COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP) - Kellen Mond threw for three touchdowns and ran for another to help Texas A&M end a two-game skid with a 38-24 win over Mississippi on Saturday.
Mond threw TDs of 21, 10 and 5 yards and his touchdown run was a 1-yard scamper in the first quarter.
After being outscored 28-0 in the fourth quarter of consecutive losses to Auburn and Mississippi State, Texas A&M (6-4, 4-3 SEC) scored its first fourth-quarter points since Oct. 13 when Seth Smalls made it 24-21 with a 46-yard field goal early in the period.
Luke Logan missed a 22-yard field goal with just more than seven minutes left. Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher called a timeout just before the kick, which sailed wide right.
The Aggies pushed the lead to 10 points when Mond found Quartney Davis on a 5-yard touchdown pass with about five minutes left.
Ole Miss (5-5, 1-5) got within a touchdown when Logan made a 24-yard field goal with about two minutes remaining.
An onside kick was called by Ole Miss after that, but A&M recovered it and Williams ran 46 yards for a touchdown on the next play to put the game out of reach.
Jordan Ta'amu threw for 373 yards and a touchdown for the Rebels, who lost their third straight game and have won just one conference game. A.J. Brown had 127 yards receiving and DaMarkus Lodge added 122 yards receiving with a touchdown.
Williams had 31 carries for 228 yards in his second 200-yard game this season to give him 1,159 this season.
Five straight runs by Williams to start the second half gave the Aggies a first down at the 4-yard line. But Willie Hibbler knocked the ball out of Mond's hands on the next play and Zedrick Woods scooped it up and rumbled 96 yards for a touchdown to make it 21-14.
Mond was intercepted by Ken Webster on Texas A&M's next drive, but the Rebels couldn't move the ball and punted it back.
The Aggies finally put together a clean drive after that, driving 72 yards in nine plays capped by a 10-yard touchdown reception by Davis to tie it at 21-21.
The Aggies took a 7-0 lead late in the first quarter when Mond scored on a 1-yard touchdown run.
Ole Miss tied it up on the first play of the second quarter when Ta'amu connected with Lodge on a 44-yard TD pass.
The Rebels took a 14-7 lead when Ta'amu scored on a 1-yard run later in the second. That drive was highlighted by a 39-yard reception by Brown and a 12-yard catch by Lodge that got Ole Miss to the 1.
Lodge made a nifty 51-yard reception, where he crashed to the ground while holding onto the ball with just one hand, with less than five minutes left in the second quarter. But Ta'amu fumbled two plays later and it was recovered by Kingsley Keke, to give the Aggies one more possession before halftime.
Texas A&M took advantage of the miscue when Camron Buckley scored on a 21-yard reception that left it tied at 14-all at halftime. Jhamon Ausbon was the star of that drive, grabbing three receptions for 50 yards.
Mississippi: With just two games left the Rebels will have to figure out a way to win a conference game if they hope to become bowl eligible.
Texas A&M: The Aggies moved the ball well at times, but Mond will need to take better care of the ball after committing four turnovers in the last two weeks for Texas A&M to finish the season strong.
Mississippi: The Rebels visit Vanderbilt next Saturday.
Texas A&M: The Aggies host UAB next Saturday night in the second of three straight home games to wrap up the regular season.
ABOUT THE GAME ---
· With the 38-24 win against Ole Miss, Texas A&M improves to 6-4 overall and 4-3 in SEC play.
· Texas A&M won consecutive SEC home games for the first time since 2013 (Oct. 26 vs. Vanderbilt & Nov. 9 vs. Mississippi State).
· The Aggies became eligible for their 10th consecutive bowl game, which is tied for the 11th-longest active streak in the FBS (fourth-longest among SEC schools) and longest active streak among 11 FBS schools located in Texas.
RARE AIR FOR WILLIAMS ---
· Junior RB Trayveon Williams eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark in season rushing yards today, becoming the fifth Aggie to reach the magical milestone twice in his career. Williams joins an elite club featuring Cyrus Gray (who was on the sidelines today), Greg Hill (whose daughter, Jordan, helped the Aggie soccer team to an NCAA first-round win last night), Darren Lewis (Texas A&M’s all-time leading rusher) and George Woodard (who was inducted into the Texas A&M Athletics Hall of Fame earlier this fall).
· Williams ended the game with 1,159 rushing yards on the season. The tally ranks eighth on Texas A&M’s single-season list.
