Aggies look to take step forward against Louisiana-Lafayette
HOUSTON (AP) The Texas A&M Aggies know they still have a lot of work to do after rebounding from their stunning loss to UCLA with a win over Nicholls State last week.
A week after squandering a 34-point, third-quarter lead to the Bruins in their opener, some criticized the Aggies (1-1) for beating Nicholls State - an FCS school which plays in the Southland Conference - by only 10 points. The Aggies brushed off the notion that it was a bad win since the score wasn't more lopsided.
''It wasn't pretty, but in my opinion a win is a win,'' linebacker Cullen Gillaspia said.
Coach Kevin Sumlin agreed and said he believes some of his young players who contributed for the first time last weekend will get a boost from being a part of their first win.
''People can say what they want but there's never been a great loss (and) winning's winning,'' he said. ''Moving on from that there's some confidence out of that with some guys that are playing that they needed. Moving forward I think it's going to help us down the road.''
Up next for the Aggies is a home game Saturday against Louisiana-Lafayette (1-1), their final tuneup before opening Southeastern Conference play on Sept. 23 against Arkansas.
''Are we the team we want to be right now? Not yet,'' Sumlin said. ''Were there things that we improved on? Yes. Do we have to get better? Yes.''
Some things to know about the Louisiana-Lafayette-Texas A&M game:
Texas A&M true freshman Kellen Mond got his first start at quarterback last week after Week 1 starter Nick Starkel broke his ankle in the opener. Jake Hubenak took over early in the third quarter and finished the game. Mond threw for 105 yards and a touchdown and Hubenak added 93 yards passing. Sumlin said only that both will play on Saturday.
''Our plan's not going to change. I think both guys ... need to be developed and continue to develop and the only way to do that is practice them both and play them both,'' he said.
AGAINST THE SEC
The Ragin' Cajuns are 1-63 all-time against teams that are currently in the SEC. Their lone win was against the Aggies when they were members of the Big 12 Conference. Jake Delhomme and Brandon Stokley starred in the 29-22 victory that came on Sept. 14, 1996, when the Aggies were ranked 25th. They haven't had much success against the Aggies in five other meetings and have been outscored 148-14 in their last three trips to College Station.
BUSSEY'S BREAKOUT GAME
Texas A&M running back Kendall Bussey had a breakout game against Nicholls State. He finished with 97 yards rushing after running for just 172 yards all of last season. His 2-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter put Texas A&M on top and he had nine carries on the next drive to help eat up the clock and secure the win. Bussey is third on the depth chart behind Trayveon Williams and Keith Ford. He said he's been helped by working with them in practice.
''We push each other every day,'' he said.
Louisiana-Lafayette piled up 596 yards in a 66-42 to loss to Tulsa last week. That was the program's third-most yards in seven seasons under coach Mark Hudspeth and their most since gaining 620 yards against Nicholls State in 2013.
Although Sumlin said the entire team needs to improve, he was especially hard on the offensive line after the group allowed four sacks last week. He shuffled the lineup from Week 1 to Week 2 and said he'll continue to look for different combinations until things improve.
''Things start up front,'' he said. ''We weren't very good up front offensively and that affected our style of play.''
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