The Texas A&M Aggies scored 24 unanswered points to log a minor upset over the No. 25-ranked Oklahoma State Cowboys, 24-21, in the 2019 Texas Bowl at NRG Stadium on Friday.
Quarterback Kellen Mond’s 67-yard touchdown run on a well-executed option play put the Aggies ahead, 21-14, at the 10:45 mark of the fourth quarter in the SEC versus Big 12 matchup.
“He did a great job of stretching the option which allowed everybody to get their blocks just sorted out,” Texas A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher said of Mond. “And then he got inside and ran away from everybody and it was a big-time play and a big-time moment.”
“We had some good schemes, gave ourselves a chance, and we played good defense until we got beat up a little bit at the end of the game on the option play, on the read-zone option play,” Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy said. “We didn’t take the quarterback when we were supposed to, we made a mistake, and that cost us a long run.”
After a big defensive stop, Mond (13-for-19, 95 yards, one TD; 12 carries, 127 yards, one TD), who was named the game’s most valuable player, had another long run — this one for 30 yards — that helped set up Texas A&M’s game-sealing 24-yard field goal by Seth Small.
Oklahoma State scored one last TD — a 5-yard reception by Braydon Johnson (five receptions, 124 yards, two TDs) with 1:04 remaining in the game — on a late drive, but were unable to recover an ensuing onside kick try to get the ball back.
Dickinson alum Jalen Wydermyer’s lone 28-yard reception on a third-and-4 play near midfield sparked Texas A&M’s game-tying scoring drive on the Aggies’ first possession of the second half.
The big catch by Wydermyer, starting at tight end for Texas A&M as a true freshman, moved the Aggies to the Cowboys’ 26-yard line, and five plays later, Jhamon Ausbon’s 10-yard TD reception tied the game at 14-14 4:28 into the third quarter.
The Cowboys were hardly affected by poor starting field position on their first two scoring drives, which included a Texas Bowl record 97-yard march down field to go ahead 7-0 at the 7:47 mark of the first quarter. Johnson’s 42-yard touchdown catch ended the record drive.
Another big pass reception by Johnson — this one a 57-yard catch — helped set up a 9-yard TD run by quarterback Dru Brown (15-for-28, 184 yards, two TDs; nine carries, 28 yards, one TD) to cap an 82-yard drive for a 14-0 lead with 1:48 left to play in the first quarter.
Excellent starting field position midway through the second quarter helped get the Aggies on the scoreboard and cut their deficit to 14-7. A punt out of Oklahoma State’s end zone netted only 17 yards, and Texas A&M capitalized with a six-play, 22-yard scoring drive ending with a 1-yard plunge into the end zone by Isaiah Spiller (19 carries, 81 yards, one TD).
The short punt wasn’t the Cowboys’ only costly special teams blunder in the first half, as they missed a 53-yard field goal try on their first drive of the game and a 46-yard try near the end of the first half. Oklahoma State also was unable to do anything with two Aggie turnovers in the first half — all of this leaving Texas A&M within striking distance to start the second half.
Texas A&M finishes its season at 8-5, and are set to return 10 Texas Bowl starters on offense and all 11 on defense. Oklahoma State (8-5) graduates four of its offensive starters, but just one on defense.
The Aggies are set up for a promising 2020 campaign, as they do not face SEC powerhouses Alabama and LSU until their final two games of the season.