· Williams became the sixth Aggie to reach the 3,000-yard mark in career rushing yards. His ended the game with 3,014 yards, tied with Rodney Thomas (1991-94) for fifth place on Texas A&M’s career list. He passed Christine Michael (2,791 – 2009-12), Dante Hall (2,818 – 1996-99), Bubba Bean (2,846 – 1972-75) and George Woodard (2,911 – 1975-79) in Saturday’s contest.
· Williams finished the day with 228 yards on 31 carries as he enjoyed his sixth 100-yard rushing game of the season (11th of his career). The 228 yards was just 12 shy of his career-best 240 against Northwestern State in the 2018 season opener.
· Williams recorded his fourth career 200-yard rushing game. It ties him with Darren Lewis (1987-90) for the school record.
· Williams also joined Darren Lewis as the only Aggies record two 200-yard rushing games in a season.
· Williams toted the ball a career-high 31 times. His previous best was 29 this season against Arkansas.
· Williams ended the day with 3,834 all-purpose yards for his career to move into seventh place on Texas A&M’s all-time list. He passed Rod Harris (3,635 – 1985-88) and Larry Stegent (3,780 – 1967-69) in Saturday’s action.
RETURN TO ACTION FOR AUSBON ---
· Sophomore WR Jhamon Ausbon returned from a four-game injury absence to lead the Aggie receivers with five catches for 66 yards. Ausbon suffered a foot injury vs. Arkansas on Sept. 29.
MOND SHINES WITH FOUR TOUCHDOWNS ---
· Sophomore QB Kellen Mond accounted for four touchdowns – three passing scores and one via rush – to help lead the Aggies to a 38-24 home win over Ole Miss. Mond connected on 19 of 28 passes for 236 yards.
· Mond’s tied a career-high with his four TDs responsible for, matching the mark he set against Louisiana in the third game of 2017.
· Mond’s three TD passes matched his career high first established against Louisiana in 2017 and equaled vs. Clemson in the second game of 2018.
STERNBERGER KEEPS CLIMING ---
· Junior TE Jace Sternberger ended the game with four receptions with 76 yards – pushing his season numbers to 38 receptions for 644 yards.
· His 644 receiving yards ranks third on Texas A&M’s single-season list for tight ends, trailing only Rod Bernstine (710 – 1986) and Greg Porter (669 – 2002).
· The Aggies dominated the time of possession to the tune of 37:01-22:59. Texas A&M has owned the TOP edge in all 10 games this season and this marks the fifth time they have held a TOP advantage greater than 10 minutes.
· Texas A&M racked up 502 yards of total offense, marking the fourth time they hit the 500-yard mark in 2018.
· The Aggies posted 200-plus yards both rushing and receiving for the second consecutive game and the fifth time in 2018.
· Freshman PLK Seth Small hit 46-yard go-ahead FG with 14:11 remaining in the fourth quarter. He improves to 14-of-20 on the season on field goals, which trails only Kyle Bryant (17 – 1994) for made field goals by an Aggie freshman.
· Senior LB Otaro Alaka registered a team-high 11 tackles, two TFL, one sack and one QB hurry. His tackle total came up one shy of his career-high 12 against Florida in 2017.
· Junior P Braden Mann uncorked a 63-yard punt, for the 13th 60+ punt of 2018. He matches Wake Forest’s Ryan Plackemeier NCAA record for punts of 60-or-more yards in a season.
· The Aggie defense held Ole Miss to 1-of-11 (9.1%) on third down conversions. Texas A&M entered the game ranked first in the SEC and fifth in FBS in third-down conversions, holding opposing teams to just 28-of-102 (27.5%).
· The Aggie defense held Ole Miss to 67 rushing yards on 30 attempts (2.2 ypc). Texas A&M entered the game holding opposing offense to 81.4 rushing yards per game, which was best in the SEC and second in the FBS behind Michigan State (71.7).
GAME CAPTAINS, 12thMAN ---
· Texas A&M’s game captains for the Ole Miss game were junior LB Tyrel Dodson, senior SAF Donovan Wilson, junior RB Trayveon Williams and junior C Erik McCoy. Ole Miss won the toss and chose to receive the opening kickoff.
· Senior RB Cullen Gillaspia was the Aggies’ 12th Man for the 36th straight game.
· The F-35A Lightning II flyover for today’s game by the 388th Fighter Wing based out of Hill Air Force Base in Utah featured 2005 football letterman Jay “Fast” Doerfler.
