Associated Press

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

3 Comments

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

Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
4 Comments

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

ESPN
3 Comments

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.

Scholarship offer for a nine-year-old? Nevada says sure, why not

Getty Images
1 Comment

OK, this might be getting a little bit ridiculous. Check that — this is getting ridiculous.

Earlier this year, Lane Kiffin, long the king of way-too-early offers, further buttressed that reputation earlier this month when, just weeks after offering the seventh-grade son of Tee Martin, the Florida Atlantic head coach offered a scholarship to a quarterback who had just completed the sixth grade.  Earlier this month, Hawaii one-upped Kiffin by offering an 11-year-old who just completed the fifth grade.

At the time, we wrote, “Surely there’s not an offer to a kid still in elementary school in the offing.”

Nevada football: Hold my beer…

Welp.

Assuming young Mr. Finney just completed the fourth grade — fourth grade!!! — that would make him a member of the Class of 2026.  And you all thought that scheduling way-into-the-future home-and-home series was getting out of hand.

If nothing else, it has people talking about Nevada’s program at a time when not many are talking about college football in general and Wolf Pack football specifically.  Besides, what possible harm could come from entitling pre-teens with scholarship offers, right?

(Tip O’ the Cap: SBNation.com)

A&M WR Kirk Merritt facing charges for allegedly exposing himself to tutors

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Another day, another headline I’d never imagined I’d ever write.

According to the Houston Chronicle‘s Brent Zwerneman, Texas A&M wide receiver Kirk Merritt pleaded not guilty late last month to a pair of indecent exposure charges.  The charges stem from a pair of incidents from last October, and allegedly involve Merritt exposing himself to female academic tutors.

From Zwerneman’s report:

In one count, an alleged victim accused Merritt of exposing and touching himself “while sitting in arm’s reach” of her “on or about” Oct. 24. About a day later according to a court document, another alleged victim claimed Merritt pulled down his shorts and held himself also “while sitting in arm’s reach” of her. The document describes both alleged victims as “offended or alarmed by the act of exposure.”

Both of the victims were tutors at A&M, a person with knowledge of the case said.

The university has yet to comment publicly on the development.  Merritt, the Chronicle notes, has been participating in A&M’s spring practice.

Merritt had announced last June that he would be transferring from Oregon because of what he described as unspecified “family situations back home” in Louisiana.  The next month, the receiver announced he would be transferring to A&M.

To satisfy NCAA transfer rules, Merritt sat out the 2016 season.  Counting this season, he has three years of eligibility remaining.

A four-star 2015 recruit, Merritt was rated as the No. 7 player at any position in the state of Louisiana. Playing in 12 games as a true freshman, Merritt caught five passes for 61 yards. He added another 13 yards on three carries.