No. 6 Texas A&M gets chance to really prove itself
DALLAS (AP) — Kenny Hill and sixth-ranked Texas A&M have started with the highest-scoring four-game stretch in school history.
The Aggies are 4-0 for the first time since 2006, winning each game by at least 24 points.
Now, the Aggies get a chance to really prove themselves, knowing there are still plenty of people not convinced by what Texas A&M has done already in the season after Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Johnny Manziel left early for the NFL.
“Everybody’s talking about how we haven’t played anybody yet, so now we’re going to start playing some SEC teams and we’ll get to show how good we are,” Hill said after the Aggies’ 58-6 win at overmatched SMU on Saturday. “We’re just going to keep playing the way we have been and prove to everybody that we can play.”
Texas A&M returns to North Texas next Saturday, playing Arkansas (3-1) about 25 miles west in Arlington, Texas, at the Dallas Cowboys’ NFL stadium where the national championship game for the first four-team College Football Playoff will be played in January.
“We’ll know a lot more about us next week,” coach Kevin Sumlin said. “We’ll see next week. Big-time atmosphere.”
After the Razorbacks, Texas A&M plays consecutive Saturdays against No. 14 Mississippi State, No. 10 Ole Miss and No. 3 Alabama — all SEC West teams still undefeated.
The Aggies opened this season with a 52-28 win at then-No. 9 South Carolina in Hill’s starting debut, a Thursday night game before most other teams had even played, but their other wins are against Lamar and 0-3 teams Rice and SMU. The Gamecocks have won their three games since, including against then-No. 6 Georgia.
Arkansas has outscored Nicholls State, Texas Tech and Northern Illinois by a combined 174-49 margin its last three games. The Aggies have won their last three games 169-19 and are scoring 55.3 points a game overall this year.
“We accomplished some things, but we’ve still got to improve,” Sumlin said. “We just got out and try to win. The more you win, the more things build every week. More important each game becomes.”
Against SMU, playing its home opener and first game since coach June Jones resigned Sept. 8, the Aggies piled up 633 total yards and scored on 10 of their 12 possessions.
After Hill’s first interception at Texas A&M, on his 150th career attempt, the Aggies scored five consecutive touchdowns. Trey Williams ran for two scores and Jeremy Tabuyo turned two short passes into touchdowns of 30 and 50 yards while becoming the ninth different receiver to get into the end zone.
The Aggies defense had eight sacks — one short of their total the first three games — and didn’t allow a first down until midway through the second quarter when it was already 31-0.
“It really started with the defense. The defense came out and played lights out,” said Hill, who completed 16 of 22 passes for 265 yards with two touchdowns.
Hill, who has thrown for 1,359 yards and 13 TDs this season, also turned a busted play into a Manziel-like run of 58 yards when he broke two tackles to set up another touchdown.
“Yeah, I don’t like doing that, but I can,” Hill said of that big run before addressing his overall play. “I think I’ve come along all right. I’ve had moments when I haven’t done too well, but I’ve had moments when I’ve done great. I think I just need to be more consistent.”