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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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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Year Two: A&M’s run game is SEC-ready

Freshman+running+back+Isaiah+Spiller+led+the+Aggies+with+116+rushing+yards+against+Lamar.
Photo by Meredith Seaver

Freshman running back Isaiah Spiller led the Aggies with 116 rushing yards against Lamar.

With No. 8 Auburn right around the corner, Texas A&M football got the answer it needed from the run game Saturday night against Lamar.
After losing sophomore tailback Jashaun Corbin for the remainder of the season to a hamstring injury, freshman tailback Isaiah Spiller showed out – rushing for 116 yards and a pair of touchdowns, not including two receptions for 21 yards.
“That’s another 100-yard game,” A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher said. “[He] played well each and every time he’s out there he’s getting better. He’s never perfect because he has a lot to learn but you can’t complain about a guy who’s had two 100-yard games.”
Despite not getting the start over Jacob Kibodi, Spiller showcased his ability against the Cardinals. The true freshman saw the field well, had several strong runs that resulted in touchdowns and is one of the most explosive players on the offense.
Spiller is a utility back much like Corbin and Trayveon Williams, being able to catch the occasional pass, be patient enough for a play to develop and block in the backfield if needed.
Both Spiller and Kibodi are players that can run downhill and power through collapsing defensive lines, but they’re also elusive in space.
The tune-up against Lamar may have been the best thing for A&M’s rushing offense, giving Spiller and Kibodi the game experience they needed prior to Auburn. Even though the difference between Lamar’s defensive front and Auburn’s is night and day, getting through a game plan successfully is a great morale-booster.
“There’s a lot put on [Spiller],” Fisher said. “He’s having to fill some big shoes from what we lost, but he’s a very smart, talented young man … Very mature physically for his age.”
Kellen Mond will be a major point of emphasis going into next Saturday as well. The junior went 20-of-28 for 317 yards and was responsible for a passing score and another on his legs.
But once again, Mond was not able to keep himself from turning the ball over, throwing his fourth pick in the last four games. With four more top-ten matchups coming up, turning the ball over is often the difference between a win or a loss.
“I wish we didn’t have a turnover,” Fisher said. “You never want those. But for the most part, [we saw] all we needed to see. We’ve just got to get cleaned up, can still be a little cleaner on offense. But I don’t think I’ve ever been in an offensive game where I thought it shouldn’t be cleaner.”
However, Mond did flash his throwing ability outside of the pocket on rollouts and seemed more patient in the pocket than last week.
Mond on the run can be a game-changer for the Aggies if used appropriately in red zone situations. A&M showed how it can create space with its receivers for players running the ball, clearing the left side of the field for Spiller on one of his two touchdown runs.
Even without the blocking downfield, Mond will have to continue to showcase his running ability to keep A&M in those big games throughout conference play.

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