COLLEGE STATION, Texas – After losing at top-ranked Clemson last week, No. 15 Texas A&M returns home to host an FCS opponent, Lamar of the Southland Conference, on Saturday night. And although the 24-10 loss to the No. 1 Tigers was no reason to celebrate for the Aggies, head coach Jimbo Fisher believes it could be a positive for his young team in the long run.
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"It's the first time since we've been here, we've gone against the No. 1 team in the country and people expect us to have one heck of a chance to win," Fisher said at his weekly media gathering. "And that's part of the learning curve of which we have to go through. I love that people had the expectations for us, (because) that means the growth in which we've shown (is real)." A&M still has four more games against top 10-ranked teams to prove itself including home contests against eighth-ranked Auburn and second-ranked Alabama as well as road dates with third-ranked Georgia and fourth-ranked LSU, who they defeated, 74-72, in seven overtimes last season. Lamar, which is receiving votes in this week's FCS Coaches' Poll, comes in off a 23-20 overtime win over Mississippi Valley State last week after opening the season with a 65-16 thumping of NAIA Bethel (Tenn.).
ABOUT LAMAR (2-0)
The Cardinals were picked to finish fifth in the Southland's preseason poll after making the school's first postseason appearance since 1964 last season, losing at Northern Iowa, 16-13, in the FCS playoffs. Senior quarterback Jordan Hoy, a transfer from Old Dominion, was the Southland's Newcomer of the Year last season and has rushed for 118 yards on 28 carries and scored five touchdowns while also passing for 459 yards and three more TDs so far this season. Senior defensive end Daniel Crosley has notched 10 solo tackles, including five for loss, and two sacks.
ABOUT TEXAS A&M (1-1)
Junior quarterback Kellen Mond, who passed for 236 yards and a touchdown at Clemson but also lost a fumble and was intercepted once, needs 88 passing yards to become the ninth Aggie QB to reach the 5,000-yard mark in career passing yards. Fisher announced Monday that the team's top running back, sophomore Jashaun Corbin, will miss the rest of the season after suffering a hamstring injury in the first half at Clemson and will likely be replaced by freshman Isaiah Spiller. Freshman safety Demani Richardson and sophomore defensive end Tyree Johnson led the Aggies with eight tackles apiece in the Clemson loss while senior nickel back Roney Elam has intercepted a pass in each of the first two games.
1. Texas A&M won the only previous meeting between the two schools, 73-3, in 2014.
2. The Aggies are 29-1 in their last 30 non-conference home games with the lone loss coming in 2018 to a Clemson team that went undefeated and won the national championship.
3. Lamar is 2-0 to start a season for the first time since 1985.
PREDICTION: Texas A&M 59, Lamar 10