Jimbo Fisher, Texas A&M Head Coach
“It’s good to be home. It’s good to be back in front of 102,000 people who cheer for you. It was great to be back with the 12th Man and I thought that was a big part of the game. Ole Miss is a very good football team. We knew that going in. We knew they were very explosive on offense and our defense did a really good job for the most part today. They got a little run there at the end and for the offense to be able to take it 80 yards and score and tie that game up was a very critical point in the game. Then to come back out and have an unbelievable drive to get right back down and run the football and then fumble it and they go score. I tell my kids all the time it is not about winning or losing, it is about every time you compete you find out something about yourself. They kept their poise and executed. When you get down in the red zones what they were doing were putting extra guys in the box where you could not block. After two drives when you fumble and make a pick, how are you going to come back? Trayveon was huge in the game and he ran the ball really well. Our offensive line started taking control of the game as it went on. It was great to see Ausbon back out there again. His stability in that group really helps us. It allows us to move some other guys in different spots and move some things. Our defense I thought was outstanding and we got some big sacks at the end. We had some tough times two weeks in a row so we had to get that done and our guys did a great job and very proud of them. I thought it was a very high character, high quality win.”
On the conversation with Kellen after turnovers…
“First, I want to find out what happened and what he saw so we can fix that. And his mindset, what were you thinking? As a coach, you try to prevent things. A guy’s thought process going into something is almost more vital than what they see. If you think one way, that tells you how or where you are looking and will make you create a problem. That is even more important than what you see when it actually happens. So when he was very careful with what happened and what was going on. At least I knew what I was the same thing that happened.”
On the defense recovering a fumble...
“That was a huge one. They’d go up 21-7 right there. We hadn’t seen any on the ground so we didn’t know what they look like. Being able to convert it and drive right before half and get the touchdown was huge.”
On closing out the game...
“We didn’t let up. We kept playing defensively. To go out on offense and take that score down and go up by 10 was huge. That is another step in our learning process and our curve; how to play with a dominant mentality.”
On Trayveon Williams rushing for 228 yards...
“Our offensive line did a great job controlling the line of scrimmage in the second half and did a much better job protecting Kellen. His ability to run in space and find green grass was great. He’s having a heck of a year and is playing good. He’s a rock we can lean on week in and week out. Great leader too.”
On the importance of Jhamon Ausbon’s performance...
“He’s been there so many times. All the other guys are playing great. Ausbon is the leader. Having him there is like having a security blanket in my opinion. He has done it at a high level. He makes everybody feel better. It takes pressure off those guys as far as what their role is. A lot of them were having to absorb as they were playing. It is just a responsibility they can back off of, that Ausbon can pick up on and it makes you play better.”
On statement win…
“I think it was huge for their development on how to deal with adversity and fight through situations. You can’t dwell on it, you have to look to the future and go.”
Texas A&M Junior P Braden Mann
On only having to punt once in the second half…
“It was great. Not punting at all would be ideal. They held it to one. I was pretty pumped about that. Obviously we came out and played a lot better offensively in the second half, which is huge for us. The more I stay off the field, the better our team is doing, except kickoffs.”
On tying the NCAA record for 60-yard punts in a season and what it means to him...
“I really didn’t know it was a record. I didn’t know they keep track of 60-yard punts in a season. I wasn’t really worried about it at all. I think it goes to show how good my coverage team is and my protection team because I have had hardly any pressure this season. I’ve been able to be really comfortable. That’s huge for the guys up front and my shield. They’re doing a really good job. I can’t credit them enough.”
Texas A&M Sophomore WR Jhamon Ausbon
On being back from injury and the victory...
“It’s a blessing to be back. Being out, you realize how much you love the game and how much you miss out. It’s amazing to get out there and play in front of the 12th Man. It’s a great experience that you don’t want to take for granted. I realized that from being out for 4 weeks.”
On the way Kellen Mond responded to turnovers...
“That doesn’t phase him or anyone on the offense. We have confidence in him. He’s so confident, it’s kind of hard to knock him off his game. If he gets knocked off, we’re right behind him to pick him up.”
Texas A&M Sophomore QB Kellen Mond
On the conversation with Jimbo when discussing mistakes…
“He’s always going to be mad. He wants me to understand why I made the mistakes so it doesn’t happen again. The conversation that we had was encouragement and telling me to move on. I’m an even keel person so even if I do get rattled, Coach Fisher, Sean Maguire, and my teammates are going to help lift me up.”
On scoring 17 points in the fourth quarter today...
