Malcome Kennedy

Texas A&M pulls away from WVU as SEC goes 2-0 in bowls

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The SEC continued to own the upper hand this postseason, while the Big 12 suffered a loss in its bowl debut this season. Texas A&M (8-5) quarterback Kyle Allen threw four touchdowns and rushed for one to help the Aggies pulled away and held off West Virginia (7-6) in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl in Memphis, Tennessee on Monday afternoon. Texas A&M celebrated a 45-37 victory.

The Liberty Bowl had just about everything but defense. It even included one Texas A&M student assistant being left in the locker room for the second half after throwing an elbow and a punch at two different West Virginia players in the first half. The game was a back-and-forth affair in the first half, but it was Texas A&M that came out and took control in the second half. The Aggies outscored West Virginia 17-3 in the third quarter to turn what was a one-point lead into a 15-point advantage entering the fourth quarter. Trey Williams had an 18-yard touchdown run midway through the third quarter to pad the lead for the Aggies and Allen tossed his fourth touchdown of the game into the hands of Malcome Kennedy 22 seconds before the end of the third quarter for a 45-30 lead.

By this point in the game the West Virginia offense had become frustrated and unable to keep the pressure on. The difference in the game may have been the production inside the red zone. West Virginia was forced to settle for a pair of field goals on its two red zone trips in the game. Meanwhile, Texas A&M scored four touchdowns inside the West Virginia 20-yard line.

West Virginia quarterback Skyler Howard showed some good promise in the first half, but he was off the mark in the second half on his way to completing 19 of 42 passes for 342 yards and two touchdowns. Kevin White was the big target for the Mountaineers, leading the way with 129 receiving yards and a touchdown in the losing effort.

The SEC is now 2-0 this bowl season, which got started with South Carolina’s victory over Miami in the Independence Bowl on Saturday. The SEC owns wins against the ACC and Big 12 right out of the gate. Arkansas will take on Texas Monday night in the Texas Bowl.

Texas will hope to pick up the first win for the Big 12 this bowl season, which would even the record after West Virginia took the loss in the first bowl game involving the Big 12.

Chippy AutoZone Liberty Bowl sees Kyle Allen’s 4 TDs give Texas A&M halftime lead

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Texas A&M quarterback Kyle Allen has thrown for three touchdowns and rushed for one more to help the Aggies hold a 28-27 lead on West Virginia at halftime of the AutoZone Liberty Bowl in Memphis, Tennessee. The two teams have already combined for over 500 yards of offense and things should not be expected to slow down in the second half.

Texas A&M struck first with a 44-yard touchdown pass from  Allen to Josh Reynolds on the second possession of the game for the Aggies. West Virginia seemed to take firm control of the game in the span of about three minutes with a 17-point flurry that included a field goal, a Mario Alford touchdown catch from Skyler Howard and a 35-yard interception return for a touchdown by KJ Dillon in the middle of the first quarter. But this game is not one where a team can let up on the gas pedal. West Virginia saw the 17-7 lead last for only a few minutes before A&M answered with a long touchdown pass from Allen to Trey Williams, a 40-yard strike.

Texas A&M regained the lead early in the second quarter with Allen’s third touchdown pass of the half, this time a much more pedestrian 11-yard hook-up with Malcome Kennedy for a 21-20 lead. Unfortunately for the Aggies, the defense gave it right back when West Virginia needed just two plays to jump back in front. Howard completed a 49-yard touchdown pass to Kevin White for a 27-21 lead.

The game has been chippy at times, with Texas A&M players getting their licks on West Virginia’s quarterback. The Aggies have also been penalized six times for 82 yards. There have also been some cheap shots, like this one…

It turns out the same coach did this earlier as well…

Texas A&M Howard Matthews was ejected from the game midway through the first quarter of the game after being called for targeting on West Virginia receiver. Matthews was Texas A&M’s leading tackler this season with 82 tackles, so the ejection is without a doubt a significant blow to the Aggies on defense.

Looks like A&M WR Kennedy will be ready to roll for Tide game

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As Texas A&M looks to snap its two-game losing streak, all signs are pointing to the Aggies having a significant piece of its offensive puzzle back on the playing field.

Described as the heart of A&M’s immensely talented receiving corps, Malcome Kennedy has been sidelined the last two games after separating his shoulder in the win over Arkansas Sept. 27.  Coincidentally or not, both of the games the wide receiver missed, at Mississippi State and at home against Ole Miss, ended up with the Aggies on the wrong end of the scoreboard.

With a trip to Tuscaloosa looming this Saturday, head coach Kevin Sumlin said Tuesday that it looks like Kennedy “will be ready to go” for the Alabama game.  Sumlin said Kennedy “got close to playing Saturday [in the loss to Ole Miss]” and the player “wanted to play and probably could have played.”

However, the coaching and medical staffs deemed it too risky and held him out again.

