Kellen Mond

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Tua Tagovailoa sets Alabama all-time pass TD record as No. 1 Crimson Tide handles No. 24 Texas A&M

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Any thought about No. 25 Texas A&M (3-3, 1-2 SEC) scoring a big upset at home against No. 1 Alabama (6-0, 3-0 SEC) was quickly washed away by another dominant effort by the best team in the country. Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa threw four touchdowns and rushed for one more in a record-setting day for the Heisman Trophy hopeful as Alabama left Kyle Field in College Station with a 47-28 victory.

Tagovailoa became Alabama’s all-time touchdown pass leader with his first touchdown pass of the day, a 31-yard pass to Jaylen Waddle on Alabama’s first offensive series of the game. That touchdown tied the game, and Tagovailoa’s second touchdown gave Alabama the lead for good. The Crimson Tide never trailed after going up 14-7 and the closest Texas A&M would get the rest fo the game was on the ensuing possession. The Aggies cut the lead to 14-10 with a field goal, and the Crimson Tide scored the next 33 of 43 points to run away with the game.

Next up on Tagovailoa’s list of accomplishments at Alabama? All-time passing yards.

In the box score, Texas A&M actually hung with Alabama in terms of overall offensive yardage, but Tagovailoa had a batch of receivers to help him have a much more efficiently productive output compared to Texas A&M’s Kellen Mond. Devonta Smith, Henry Ruggs III, and Najee Harris all caught touchdown passes for Alabama, in addition to the previously mentioned Waddle. Jalen Wydermyer was the only Aggie to catch a touchdown pass (he actually caught two in the game). Devonta Smith was tossed from the game late in the fourth quarter for throwing a punch at a Texas A&M player at the end of the play. No penalty was assessed to Texas A&M despite Smith’s punch being in retaliation to a punch thrown at him. Expect the SEC office to review that situation.

Harris also rushed for over 100 yards for the Tide. Mond was the leading rusher for Texas A&M. It was another reminder of just how much talent and skill Alabama has accumulated over years of recruiting and a reminder of where Texas A&M hopes to be one day under head coach Jimbo Fisher.

Alabama head coach Nick Saban remains undefeated against his former assistants. Saban improved to 18-0 all-time against head coaches that previously worked on his staff. Fisher is now 0-3 against Saban, including one matchup while Fisher was the head coach at Florida State. Fisher has now lost to Alabama in his first two games as head coach of the Aggies. Since Johnny Manziel stunned the Crimson Tide in the first meeting as SEC West opponents in 2012, the Aggies have lost to the Crimson Tide in seven straight meetings.

Alabama will return home next weekend to face traditional rival Tennessee. The Vols picked up a win in SEC play with a victory over Mississippi State earlier in the day but will be a heavy underdog in Tuscaloosa next week. Alabama has won 12 straight games in the series dating back to 2007. This should be the seventh time in that span Alabama will be the top-ranked team in the matchup, and the 12th time in 13 games Tennessee will not be ranked in the top 25.

Texas A&M, now 1-2 in SEC play with losses at home to Auburn and Alabama, will get a chance to regroup in the next couple of weeks. First up is a road game at Ole Miss next Saturday. The Aggies have won the last two meetings with the Rebels, including last season’s 38-24 victory in Oxford.

Three touchdowns from Tua Tagovailoa have Alabama leading Texas A&M 24-13

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There was no doubt Texas A&M was fired up for their home game against top-ranked Alabama, but an early touchdown by the Aggies was not nearly enough to knock Alabama off its game. Alabama leads the Aggies 24-13 at halftime in Kyle Field.

Kellen Mond punched the ball in from the one-yard line at the end of a 15-play drive to start the game, giving Texas A&M and their fans an early adrenaline run, but it was short-lived. Alabama then did what they do best and that meant making key plays with their superior talent advantage. Alabama was thriving on third-down plays in the first half too.

Alabama’s first three touchdowns of the game all came on third-and-long situations. Jaylen Waddle scored on a 31-yard pass from Tua Tagovailoa on 3rd & 7 to the tie game at 7-7. Devonta Smith scored on a  47-yard pass on 3rd & 10 on Alabama’s next drive. Najee Harris did the honors on a 16-yard pass from Tagovailoa on a 3rd & 7 on Alabama’s third possession, putting Alabama up 24-10.

Tagovailoa did make a mistake late in the half with an interception in the endzone (by Demani Richardson). It was the first interception thrown this season by Tagovailoa (after 26 touchdown passes had been thrown).

Alabama receiver Jaylen Waddle headed to the locker room shortly before halftime. There was no update on his status.

No. 20 Texas A&M blows 10-point lead in fourth quarter as Auburn stuns Aggies

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No. 20 Texas A&M was not able to close out Auburn on the road on Saturday afternoon. The Aggies failed to protect a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter and lost to Auburn, 28-24, on the road in the SEC West Division matchup.

Texas A&M had some chances to slam the door on Auburn but could not do it. With a 24-14 lead in the fourth quarter, Texas A&M missed a field goal from 36 yards and Kellen Mond was intercepted on Texas A&M’s next offensive series. That set in motion the rally for Auburn that turned a double-digit deficit into a big division win for the Tigers.

