OXFORD • Texas A&M’s pass-hungry quarterback Kellen Mond came to Ole Miss licking his chops.
He was counting on a Saturday night “all-the-you-can-eat” secondary buffet, but instead dropped his tray a few times against a stingy, pressuring Ole Miss defense.
The Ole Miss secondary Mond faced entered the game rated No. 14 in the SEC after four conference games. They had given up an average of 312.2 yards per game through the airways. They held Mond to 172 yards passing.
Ole Miss intercepted two passes – by end Austrian Robinson and linebacker Donta Evans – in the opening 30 minutes. Sophomore cornerback Keidron Smith tipped the pass, intended for Jalen Wydermeyer, to Evans.
“The defense played their guts out and gave us a chance to win it,” Ole Miss coach Matt Luke said. “We just came up short.”
Mond completed 6 of his first 11 passes for 66 yards in the first half, before taking A&M on a late 67-yard scoring drive to take a 10-7 halftime lead. He completed 5 of 6 passes in march, including the third-and-8 18-yard TD strike to Kendrick Rogers.
In the third quarter, Mond was just 2-of-4 passing for 17 yards. Of that total, 11 came on the final play of the quarter.
Mond, who entered the SEC West Division game ranked third in the league in passing yardage (1,597) and passing touchdowns (12), finished 16-of-28 passing against the Rebels.
Ole Miss also sacked Mond four times for minus 24 yards.
Making an impact
One bright spot the last two weeks in the Rebels’ secondary has been Smith. The 6-foot-2, 196-pounder from West Palm Beach, Florida, broke up three passes and did not allow a completion in six combined attempts by Vanderbilt (two) and Missouri (four).
Against A&M, he had the deflected pass that was intercepted and defended on an unsuccessful Mond-to-Jhamon Ausbon third-down, third-quarter pass attempt in the end zone.