OK State's Gundy Praises 2019 Texas A&M Roster
COLLEGE STATION, Texas - One look at Texas A&M's schedule could help fans understand the team's season outcome. Playing in a competitive conference that will feature three schools play in New Year Six bowls already is a challenge for anyone.
Setting a new record in the NCAA adds to the fire.
The Aggies became the first team since 1975 to face the AP's preseason top 3 rosters in the same season. With the emergence of LSU, A&M would become the first team in NCAA to take on the No.1 team three times in a single season (Clemson Week 2, Alabama Week 7).
With a final game close to home, the Aggies (7-5, 4-4 SEC) will return to NRG Stadium to represent the SEC in the Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl. Facing a former foe in Oklahoma State, Cowboys coach Mike Gundy refuses to look at the Aggies' season as a "loss season" due to their schedule.
“I think they are the best 7-5 team in the history of the NCAA in my opinion,” Gundy said Sunday evening during his teleconference call. “They have lost to number. 1; they have lost to number one; they have lost to number one; they lost to number four; and they lost to number 12. That’s their five losses. They are definitely a top 20 team.”
Gundy, who has coached Oklahoma State for the past 15 seasons, spoke highly of the Aggies season as a whole. A combined 14 points decided two of their five losses. Slow starts from A&M's offense allowed both Georgia and Auburn to take convincing leads, forcing the Aggies to rebound too late.
A&M produced glimpses of a promising future in Aggieland thanks to their young talent. Freshman running back Isaiah Spiller rushed for 869 yards and nine touchdowns, placing him 9th in the conference with yards on the ground. Meanwhile, tight end Jalen Wydermyer led the team with six touchdowns on 31 catches, leading all freshmen at the position in scores.
"I mean, we had a very tough schedule but you are what your record is and we've got to find a way to win those games" A&M coach Jimbo Fisher said. "But I do think we have a good football team and I appreciate Mike saying that, but at the same time we have to win those and get over those."
The Aggies and Cowboys will feature one of the more promising games in the trenches. The Aggies defensive line led the team to a top 30 ranking in run defense under the direction of Mike Elko. Their test is far from over as the team will face the NCAA leading rusher in Chuba Hubbard out in Houston to close out the season.
“He’s a complete back,” Fisher said of Hubbard Sunday evening. “He will be a huge challenge for our defense.”
For now, both teams will focus on the present rather than the past. As each side will have something to play for, A&M can take Gundy's compliment as a grain of salt. They still know their job is far from over before the close of the decade.
The Aggies and Cowboys will kick off on Friday, December 27 at 5:45 p.m. in Houston. The game will be nationally televised on ESPN.