Texas A&M takes down UL Monroe
COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- In his first year at Texas A&M, one of the things coach Jimbo Fisher has enjoyed most is watching sophomore quarterback Kellen Mond grow and develop from week to week.
"It's just fun to watch him," Fisher said. "The questions he asks, the thoughts he has and ... he's really fun right now and he's learning."
Mond had another big game on Saturday night, running for two touchdowns and throwing for a third to give Texas A&M a 48-10 win over Louisiana-Monroe.
Fisher raved about how Mond is growing not only physically but also mentally.
"He understands the game," Fisher said. "He's learning the whys of the game. He's doing a really nice job right now, playing really good football. Playing smart football, that's what has me excited."
Mond had a 7-yard scoring run in the second quarter and the Aggies returned a blocked field-goal attempt for a touchdown to build a 24-10 halftime lead.
Mond scrambled nine yards and hopped into the end zone untouched for his second score midway through the third quarter to extend the lead to 21 points. He connected with Jace Sternberger on a 20-yard touchdown pass that made it 41-10 with about eight minutes left.
Trayveon Williams had 128 yards rushing and Texas A&M (2-1) bounced back after losing to No. 2 Clemson 28-26 last week.
"We took a next step forward, and got a little better in some areas," Fisher said. "But we've got to continue to grow."
Mond, who threw for a career-high 430 yards last week, finished with 210 yards passing and 67 yards rushing.
Caleb Evans threw for 225 yards with a touchdown and an interception for Louisiana-Monroe (2-1).
"We just really didn't do enough offensively," Louisiana-Monroe coach Matt Viator said. "Defensively, I thought we hung in there, but we just kept giving them the ball back soon or later."
Though his team finished with just five penalties for 55 yards, Fisher was said that's an area the Aggies need to clean up.
"We can't have those penalties against the people that we're getting ready to play," he said. "They were critical penalties. Any penalty is too many. We've got to get that fixed."
The Aggies took a 7-0 lead on a 2-yard touchdown run by Williams on their first possession. He had five carries for 49 yards to power the drive.
Louisiana-Monroe added a field goal before Mond's first touchdown, where he pulled two defenders with him into the end zone, pushed the lead to 14-3 early in the second quarter.
ULM used a 44-yard reception by Marcus Green to move deep into Texas A&M territory but the Warhawks came away empty-handed when Daylon Mack blocked a field-goal attempt and Tyrel Dodson returned it 78 yards for a touchdown which pushed the lead to 24-3. Mack's block sent it right into Dodson's hands and he was able to dash down the field untouched.
Evans then orchestrated another long drive for Louisiana-Monroe which featured a 34-yard completion. The Warhawks got within 24-10 at halftime when he capped that drive with a 2-yard TD pass to R.J. Turner with four seconds left in the second quarter.
Louisiana-Monroe: Evans moved the ball well at times, but had trouble finishing drives and the Warhawks will need him to be more consistent as conference play begins next week.
Texas A&M: The Aggies looked good for the most part on Saturday night, but will have to eliminate penalties and other mental errors if they hope to compete with No. 1 Alabama next week.
DOING IT ALL
Mond's teammates were not only impressed with the way he ran and threw the ball on Saturday night. They were wowed by the fact that the quarterback even had a few blocks to help others get some extra yards.
"It just shows what kind of confidence he has and what kind of heart he has," receiver Jhamon Ausbon said. "That's just an example of how confident and strong he is."
PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT?
Dodson broke into a big smile when he was asked what he thought when the ball dropped directly into his hands on the blocked field goal attempt.
"We practice that every day in practice and it's never come to me like that in practice," he said chuckling.
Texas A&M kicker Daniel LaCamera missed Saturday's game and Fisher said after the game that he'll be out for a while because of a "crack to his foot." Freshman Seth Small did well filling in, making field goals of 36 and 40 yards and hitting all six extra-point attempts.
Texas A&M: The Aggies play their Southeastern Conference opener when they visit the Crimson Tide next Saturday.