Texas A&M returned to Kyle Field on Saturday for the first spring game since 2013, and the offense came out on top, beating the defense 42-38.
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Knight outperforms Hubenak: Heading into Saturday’s contest, the 12th man was curious to see which of A&M’s pair of starting-caliber QBs would fare better: Trevor Knight, an Oklahoma graduate transfer with one year of eligibility, or Jake Hubenak, the Aggies’ third-stringer last season.
Clearly, Knight was the better of the two.
Knight completed 25 of 36 passes for 282 yards, two touchdowns and an interception, and added a two-yard rushing touchdown in the first quarter. Hubenak, meanwhile, connected on just 5 of 10 attempts for 36 yards.
This doesn’t necessarily mean Knight came close to locking down the No. 1 QB job. Hubenak played under the weather, which resulted in an early exit. Additionally, Hubenak fired two long, accurate passes in the first quarter, but one was dropped, and one was ruled a sack.
Offense impresses: Texas A&M’s offense had a lot of encouraging moments. Perhaps the most exciting play of the evening came midway through the second quarter, when wide receiver Christian Kirk threw a 36-yard touchdown pass to Speedy Noil on a trick play.
Noil finished with three catches for 60 yards — a team-high. Tight end Boone Niederhofer had a good outing, as well, catching two passes for 21 yards and two touchdowns. Niederhofer composed a unique celebration following his second score, punting the football into the stands and drawing a penalty because of it.
At running back, Kwame Etwi led the way with 77 rushing yards and a touchdown on 11 carries.
The Maroon (offense) and White (defense) teams went into intermission tied at 28, which reflected how even the two sides looked. The first-team defense created a lot of pressure — especially defensive end Myles Garrett, who recorded an early sack.
Junior quarterback Conner McQueen saw a lot of action in the final 20 minutes and threw a 16-yard touchdown pass to Damion Ratley. The defense corralled a fumble after knocking the ball loose from Etwi to give it three turnovers on the day, but the offense prevailed 42-38.
Knight has created some momentum for himself after shining in his first scrimmage with the Aggies. He has plenty of experience as a graduate senior, but there’s no way to replicate on-field action with a new team. He proved that he has a solid grasp of offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone’s playbook and appears to be a strong scheme fit.
Hubenak, despite the errors out of his control and poor health, has some ground to make up this summer. It’ll be interesting to see how he responds.