Despite missing two complete games and a portion of a third, Kennedy is still second on the team in receptions (33) and is third in receiving yards (378).  As a junior last season, Kennedy was second on the team in catches as well.

Arkansas trips up, allows Texas A&M to rally for overtime win

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It was the first play of the fourth quarter, Jonathan Williams laid two yards from the goal line, and No. 6 Texas A&M was cooked. Arkansas was on the brink of taking a 35-14 lead, an edge the Aggies’ offense did not look capable of overcoming. But Arkansas offensive lineman Dan Skipper was hit with a personal foul call for tripping, and nothing about this game was the same.

Arkansas punted, and two plays later Kenny Hill found Edward Pope for an 86-yard catch-and-run touchdown. Instead of the scoreboard reading 35-14, it was 28-21.

After a three-and-out, Arkansas intercepted Hill with 8:34 to go, putting the Hogs in prime position to allow their ground-and-pound offense to salt the game away. One rush and two passes later, Arkansas punted for the third time in the quarter. After forcing a Texas A&M punt, Arkansas again appeared in position to win the game with a 1st-and-10 at the Aggies’ 31 with two-and-a-half minutes remaining, but quarterback Brandon Allen dropped the snap, putting the Hogs a 2nd-and-12 situation it could not overcome. John Henson badly missed a 44-yard field goal try and, again, Hill found a receiver – this time Josh Reynolds – for a 59-yard touchdown.

Tie game.

After yet another three-and-out with two passes and one rush, Arkansas was suddenly in the unbelievable position of going from needing just one first down to win the game with 150 seconds to play, to giving Texas A&M the ball with a chance to tie and then notch the winning score in regulation.

The Hogs defense forced the game into overtime, but all they truly did was prolong the inevitable. Hill hit Malcome Kennedy for a touchdown pass on the first play of overtime, while Arkansas’ Alex Collins was stuffed on 4th-and-2 on the corresponding possession. On the same end of the field where it seemingly had a 35-14 lead in hand, Arkansas made its final mistake in a 35-28 loss.

The story of the game was the Texas A&M defense adjusting to the Arkansas ground game, or the Arkansas running attack stalling out in the second half for the second time this season. (Arkansas rushed for 151 yards in the first half of its 45-21 loss to Auburn on opening weekend, and two in the second half.) After having its way with the Aggies’ defense in the first half with 143 rushing yards on 21 carries (6.81 yards per carry) – and that’s not counting Sam Irwin-Hill’s 51-yard fake punt touchdown – Arkansas ran 25 times for 92 yards in the second half (3.68 yards per carry). Allen could not carry the Arkansas offense after Arkansas’ offense slowed down, hitting 11 of his final 23 for 134 yards and a 44-yard play-action touchdown to A.J. Derby that gave the Razorbacks their 14 point lead.

While Allen started fast and finished slow, his counterpart did the opposite. Hill exploited Arkansas’ cottage cheese secondary for 290 passing yards – and three touchdowns that accounted for 170 of those yards – in the second half.

Texas A&M, its 5-0 record and Top 10 ranking still intact, goes on the road next week for an undefeated showdown at No. 14 Mississippi State next week.

Arkansas, meanwhile, has an off week to ask itself how it lost this game. The Hogs had 14 sure points taken off the board, plus a turnover inside enemy territory, and a missed field goal, and a turnover on downs in overtime. This one will sting. And, coupled with Kentucky’s win over Vanderbilt today, Arkansas now has the ignominious distinction of holding the SEC’s longest conference losing streak at 14 games.

Manziel with 233 yards and 2 TDs as Aggies lead at half

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Texas A&M, in the final home game of the season, is holding off a feisty Mississippi State team at halftime. The Aggies lead Mississippi State 23-14.

Texas A&M built a 16-7 lead in the first quarter, with Johnny Manziel tossing a 12 yard touchdown pass to Malcome Kennedy midway through the quarter. Mississippi State struck right back though when Josh Robinson took the first play of the ensuing drive 51 yards to the house and a tie game.

The Aggies defense held strong on Mississippi State’s next offensive drive deep in their own territory and forced a punt. That punt was blocked by Sam Moeller and the ball went out-of-bounds for two points. Manziel later added another touchdown pass, this time to Travis Labhart for a 33-yard score.

Mississippi State looked to close the gap late in the first half when Dak Prescott completed a short touchdown pass to cap off a drive set up by good punt coverage and a Texas A&M penalty. Prescott’s three-yard pass to De’Runnya Wilson brought the Bulldogs to within two points in the final minute of the half, but Texas A&M took advantage of their final possession of the half by picking up another touchdown in a span of about 30 seconds.

Manziel has already thrown for 233 yards and three touchdowns and has been intercepted once. Manziel’s top target in the first half was Labhart, who recorded 76 receiving yards and two touchdowns on five receptions. Mike Evans has three catches for 30 yards so far.

It was a disappointing way for the first half to end for Mississippi State, and it could get worse. Texas A&M gets the football to open the second half.