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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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Second half shutout propels A&M over Louisiana–Lafayette

Freshman+running+back%26%23160%3BJacob+Kibodi%26%23160%3Bcelebrates+after+scoring+his+first+touchdown+as+an+Aggie.+Three+other+true+freshman+scored+touchdowns+in+Saturdays+game+against+the+Rajun+Cajuns%2C+including+quarterback+Kellen+Mond%2C+wide+receiver+Jhamon+Ausbon+and+running+back+Camron+Buckley.
Photo by Photo by C. Morgan Engel

Freshman running back Jacob Kibodi celebrates after scoring his first touchdown as an Aggie. Three other true freshman scored touchdowns in Saturday’s game against the Rajun’ Cajuns, including quarterback Kellen Mond, wide receiver Jhamon Ausbon and running back Camron Buckley.

For the second week in a row, Texas A&M football beat their non-conference opponent, yet it didn’t quite seem like it in the first half. Saturday, A&M played host to Louisiana–Lafayette, however, A&M trailed ULL 21-14 at half time.
The Aggies would recover in the second half, scoring 31 unanswered points to go on and defeat the Ragin’ Cajuns 45-21 and move to 2-1 on the season.
It took the Aggies a whole half of play to get the momentum going in their favor. In the second half alone, A&M scored 28 points off turnovers.
Senior safety Armani Watts, who had two interceptions in the game, had one to start off the second half on the Cajuns first play out of the locker room. Following the game, Watts said he believed that play in particular sparked the team.
“I think [the interception] did,” Watts said. “It gave the team energy, excitement. It really just carried on after that.”
Texas A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin said that despite all the pieces that still need to be sorted out, the defense forcing turnovers has been one of the parts of the program that has been consistently producing.
“The thing that we’ve done consistently over the last three weeks is our defense has created turn overs,” Sumlin said. “We’re in the plus margin every week and we are a work in progress but the one thing we have established is that we have created turnovers and we’ve won the turnover battle every week.”
On both sides of the ball, A&M seemed to lack emotion and grit in the first half of the game. With a lot of new faces on the roster, Watts said one of the contributing factors was the fact that for many of the younger players, this was their first early game, which takes some getting used to.
“Partly because it was an early game,” Watts said. “Some guys aren’t used to it. That’s how I see it. We woke up at 6 a.m. this morning, some just are still getting used to that. We just had to refresh and get our minds right and play how we played.”
However, once A&M came out of the locker room, Watts said the team played with more emotion, which played a major role in the second half shutout.
“I think we played with more emotion,” Watts said. “We kind of didn’t have emotion. You can’t play without emotion. We just stuck with it. We knew our offense would come through. They started off a little slow but we trusted each other.”
A notable face was missing from the line up against ULL was sophomore running back Trayveon Williams. According to Sumlin, Williams is dealing with an ankle injury. However, two running backs stepped in for the injured 1,000-yard rusher. Redshirt sophomore Kendall Bussey and true freshman Jacob Kibodi were A&M’s leading rushers this game. Kibodi rushed for 101 yards on four attempts averaging 25.2 yards a carry with a touchdown. Bussey averaged 6.8 yards a carry with 13 touches in the game.
Following the game, Bussey had nothing but high praises for the young running back who scored his first career touchdown in the fourth quarter.
“He came in and did a really good job this fall camp,” Bussey said. “Being a new guy is kind of hard. It’s two different speeds coming from high school to college. He’s worked his butt off as well so I knew good things would happen for him cause he’s just sitting back watch all us other guys do our thing. He’s a pretty smart kid so he’ll be okay.”
True freshman quarterback Kellen Mond made his second start of the game today, and came out looking more comfortable under center. Mond went 21-of-34 with 301 passing yards, three touchdowns and an interception.
Sumlin noticed the difference in Mond’s play in the win, noting that with every week, Mond is growing more comfortable with his role in the offense.
“He’s gotten better and I think he’s comfortable,” Sumlin said. “He’s more assertive. He was a lot more assertive last night at practice, he was a lot more assertive pregame and that’s normal as a young guy.”
Mond and Kibodi weren’t the only true freshmen to have a solid game. Wide receivers Jhamon Ausbon and Camron Buckley accounted for touchdowns as well.
Texas A&M will be back in action, Saturday Sept. 23 in Arlington, Texas as they take on Arkansas at AT&T Stadium. Kickoff is set for 11 a.m. CT.

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