Dec 27, 2019; Houston, Texas, USA; Texas A&M Aggies quarterback Kellen Mond (11) throws away a pass before being tackled by Oklahoma State Cowboys linebacker Amen Ogbongbemiga (11) in the third quarter at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

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No. 10 Texas A&M escapes with tight win over Vanderbilt

No. 10 Texas A&M was sluggish much of the night, but did just enough to knock off Vanderbilt, 17-12 at Kyle Field in College Station, Texas, on Saturday night.

The Aggies, 30.5-point favorites, committed eight penalties, lost three fumbles and allowed the Commodores — who held the ball for 33:59 — to control the tempo.

Two long runs by Texas A&M running back Isaiah Spiller (eight carries, 117 yards) may have been the difference, both setting up second-half scores.

The Aggies got two huge fourth-quarter stops — one on defensive back Leon O’Neal’s interception and another on defensive lineman Micheal Clemons’ sack of Vanderbilt quarterback Ken Seals.

Spiller’s 30-yard run on the last play of the third quarter led to a 24-yard field goal by kicker Seth Small with 14 minutes left for the game’s final points.

Spiller dashed 58 yards on the first play from scrimmage in the second half. Two plays later, Aggies quarterback Kellen Mond escaped pressure and hit tight end Caleb Chapman for a 17-yard score for a 14-5 lead after Small’s point-after.

Seals, a true freshman and a native Texan playing three hours from his hometown of Weatherford, was intercepted at the Aggie 7 by safety Demani Richardson in the third quarter.

But Vandy safety Dashaun Jerkins forced a Mond fumble that cornerback Jaylen Mahoney landed on at the A&M 43. Nine plays later, Seals found receiver Amir Abdur-Rahman with a 7-yard TD strike, a Pierson Cooke point-after pulled Vandy within two.

Cooke’s 33-yard field goal 6:02 into the night accounted for Vandy’s only lead.

A&M running back Ainias Smith took a pitch from Mond and scampered 25 yards for a score later in the quarter.

The Aggies then gave Vandy a gift safety. Smith brought the ball out of the end zone on a punt and defensive back Brian George blocked a Commodore in the back.

Vanderbilt played without inside linebacker Dimitri Moore, its leading tackler from a year ago who was an unexpected scratch.

–Field Level Media

Field Level Media
Sport Writer & Editor
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