Texas A&M quarterback Kyler Murray (1) tries to elude Arizona State linebacker Salamo Fiso (58) in the second half of an NCAA college football game on Saturday, Sept. 5, 2015, in Houston. (AP Photo/George Bridges)
George Bridges
September 11, 2015

COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP) Kyle Allen had an up-and-down game in No. 16 Texas A&M's season-opening win over Arizona State last week.

Along with bouncing back from some inconsistency, he also had to handle coach Kevin Sumlin inserting Kyler Murray in at quarterback for a few drives after he'd beaten the freshman for the starting job. Allen responded well after his time on the bench, accounting for two scores in the fourth quarter and impressing coaches with his poise along the way.

Allen will start again this week when Texas A&M hosts Ball State, but Sumlin hasn't ruled out Murray seeing some work again.

''I was very pleased with how Kyle handled it and the maturity that he had throughout that whole process,'' offensive coordinator Jake Spavital said. ''Because that could go two different ways.''

Allen said that Spavital talked with him when Murray entered the game, reminding him that he'd have another chance.

''(He said): `Don't go over and pout,''' Allen said. ''So it was just keeping focused, keeping my mind right because I knew I was going to go back in.''

Allen is only 19, but enrolled at A&M when he was 17 and started the last five games in 2014 after Kenny Hill was benched. That experience was important to him in handling everything that happened in the opener.

''I'm a much more confident player this year than I was last year and I understand that I can do stuff with my feet in the SEC and in college football now,'' Allen said.

Murray has drawn comparisons to 2012 Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel for his size and scrambling ability after leading his high school to a 43-0 record and three straight state titles. Sumlin thought he showed promise in his debut and said that the experience will be important as the season progresses. He joked about how hard he was breathing when he came out after his first series.

''I looked over at him and started smiling,'' Sumlin said. ''He said: `I can't breathe and those guys out there are fast.' First time it hit him (that) maybe he's not the fastest guy on the field all the time.''

It will be the first meeting between these teams and the Aggies look to improve to 16-0 in non-conference games under Sumlin. Some things to know about the Ball State-Texas A&M game:


Saturday will be the first game since Kyle Field underwent a $485 million redevelopment. The project has increased the capacity of the stadium to 102,733, which leaves it as the biggest stadium in the Southeastern Conference and the fourth largest in the country.


The Cardinals are led by running back Darian Green, who does many different things for Ball State. He tied a school record in Ball State's win over VMI last week by scoring four touchdowns, including three rushing and one receiving. ''Darian brought a lot of diversity to the offense,'' Ball State coach Pete Lembo said. ''He practices hard. He practices with detail. We need him to continue to do good things for us.''


Texas A&M's defense was known as the Wrecking Crew in the 1990s for its ability to take over games. The unit hasn't been nearly as feared in recent years, but hopes to change that under new defensive coordinator John Chavis, who came to A&M from LSU in the offseason. The Aggies showcased a suffocating pass rush against Arizona State, when they piled up nine sacks. It was their most sacks since 10 against Texas Tech in 1995. The defense is led by defensive ends Daeshon Hall and Myles Garrett, who accounted for six of the team's sacks.


Freshman Christian Kirk starred in his debut against the Sun Devils. He had 106 yards receiving with a touchdown to become the first freshman in school history to reach 100 yards receiving in his debut. He also had a 79-yard punt return for a score. Sumlin was impressed by his performance and maturity in the opener and is looking for him to build on it this week.

''Let's see what he can do for an encore,'' Sumlin said.

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