Christian Kirk

Associated Press

Texas A&M boots its way past Florida in battle for second-tier SEC supremacy

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Texas A&M’s offense struggled for much of the night, but the Aggies’ defense and special teams were enough to overcome a fourth-quarter deficit to win yet another to-the-wire game, besting Florida 19-17 in Gainesville.

Florida led 10-3 after a largely uneventful first half, and the Aggies pulled even after Kellen Mond accounted for 60 yards of on a 6-play, 55-yard drive (not a misprint), culminating the march in a 9-yard run at the 11:12 mark of the second quarter.

The score remained deadlocked at 10-10 through the end of the third quarter, until Feleipe Franks twisted and turned his way to a career-long 79-yard run, setting up a 6-yard Dre Massey rush on the first play of the fourth quarter.

Texas A&M moved the ball inside the Florida red zone on each of its next two drives but could not convert on either trip, forcing the second and third Daniel LaCamera field goals. The Aggies forced a Florida punt trailing 17-16 with 6:35 to go and took over at the Gators’ 24-yard line thanks to a 43-yard Christian Kirk punt return and a 15-yard personal foul flag.

However, a third consecutive drive ended short of the end zone, forcing a 32-yard LaCamera field goal to put the Aggies in front, 19-17.

Florida took over at its own 25 with 58 seconds left needing only a field goal to win the game. They wouldn’t get the chance, though, because Franks was intercepted by Tyrel Dodson on the first play of the drive to seal the win for the Aggies. Texas A&M won despite Mond completing 8-of-24 passes (for 180 yards with an interception) and the ground game accounting for just 83 yards on 38 carries.

Florida has to swallow a loss in which it ran 42 times for 242 yards and Franks completed 17-of-26 passes, but for only 129 yards with two costly interceptions.

The win pushes the Aggies to 5-2 overall and 3-1 in the SEC with a real opportunity to make a second-half run and save Kevin Sumlin‘s job. Texas A&M is off next week and closes with five straight winnable games: consecutive home games against Mississippi State, Auburn and New Mexico, and road trips to Ole Miss and LSU.

Florida, meanwhile, dropped to 3-3 overall and 3-2 in SEC play. The Gators will also take next week off, but no layups await them on the other side of the bye. Florida will play next in Jacksonville against No. 4 Georgia.

Texas A&M tops Arkansas in high-scoring overtime thriller

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There is one guarantee you can make every college football season. That is that Texas A&M and Arkansas are going to give you your money’s worth when they face off against each other in Arlington. The Razorbacks and Aggies played an overtime game for the third-straight year, and the result once again went in favor of Texas A&M (3-1, 1-0 SEC) in the highest-scoring game between the two schools in series history. The Aggies handed Arkansas (1-2, 0-1 SEC) a 50-43 loss, extended Texas A&M’s winning streak in the series to six.

The game may have been decided in overtime, but Arkansas pretty much deserved to lose the moment they allowed a kickoff to land in the hands of Christian Kirk with a little more than five minutes to play immediately after taking a 36-33 lead on a 44-yard touchdown pass from Allen to Jonathan Nance.

After Mond completed a touchdown pass to Kirk in the first possession of overtime, Armani Watts sealed the game for the Aggies with an interception in the end zone on a 3rd-and-8 play from the Texas A&M 12-yard line. Since joining the SEC, Texas A&M has not lost to Arkansas.

This was a win that was needed for Kevin Sumlin to some degree after a couple of not-so-inspiring victories following a collapse against UCLA. The Aggies are now 3-1 though and will have to find a way to build off this win moving forward. Meanwhile, Bret Bielema at Arkansas will start to hear some more rumblings from disgruntled fans after another loss to the Aggies.

Arkansas took a 21-7 lead in the second quarter before the Aggies started to chip away. Texas A&M managed to cut the Razorback lead to 21-17 prior to halftime, and they probably should have had the lead if not for a blown call by the sideline judge calling the play dead 10 yards shy of the end zone when the play should have continued. The Aggies ended up settling for a field goal a few plays later, but replays showed Kellen Mond clearly stayed in bounds on his run. The play was not reviewable by the instant replay officials because the play had been blown dead by the on-field official.

Mond passed for 216 yards and two scores and led all players with 109 rushing yards. Keith Ford added another 10-2 rushing yards and two touchdowns for the Aggies. Allen passed for 229 yards and two scores, while Cole Kelley stepped on the field for a short touchdown pass as well for Arkansas.

Arkansas will be home next week for a game against New Mexico State. The Razorbacks will play SEC opponents the rest of the season, including Alabama (Oct. 14) and Auburn (Oct. 21) in back-to-back weeks.

