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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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Quarterbacks, receivers take steps forward against Nicholls State

Senior+quarterback+Jake+Hubenak+was+12-for-15+passing+and%26%23160%3B93+yards+off+the+bench%26%23160%3Bagainst+Nicholls+State.
Photo by Photo by Cassie Stricker

Senior quarterback Jake Hubenak was 12-for-15 passing and 93 yards off the bench against Nicholls State.

There was a major fix needed in the Texas A&M offense moving into week two – the passing game.
Against UCLA, the Aggies quarterbacks threw for a combined 9-for-30 and 89 yards. Kellen Mond, whom A&M turned to as the starter after Nick Starkel’s ankle injury, was just 3-for-17 and 27 yards.
This week, the Aggies passing game was better, but still struggled at times with both Mond and Jake Hubenak playing in A&M’s 24-14 win over Nicholls State.
“There were positives and negatives from both guys,” A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin said after the game. “It’s still a work in progress, but both of those guys are getting better.”
Mond was rolling in the first quarter, leading A&M on two touchdown drives while starting the game 10-for-12 and 94 yards with a touchdown.
“I think Kellen started off very, very well,” Sumlin said. “In the first couple series, he was accurate, moved the ball with tempo.”
The Aggie offense began to stall out in the second quarter though, gaining just 25 yards on 13 plays in the period. Mond was 2-for-8 and 11 yards in the final fifteen minutes of the half.
“We had issues in the middle part of the game, which weren’t all the quarterbacks fault,” Sumlin added. “We had some protection issues. We weren’t able to run the football. He didn’t really have the time to do a lot and some of the adjustments they made and we made with their blitzes, rolling the safeties kind of confused him a little bit, but we weren’t able to do the things we needed to do offensively from a protection standpoint and really being able to help him being able to run the ball the way we needed to.”
Following a three-and-out on the first drive of the second half, Sumlin opted to roll with Hubenak, who played the remainder of the game and led the offense to 10 points, going 12-for-15 and 93 yards.
“Jake came in and did a nice job. I thought that he operated with both tempo and then he operated also with being able to manage the clock,” Sumlin said. “We didn’t ask him to get down the field much with his throws, but his intermediate passing game was very good”
Tempo and production stepped up, but the Aggies had a series of miscues that hindered them from putting the game out of reach.
“We kind of shot ourselves in the foot a couple of those drives,” Hubenak said. “We had a penalty the first drive I got in. Second drive, we got in field goal range, I took a sack. It was kind of self-inflicted wounds, stuff that we need to fix in practice. After that point, I think we were moving the ball really well all those drives. We just have to finish.”
Under Mond, the Aggies were 1-for-5 and 2 yards passing on third down. With Hubenak under center, A&M was 4-for-5 and 30 yards through the air. Sumlin noted earning the key conversions was in part of receivers stepping up when needed.
“I thought as the game went on, when we really had to do something, I think those guys understand that the consistency of play is what we’ve got to get out of them,” Sumlin said.
While the passers faced problems, Sumlin was also concerned with his wide receivers, and said last week that he felt the unit did not make any competitive plays versus the Bruins.
Last week against UCLA, only three Aggies recorded receptions. Against Nicholls State, 11 players caught passes, as the shared wealth was a positive step forward for the youthful unit.
“It’s good to put that on film because now other teams are going to know coming into the game that we’re not just going to focus on a core group of guys,” Kirk said who led the team with six receptions for 47 yards and a touchdown. “I still think we have a ton of room to grow, a ton of things we have to fix and part of that is coming along with game experience.”
Looking towards Lousiana-Lafayette next Saturday, the Aggies are still uncertain who will take the reigns at quarterback, but are now able to assess both Mond and Hubenak from game film.
“We put everybody out there,” Sumlin said. “Everything’s an on-going evaluation.”

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