Mond, Small lead Texas A&M to 26-23 win vs. Game­cocks

Texarkana Gazette - - SPORTS - By Pete Iacobelli

CO­LUM­BIA, S.C.—Kellen Mond threw for 353 yards and fresh­man Seth Small had four field goals, in­clud­ing the go-ahead kick in the fourth quar­ter, to lift No. 22 Texas A&M to a 26-23 vic­tory over South Carolina on Sat­ur­day.

The Ag­gies (5-2, 3-1 South­east­ern Con­fer­ence) won their third straight this sea­son and moved to 5-0 against the Game­cocks (3-3, 2-3) since join­ing the league in 2012.

Mond also had a 4-yard touch­down pass to Jace Stern­berger in the sec­ond quar­ter and, when Small hit a 32-yard field goal on the Ag­gies’ first drive of the sec­ond half to go up 16-0, it looked like more than enough to put away the Game­cocks, who man­aged just 102 yards of of­fense the first 30 min­utes.

That’s when Jake Bent­ley, re­turn­ing af­ter miss­ing last week’s win over Mis­souri with a knee in­jury, led a pair of third-quar­ter TD drives—and the two-point conversions both times.

Bent­ley had a 22-yard scor­ing pass to Shi Smith to start the come­back, then hit Chavis Dawkins for a 33-yard touch­down throw off a flea flicker.

Bryan Ed­wards caught both two-point tries, stretch­ing sec­ond across the line be­fore fall­ing out of bounds to tie the game.

Texas A&M re­sponded with the win­ning drive next time out,

mov­ing 45 yards to set Small up for a 39-yard field goal with 9:16 left.

The Ag­gies sealed things with Trayveon Wil­liam’s 3-yard scor­ing run with 1:36 left.

South Carolina got a fi­nal TD pass from Bent­ley to Sa­muel with 48 sec­onds to go, but could not ex­e­cute an on­side kick at­tempt. Texas A&M ran out the clock.

Mond got the Ag­gies go­ing when he found his big tight end Stern­berger. The 6-foot-4, 250-pound ju­nior had a 53-yard re­cep­tion where he dragged safety Steven Mon­tac (some 65 pounds lighter) about 25 yards in­side the South Carolina 10.

Small opened Texas A&M’s scor­ing with a 52-yard field goal, the fresh­man ty­ing his ca­reer long kick.

South Carolina strug­gled with Bent­ley back be­hind cen­ter in the open­ing half. The ju­nior, talked about at times this sea­son as an NFL prospect, was 6 of 17 pass­ing the first 30 min­utes for 46 yards. He had an aw­ful in­ter­cep­tion in the end zone to kill off the Game­cocks best scor­ing chance of the half.

Mond was 25 of 37 pass­ing. His 353 yards was the sec­ond most of his ca­reer af­ter throw­ing for 430 yards in a 28-26 loss to No. 4 Clem­son last month.

AP Photo/ Sean Ray­ford

■ Texas A&M quar­ter­back Kellen Mond (11) runs with the ball against South Carolina de­fen­sive line­man Brad John­son (19) dur­ing the first half Sat­ur­day in Co­lum­bia, S.C.

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