Texas A&M will also be home next week to continue SEC play. The Aggies host the South Carolina Gamecocks before preparing for a showdown with No. 1 Alabama on October 7.

Blown call by SEC official screws Texas A&M out of a touchdown in first half vs. Arkansas

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Arkansas is leading Texas A&M by a score of 21-17 in AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas after one half of play, but the story of the half will be the blown call by a SEC side judge trailing a long run down the sideline. It was bad.

After Kellen Mond appeared to run the length of the field and stumble his way into the end zone for six, the official on the field ruled Mond had stepped out of bounds at the Arkansas 10-yard line.

He did not.

Because the play was blown dead, the ruling on the field could not be sent upstairs to the instant replay booth. Texas A&M would get no further down the field and had to settle for a field goal as a result.

The two teams exchanged touchdown drives in the first quarter, first with Austin Allen completing a 16-yard touchdown pass to Jared Cornelius for the Razorbacks and then Mond completing a pass to a wide-open Christian Kirk for an 81-yard score.

Arkansas regained the lead in the second quarter with a pair of touchdowns with Cole Kelley tossing one from two yards out and Chase Hayden running for a six-yard score. The Aggies did eventually get back in the end zone late in the first half with Trayveon Williams finding room up the middle for an 18-yard touchdown.

Texas A&M WR Speedy Noil making quick exit to NFL in 2017

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Texas A&M wide receiver Speedy Noil has made his decision, and it will no longer include playing for the Aggies. Noil announced, via Twitter, he will be declaring for the NFL Draft and leaving College Station behind a year early.

Noil joins fellow Aggie wide receiver Ricky Seals-Jones in declaring early for the NFL Draft. Seals-Jones made his intention public last week. Texas A&M’s returning wide receiver unit is taking some hits through attrition between early departures and graduation. Christian Kirk is, for the moment, the only player returning who has had any impact in the passing game in 2017.

Noil appeared in nine games for the Aggies in 2016, in which he caught 21 passes for 325 yards and two touchdowns. Noil, a five-star recruit out of high school in Texas A&M’s Class of 2014 showed great promise in his freshman season with 46 catches for 583 yards and five touchdowns, but the previous two seasons combined saw fewer receiving yards (551 yards) and fewer touchdowns (four) and more games missed due to suspension. The most recent suspension came last month as Texas A&M suspended Noil for the Aggies’ bowl game following an arrest for marijuana possession. It was Noil’s second arrest and third suspension in 13 months.

As he enters the rigors of the NFL Draft process, these are issues he will most certainly have to address in meetings and interviews with NFL representatives, but if he has cleaned up his act for the better and long-term, some NFL team may be getting a zippy wide receiver to throw into their offense or special teams unit.

Kansas State holds on for Texas Bowl victory over Texas A&M

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Texas A&M and Kansas State played some classics when the two programs were in the Big 12. Even though they entered this year’s Texas Bowl in different leagues, they apparently didn’t mind adding another wild one to series history on Wednesday night.

The Wildcats used several big plays and a few timely defensive stops to survive a late surge by the Aggies and held on to win in vintage Bill Snyder fashion 33-28 down in Houston.

Quarterback Jesse Ertz turned in one of his best performances of the year with his arm in throwing for 195 yards, including one beautiful touchdown pass to speedster Byron Pringle. The signal-caller also wasn’t too shabby in terms of running the ball either with 67 yards on the ground and a pair of scores to finish just behind Justin Silmon (77 yards on 10 carries) for the game.

Texas A&M struck first in the bowl by marching 75 yards on the opening drive to make things look easy. It turned out that was just an aberration as points and yards were hard to come by after that thanks to a stingy KSU defense. Quarterback Trevor Knight finished with 310 yards, a score and an interception to nearly rally the Aggies to a fourth quarter comeback but had his pass fall just short on fourth down to end the late threat.

Wideout Josh Reynolds had a program bowl record 12 catches for 154 yards and two touchdowns to pace the passing game for A&M, which also included some ridiculous catches from Christian Kirk and Ricky Seals-Jones as well. In the end it wasn’t enough though, and completes another disappointing late-season slide under coach Kevin Sumlin once again after going as high as No. 4 in the initial College Football Playoff standings earlier in the year.

On the flip side, the victory by Kansas State caps an impressive season in the Little Apple thanks to  Snyder and company. The program nearly ran the table against the old SWC and beat five different teams from the state of Texas in 2016 to once again hit the nine win plateau in another remarkable campaign by the Wildcats.