Freshman Isaiah Spiller made sure there was no drop-off Saturday night in No. 16 Texas A&M’s first game without Jashaun Corbin.
Spiller ran for 116 yards and two touchdowns as he took over as A&M’s featured back in the first game since Corbin sustained a season-ending hamstring injury and the Aggies cruised to a 62-3 victory over Lamar. Spiller had touchdown runs for 1 and 34 yards.
Though Spiller has only played three games, coach Jimbo Fisher has already seen enormous growth.
“There’s a lot put on him and the expectations for what he’s doing,” he said. “He’s having to fill some big shoes for us and what we lost and the way things are going. He’s a very smart, talented young man and he’s doing a really good job. Very mature for his age.”
Quarterback Kellen Mond helped the Aggies to the lopsided win by throwing for 317 yards with a touchdown pass and a run in three quarters. He was 20 of 28 with an interception.
“I wish we didn’t have a turnover, you never want those but for the most part I saw what I wanted to see,” Fisher said.
The Aggies (2-1) led 27-0 at halftime but Mond tried to throw in between two defenders on his first drive of the third quarter and was intercepted by Cameron Hayes. But the Cardinals couldn’t get anything going on offense and had to punt.
Mond found Jhamon Ausbon, who had 109 yards receiving, for a 26-yard catch to get the next drive going and Spiller capped it with a 34-yard run to make it 34-0 midway through the third.
Lamar got on the board with a 32-yard field goal soon after that, but Mond orchestrated a 92-yard drive capped by a 10-yard TD pass to Ausbon on A&M’s next drive to make it 41-3 and wrap up his night.
The Cardinals (2-1), an FCS team in the Southland Conference, were thoroughly overmatched in this one and were outgained 633 to 197 despite most of A&M’s starters sitting down after three quarters. Dual-threat quarterback Jordan Hoy managed just 75 yards passing and six yards rushing.
“I thought they played hard from the first snap of the ball to the last,” Lamar coach Mike Schultz said. “I liked the effort I saw and we made some improvements in areas. Some people may say that is hard to see but we had one turnover and very few penalties. We took some steps and cleaned some things up.”
The Aggies started a bit slow in this one and had to settle for a 21-yard field goal on their first drive after they had a first down at the 3 and couldn’t punch it in.
Things didn’t start out great on defense either as Clifford Chattman got a penalty for roughing the punter to give the Cardinals a new set of downs. They weren’t able to move the ball after that and had to punt again four plays later.
Texas A&M marched down the field on the ensuing drive and capped it with a 2-yard touchdown run by Jacob Kibodi to make it 10-0 with about 3 1/2 minutes left in the first.
Ausbon dropped a would-be touchdown on third-and-5 on the next drive and the Aggies added a 31-yard field goal to lead 13-0 entering the second quarter.
Ausbon couldn’t appreciate his big night because of his miscue.
“I’m actually mad because I dropped that ball … I want to make sure I don’t have any more drops this season,” Ausbon said.
Lamar put together a nice drive after that but came away empty when Bobby Brown blocked a 22-yard field goal attempt early in the second quarter.
Spiller had a 1-yard touchdown run in the second quarter and Mond added a score on a 12-yard run later in the period to leave A&M up 27-0 at halftime.
Freshman Zach Calzada took over for Mond on the last play of the third quarter and threw for 68 yards and two touchdowns.
Though the Aggies easily rolled by the Cardinals, they’ll need to clean some things up — namely red-zone execution — if they hope to succeed in Southeastern Conference play starting next week.
Texas A&M should maintain its spot in the poll after handling a lesser opponent.
TOUCHDOWNS FOR EVERYBODY
The Aggies had seven different players score a touchdown on Saturday night. After Mond, Spiller, Ausbon and Kibodi got Texas A&M up big, three other players got in on the scoring late. Freshman tight end Jalen Wydermyer had 25-yard touchdown reception on the last play of the third quarter, fellow freshman Ainias Smith had a 13-yard scoring grab midway through the fourth and Cordarrian Richardson wrapped up the scoring with a 13-yard run with about two minutes left.
THEY SAID IT
Fisher on if he thinks his team is ready for the start of Southeastern Conference play next week: “I don’t know if they are but they better be. There’s a lot of good ones coming.”
Lamar: Open Southland play at Southeastern Louisiana next Saturday night.
Texas A&M: Hosts No. 8 Auburn in its SEC opener next Saturday.
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