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No. 11 Texas A&M beats Mississippi State 28-14

Associated Press logo Associated Press 10/17/2020 By R.J. MORGAN, Associated Press
Texas A&M quarterback Kellen Mond (11) hands off to running back Isaiah Spiller (28) during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Mississippi State in Starkville, Miss., Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis) © Provided by Associated Press Texas A&M quarterback Kellen Mond (11) hands off to running back Isaiah Spiller (28) during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Mississippi State in Starkville, Miss., Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

STARKVILLE, Miss. (AP) — Texas A&M controlled the line of scrimmage and the clock.

Isaiah Spiller ran for 114 yards and two touchdowns and Kellen Mond threw for two scores to help the No. 11 Aggies beat Mississippi State 28-14 on Saturday.

“When you’re on the road, you’ve got to be able to control clock, control tempo, and you’ve got to run the football to do that,” Aggies coach Jimbo Fisher said. “And we did at times today. The other part was running out the last five, six minutes of the game when we got the ball and we got down there and could have had a score. We didn’t, but eating that clock up and not giving it back, that was huge.”

Texas A&M quarterback Kellen Mond (11) passes against Mississippi State during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Mississippi State in Starkville, Miss., Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis) © Provided by Associated Press Texas A&M quarterback Kellen Mond (11) passes against Mississippi State during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Mississippi State in Starkville, Miss., Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

Texas A&M (3-1) led 14-0 at the half and had 325 yards of total offense in the game. Ainias Smith caught five passes for 20 yards and a touchdown. Chase Lane caught two passes, including a 51-yard touchdown reception in the opening minutes of the third quarter.

Mississippi State quarterback K.J. Costello (3) passes against Texas A&M during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Starkville, Miss., Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis) © Provided by Associated Press Mississippi State quarterback K.J. Costello (3) passes against Texas A&M during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Starkville, Miss., Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

Mississippi State (1-3) had little offensive rhythm for the third straight game. The Bulldogs’ first touchdown came on Emmanuel Forbes’ interception return in the third quarter.

“I thought we literally squandered the first half,” Bulldog coach Mike Leach said. “Right now we’re one team on Tuesday and Wednesday and another team on Saturday. We need to be able to transition that to the field. And if you think that’s frustrating for you, you should try it from my perspective.”

Texas A&M tight end Jalen Wydermyer (85) pulls in a short pass against Mississippi State during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Starkville, Miss., Saturday Oct. 17, 2020. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis) © Provided by Associated Press Texas A&M tight end Jalen Wydermyer (85) pulls in a short pass against Mississippi State during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Starkville, Miss., Saturday Oct. 17, 2020. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

Leach benched starting quarterback KJ Costello midway through the second half for freshman Will Rogers, same as he did last week in a 24-2 loss at Kentucky. Rogers connected with Malik Heath for a 15-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter.

Texas A&M linebacker Aaron Hansford (33) closes in to sack Mississippi State quarterback K.J. Costello (3) during the second quarter of an NCAA college football game in Starkville, Miss., Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis) © Provided by Associated Press Texas A&M linebacker Aaron Hansford (33) closes in to sack Mississippi State quarterback K.J. Costello (3) during the second quarter of an NCAA college football game in Starkville, Miss., Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

“Offensively, we were a bunch of pincushions out there,” Leach said. “And I think its mental on the part of our o-line, because we can block our own defensive line consistently in practice and A&M couldn’t even do that. So, it’s definitely mental.”


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Texas A&M’s defense continually disrupted the line of scrimmage, finishing with six sacks and eight tackles for loss. Mississippi State had minus-2 yards rushing and just 217 yards of total offense.

“Day 1 we believed in the game plan,” tackle Jayden Peevy said. “We saw Kentucky come with a three-man front. We watched a lot of film against these guys. We saw (Kentucky) get a victory so we planned on it all week.”

CONTROLLING THE CLOCK

Mississippi State quarterback K.J. Costello (3) is sacked by a Texas A&M defender during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Starkville, Miss., Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis) © Provided by Associated Press Mississippi State quarterback K.J. Costello (3) is sacked by a Texas A&M defender during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Starkville, Miss., Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

With just over 11 minutes left in the game, Heath’s touchdown put Mississippi State down just two scores. The Aggies went three-and-out on their next possession, but the Bulldogs couldn’t capitalize and Texas A&M ran out the final five minutes by pounding the ball on the ground with eight straight rushes by Smith.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

Texas A&M will look to move up in the Top 25 after the key Southeastern Conference road victory. The five teams immediately above the Aggies were all idle Saturday.

THE TAKEAWAY

The Aggies continue to put points on the board, scoring 28 or more points for the second straight week. Meanwhile, Leach’s maiden voyage in Starkville continues to take on water in a second straight home loss.

UP NEXT

Texas A&M is off next week before hosting Arkansas.

“Next week we have Arkansas,” offensive lineman Carson Green said. “They’re a hell of a team. That’s why people love watching the SEC. It can go either way every game. This year especially everybody is seeing that. A lot of unranked people are beating ranked people and switching the whole Top 25 all the time.”

Texas A&M defensive lineman DeMarvin Leal (8) sacks Mississippi State quarterback K.J. Costello (3) during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Starkville, Miss., Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis) © Provided by Associated Press Texas A&M defensive lineman DeMarvin Leal (8) sacks Mississippi State quarterback K.J. Costello (3) during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Starkville, Miss., Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

Mississippi State also is off before hosting Alabama.

An animal rights protester is dragged off the football field at Davis Wade Stadium by Mississippi Highway Patrol troopers during the first half of an NCAA college football game between Texas A&M and Mississippi State in Starkville, Miss., Saturday Oct. 17, 2020. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

An animal rights protester is dragged off the football field at Davis Wade Stadium by Mississippi Highway Patrol troopers during the first half of an NCAA college football game between Texas A&M and Mississippi State in Starkville, Miss., Saturday Oct. 17, 2020. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
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