
Texas A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin said he decided to put Starkel in the game due to starting quarterback Kellen Mond’s inability to create any form of offense a quarter and a half into the game. Mond completed 5-of-11 pass attempts with a meager 16 yards through the air.
“With the way things were going today, based on decision making on the field, we made a change,” Sumlin said following the game. “Based the way things were going on the football game, just like every other position on our team, it was time to give someone else a chance. Nick took advantage of that today. If [Mond] had gone in there and not done what he had done, it might be a different story.”
For the day, Starkel was 11-of-22 for 184 yards with two passing touchdowns.
Following the game, Sumlin hinted that Starkel would be getting the starting nod over Mond next week for the last home game of the season against New Mexico.
“He was our starter to start the year,” Sumlin said. “There wasn’t any indecision in the last couple weeks. It was all based on him being healthy and what he can do and how he can do it. Obviously, today he played pretty good, all things considered. He took pretty good care of the football. Moving forward, I think he’s earned his spot back and we’ll go down the road like that.”
The last time Starkel saw substantial action was eight weeks ago against UCLA before he went down with a broken ankle. Sumlin said the post medical clearance approach was to make sure Starkel was ready to play considering he was out for significant amount of time.
“I think what you’ve seen the last couple weeks is Nick is rusty, but he’s doing okay,” Sumlin said. “The growth process for him is not just to pick up a football and just start throwing it again after being gone for a month and a half with an injury like that.”
Junior offensive lineman Keaton Sutherland said although mid-game quarterback changes are tough for everyone involved, other members of the offense wanted to make sure Starkel had a seamless transition into playing full speed.
“We were just trying to make him feel comfortable,” Sutherland said. “It is never easy having to change people and come in there like that, but we were just trying to make him feel comfortable and let him get after it just like Kellen [Mond] would have.”
The change paid off for the Aggies — at least for a while. Starkel’s first drive resulted in a touchdown and in his first three passes alone, Starkel surpassed Mond’s total passing production.
Starkel’s ability to stay in the pocket and his accuracy on down field throws were driving factors for Sumlin putting him in the game. Sophomore running back Trayveon Williams said Starkel’s threat allowed the offense to find a better rhythm and get the run game going.
“Nick is great in the pass game, and he’s really accurate,” Williams said. “He makes great reads to kind of open it up for us. He did very well, so that made the run game go.”
The Aggies will return to Kyle Field one last time this season as they host New Mexico Nov. 11. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. and will be broadcast on EPSNU.

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  • Mond played for 1.5 quarters and Starkel played for 2.5 quarters.

    Photo by Graphic by Alexis Will

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