After Auburn cut the Texas A&M lead to 24-21 in the fourth quarter, the Aggies moved the ball to midfield when their drive stalled. A 41-yard punt was returned by Christian Tutt for 28 yards and immediately followed by a short pass from Jarrett Stidham to Ryan Davis that turned into a 47-yard gain. With the ball suddenly at the Texas A&M 11-yard line, Stidham connected with Seth Williams for a go-ahead score.

With the ball one last time, the Aggies failed to get into a position to get a better shot at a game-winning touchdown and relied on Mond to toss it deep in the final seconds. His deep Hail Marry pass fell out of bounds as time seemingly ran out, but officials cleared the field to put one second back on the clock for one more play for the Aggies. The one second added merely gave Nick Coe a chance to get a sack on the final play of the game to seal the win for Auburn.

Stidham passed for 239 yards while completing 18-of-29 attempts with two touchdowns. Darious Slayton was Auburn’s leading receiver with eight catches for 107 yards, but Seth Williams led all players with two touchdown receptions in the Auburn win.

Texas A&M let a solid performance by running back Trayveon Williams go to waste. Williams rushed for 107 yards and two touchdowns on 17 rushing attempts and he added five receptions for 74 yards and a score in the game. Williams was the star of the first half but Auburn played him better defensively in the second half.

Texas A&M will finish up the regular season with three home games beginning next week against Ole Miss. The Aggies are 3-1 at home this season, with the only loss coming back in Week 2 against Clemson by just two points. If Texas A&M can clean up the schedule at home, the Aggies will have a chance at their first 9-win season since 2013, the school’s second season in the SEC. The Aggies need to win out and win a bowl game in order for that to happen.

Although the win feels good and can be a confidence boost, it won’t get much easier for Auburn down the stretch. Auburn travels to Georgia next week and ends the regular season on the road against Alabama with a home game against Liberty sandwiched between. Auburn beat both Georgia and Alabama in the regular season last year, but they also got the Bulldogs and Crimson Tide at home. This year could be a different story with both games being played on the road.

Trayveon Williams scores two touchdowns to give Texas A&M halftime lead at Auburn

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If you are not already familiar with Texas A&M running back Trayveon Williams, perhaps he has grabbed your attention this afternoon. Williams has rushed for 88 yards and a touchdown and added a 14-yard touchdown reception off a screen pass to push the Aggies to a halftime lead at Auburn, 17-14. With both teams jockeying for position in the SEC West standings and for the opportunity to clinch bowl eligibility, Auburn’s defense will have to find a way to clamp down on Williams in the second half.

Texas A&M picked up a field goal off the leg of Seth Small from 35 yards on their first offensive series of the game, capping a 13-play drive that was fueled by running the ball but ultimately stalled when attempting to throw the ball. A fumble by Kellen Mond on the next offensive series for the Aggies gave Auburn a short field to work with from the Texas A&M 20-yard line.

Sal Cannella gave Auburn a 7-3 lead by hauliong in a 20-yard pass from receiver Ryan Davis immediately following the A&M fumble, but Texas A&M responded with a Trayveon Williams touchdown run of 38 yards on the ensuing possession.

Texas A&M headed to halftime with an advantage in offensive yards, 233-127, and the Aggies have been averaging 6.8 rushing yards per attempt while Auburn is struggling with just 1.5 yards per rushing attempt. This one is still upfor grabs, but the Auburn offense needs to find a spark to counter what Williams has been capable of providing for Texas A&M.

Florida, Texas A&M settle on starting QBs

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The first true Monday of the college football season is a busy one for starting quarterback announcements. The news continues to flood in with decisions made by a pair of new SEC coaches. At Florida, Dan Mullen has tabbed Feleipe Franks as his starting quarterback this weekend, while Jimbo Fisher has named Kellen Mond as Texas A&M’s starter for this weekend.

Franks was a likely favorite to win the starting nod in Gainesville after playing 11 games for the Gators last season and passing for 1,438 yards and nine touchdowns. Some inconsistency issues and eight interceptions by Franks as a freshman held Florida back at times, but Franks seemed like the best fit for the beginning of the Mullen era of Gators football in 2018. Franks also started eight games for Florida last season, giving him a bit of a leg up on the competition.

Franks won a close competition against redshirt sophomore Kyle Trask and freshman Emory Jones, according to a release from Florida on Monday. It might not be a shock if all three find some playing time this weekend as Florida opens up the 2018 season at home against FCS opponent Charleston Southern.

At Texas A&M, Mond ended up winning a battle with Nick Starkel for the starting job in Week 1, reversing the outcome of the close quarterback competition a year ago under former head coach Kevin Sumlin. Both players are now sophomores and had fairly even stats in 2017, although Starkel was a little more efficient and productive in the stat sheet with nearly 400 more passing yards and six more touchdowns in 22 fewer pass attempts (and the same number of interceptions thrown, but in three fewer games) than Mond.

Both Mond and Starkel are expected to play in the season opener for Texas A&M against FCS opponent Northwestern State. The big test will come the following week, when Texas A&M hosts ACC favorite Clemson. In fact, the quarterbacks who end that game for both teams may be more interesting to see than who starts that Week 2 matchup. Clemson named Kelly Bryant as its starting quarterback on Monday as well.