“That was really our main focus. Going into that locker room, instead of focusing on winning, we wanted to dominate. That’s something that we’ve been emphasizing this entire week. We’ve been consistent in practice which is going to translate into the game. That’s just small details that Coach Fisher emphasizes. I think we did that really well today.”
On Trayveon Williams performance...
“Definitely phenomenal. Not only running the ball and getting over 200 yards, but definitely picking up a lot of blocks. When you have a back like that who can do both, it’s beneficial for the entire offense.”
Texas A&M Junior TE Jace Sternberger
On being in Aggieland, getting a win, and Kellen Mond’s performance...
“Any time you get to be back home is always great. I don’t want to be cliché but we have the best fans in the nation. The atmosphere they bring is so refreshing. Kellen has been like that all year; he knows we have his back. To finally see him get rewarded was refreshing and I was very proud of him.”
On mood with having wide receiver Jhamon Ausbon back...
“When he went down in Arkansas, we took a hit. Other players had to step up, which we all did. The fact that he’s back re-opens everything for everyone; you can’t really specialize on one receiver or a tight end. It really affects everybody’s game.”
On Trayveon Williams...
“I don’t really have to do a lot of explaining. His talent speaks for itself. We expect that from him every game. The way we practice and the way we push each other, I can’t act surprised.”
Texas A&M Junior RB Trayveon Williams
On what becoming the sixth player in school history to reach 3,000 rushing yards means to him...
“It’s a tremendous opportunity. First off, being able to play for this tremendous university. Not only playing on the field but having the opportunity to earn a degree from this prestigious university. It’s a great opportunity to go out there and play with my brothers. The offensive line had an outstanding day today. Cullen Gillaspia, someone we didn’t see in the headline, had a great day. He opened a lot of holes for me. We’re excited to be back in Kyle Field.”
On avoiding the November slump...
“Without a doubt, it all started with practice. We made our mind up that we weren’t going to let the late November slump happen. We played together as brothers, offense and defense. We played off of each other. Defense had a stop and we went out and capitalized on offense. We played together as brothers and we’re trying to make change happen. Build foundation for this program.”
On having Jhamon Ausbon back...
“We were excited as an offense. He’s a big time game changer. He’s a guy who can go out there, make consistent catches and move the ball down the field. We’re glad to have him back. He went out there and had a great day. It’s unfortunate that we didn't have him due to an injury but he made his presence known today.”
Texas A&M Senior LB Otaro Alaka
On defensive effort...
“We focused all week on finishing. We just wanted to come in focused on finishing the game and not worrying about anything else outside of what happens on our defense. We focused on dominating the next play.”
On finishing drives when Ole Miss was in the red zone...
“Any time that you can hold the offense to field goals instead of touchdowns in the red zone, that’s huge. The 12th Man played a huge part in it. The fans were really loud. Of course, they packed the stadium again, so a real shout out to them.”
On his game plan for today...
“We always try to get them in that third down, third and long to hopefully bring the rush. The game plan was to shut down their run game and force them to pass more. I think as a defense we did a really good job stopping the rush and we made plays as we needed to.”
Ole Miss Head Coach Matt Luke
“It was a disappointing loss, I felt like defense really played their guts out in the first half and gave us an opportunity to win. Credit Texas A&M, they came in the 2nd half, especially the 3rd quarter and they were able to hold on to the ball. We couldn’t get to a rhythm offensively, give those guys credit, they made the plays that we didn’t.”
On what was going wrong on 3rd down…
“I think staying of third and longs was obviously very critical, but that was a huge part of the game, especially for them early on the first drive they converted a couple third downs and went down there and scored. Then in the second half we were just a little bit out of sync.”
On if there is a ceiling to how long the defense can play at a high level …
“They’re playing hard and they giving all they got, I think did wear down some, especially in the fourth quarter. I think the third quarter they were on the field pretty much the whole quarter. We did a great job getting the turnover for a touchdown, and then they came back out and went on two pretty long drives. Offensively we got find a way to stay on the field to help those guys out and get them off the field.
On Missing Scottie’s presence…
“It definitely hurt some, it was tough, lose your running back early in the game. We had a big turnover in the red zone and had a chance to put us up ten right there, that was big in the first half. In the 3rd quarter there wasn’t many possessions, but then to have that first down overturned, just every first down was critical and that was just a huge play in the game.”
On if A&M became more committed to the run in the second half...
“It looked like they just went to their bigger personnel, they brought in a fullback and a tight end, just some bigger personnel, they were effective “