For any young quarterback, having a quality supporting cast can help. Texas A&M's Zach Calzada had several teammates to thank on his way to a 34-0 victory over New Mexico.
Calzada and the No. 7 Aggies (3-0) were far from perfect at Kyle Field against the Lobos. The game started with 14 quick points and, after that, things felt comfortable.
Maybe too comfortable at times. SEC play begins Saturday against No. 20 Arkansas, and every game from here on out becomes a challenge.
“We just got a little relaxed,” running back Isaiah Spiller said. “That’s human nature, and we’ve got to fight that every day when we’re out there.”
If fans can take anything away from what A&M coach Jimbo Fisher called an "average football" outing, it's an even deeper set of playmakers in College Station. Ainias Smith, Jalen Wydermyer and Devon Achane aren't the only ones on offense that can make highlight plays and put up points.
Three names from the 2020 recruiting class all made an impact in the passing game.
Wide receiver Demond Demas has been itching for a chance to show off his vertical presence since arriving in the spring of 2020. Injuries have derailed him, but Fisher continued to praise the former five-star, saying his time would come.
It came Saturday on the first play of the second drive. Calzada found a wide-open Demas deep downfield for a 70-yard touchdown, giving the Aggies a 14-0 lead and the first touchdown of Demas' career.
"Demond is fast," Spiller said. "Nobody is really going to run with him. He can go up and catch it. I see a great player there."
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Moose Muhammad III, a riser up the depth chart in the slot this summer, saw extended time when Fisher elected to hold out Smith in the second half. Calzada's lone mistake came in the third quarter when he tried to force a throw Muhammad's way. It would be intercepted instead.
The next drive, the two had better results as they connected for a 7-yard touchdown to give A&M the 34-point lead. Although the throw was perfectly placed, the catch by Muhammad was even better.
Demas finished with two catches for 100 yards. Muhammad totaled three for 24 yards. Fellow wide receiver Devin Price recorded his first catch, a 7-yard reception that eventually helped the Aggies score.
So much for lacking "quality" pass-catchers.
Fisher said he hopes that Saturday was just the start of something special. This week, it was Demas and Muhammed making marquee plays. Maybe next week against the Razorbacks, it's Price and tight end Baylor Cupp?
As for rep counts, there isn't a set limit. The players who give A&M the best chance to win will see the field often — no matter the seniority or production of the past.
"The players are going to play," Fisher said. "It's about competition and performance. We'll get guys to play."
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