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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

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Reloaded and ready to go

Freshman+quarterback+Kellen+Mond%26%23160%3Bcompleted+14+of+his+27+passes+for+216+yards+and+two+touchdowns%2C+and+also+added+116+rushing+yards+on+ten+carries+against+the+Razorbacks.%26%23160%3B
Photo by Photo by Cassie Stricker

Freshman quarterback Kellen Mond completed 14 of his 27 passes for 216 yards and two touchdowns, and also added 116 rushing yards on ten carries against the Razorbacks. 

Coming off a 50-43 overtime win over Arkansas in the Southwest Classic, Texas A&M returns home to Kyle Field for a showdown with South Carolina.
The Gamecocks (3-1) are fresh off a 17-16 victory over Louisiana Tech that was decided on a field goal in the final seconds. South Carolina quarterback Jake Bentley has emerged as one of the best quarterbacks in the SEC, as the sophomore ranks third in the conference in total offense.
“He’s been in big games before. Their offense is a little bit like ours schematically — we’re pretty similar — but obviously they have an experienced quarterback,” A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin said at Tuesday’s press conference. “They have an attack really similar to ours utilizing the tight end, some run-pass options with big, physical receivers. They have really evolved in their offense with him because he can run — he can scramble and throw it.”
Will Muschamp’s squad will be without its star receiver Deebo Samuel, however, after he broke his leg two weeks ago against Kentucky. Samuel is one of the most dynamic playmakers in the SEC when healthy, and the Gamecocks offense has not looked nearly as potent since he went down.
The Aggie offense, though, has continued to improve under the leadership of freshman signal-caller Kellen Mond. The San Antonio native threw for 216 yards and two touchdowns against the Razorbacks in Arlington and also ran for 109 yards on 10 carries.
“He’s got a lot of talent,” Sumlin said of Mond. “He’s getting more comfortable, we’re getting more comfortable with him and knowing what he can do. I think you can see the communication even on the sideline is better.”
Mond looks like an entirely different quarterback than the one who struggled mightily in the season opener against UCLA.
“He was kind of tossed into the fire as a true freshman. He was just pushed in there and had to go into the game at a big-time moment,” sophomore running back Trayveon Williams said. “Now he has a different look in his eyes, he looks at the game from a whole other aspect, he’s become way more vocal and he’s becoming just a leader he was born to be.”
In addition to Mond’s growth, the A&M receiving corps has also shown improvement. Fellow newcomer Jhamon Ausbon snagged five passes for 48 yards against Arkansas, Christian Kirk exploded for 110 yards and two touchdowns and the receivers have started making more contested catches than they did at the beginning of the season.
Kirk also contributed in the return game, taking a kickoff to the house against Arkansas and earning the SEC Special Teams Player of the Week in the process. Kirk looked like his old self after putting up underwhelming numbers in the first three games of the season.
Kirk said he was disappointed in his play in the Louisiana-Lafayette game, motivating him to play better against Arkansas.
“After the game I did a lot of reflecting on what might have happened and just kind of where my head was at,” Kirk said. “I was able to get a chip on my shoulder going into last week’s practice. I probably had one of my best weeks of practice. I was able to go out on Saturday, and it showed.”
Sumlin said the Aggies continue to gain confidence, which is a product of winning games and seeing their hard work in practice pay off on Saturdays.
“I don’t think we ever lacked confidence,” Sumlin said. “I think there was some frustration — those are two different things. I think in the second half against Lafayette, guys started feeling a lot better about themselves. Any time you win or you’re in a positive situation, you do gain some confidence.”
The Aggies will try to improve to 4-1 on the season before hosting No. 1 Alabama next weekend. Kickoff is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. and will be televised on the SEC Network.

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