Lamar-Texas A&M Preview
One gathered a bit more national attention.
And a tongue-in-cheek, undesired nickname.
Kenny Hill will now be expected to keep pace with those gaudy numbers when the ninth-ranked Aggies welcome the FCS Cardinals to College Station on Saturday night.
Hill was dubbed Kenny Football after passing for a school-record 511 yards in Texas A&M's 52-28 win at then-No. 9 South Carolina last Thursday. He was named SEC co-offensive player of the week for the breakout effort, his first start following the high-profile A&M career of 2012 Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel.
"We were ready to prove everyone wrong," said Hill, who isn't particularly fond of the nickname and is taking on a more reserved image approach than his predecessor. "We were ready to show we could play without Johnny."
The Aggies (1-0) did that and more, shooting up from No. 21 in the AP poll after the sophomore's 44-for-60 effort with three touchdown passes.
The TD passes were distributed to Josh Reynolds (six catches for 76 yards), Ricky Seals-Jones (five catches, 67 yards) and Edward Pope (four catches, 75 yards), while Speedy Noil also pulled in five catches for 55 yards.
"I thought the kids went out there and had some fun," offensive coordinator Jake Spavital said. "And they're a fun group of kids to watch."
It all totaled 680 yards of total offense, the most ever surrendered by South Carolina, which entered with the nation's longest home winning streak of 18 games.
While the resounding win vaulted his team onto the national radar, coach Kevin Sumlin said it'll take plenty more for the Aggies to sustain success in an SEC West stacked with Auburn, Alabama and LSU. With Lamar, Rice and SMU filling the schedule before returning to SEC play on Sept. 27 against Arkansas, there should be plenty of time to prepare.
"We're not where we want to be, but I'll put it this way: We're not going anywhere anytime soon," Sumlin said.
More massive numbers could be on the way as the Aggies try for their 17th straight win against unranked or non-FBS opponents. The previous 16 have produced 51.1 points per game and an average winning margin of four touchdowns.
Lamar (1-0) also got a strong performance out of its quarterback in last Saturday's 42-27 win over Grambling State. Senior Caleb Berry went 27 of 45 for 389 yards and five TDs with two interceptions, earning Southland Conference offensive player of the week honors, and set the school record for touchdown passes (43).
Four of them came in a 28-point third quarter that saw the Cardinals overcome some first-half offensive stalls.
"The first half was very frustrating because we left so many points on the field, but we went into the locker room and talked about what they were trying to do," coach Ray Woodard told the school's official website. "... We're happy to get the win but there are some things we have to get corrected."
That might have to wait a week.
Lamar lost 59-3 to then-No. 12 Oklahoma State last season in its only clash with a ranked FBS school since the football program was restarted in 2010. Berry was held to 18-for-38 passing and a season-low 114 yards.