COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Texas AM quarterback Nick Starkel will return to the starting lineup next week when the Aggies host New Mexico.
Aggies coach Kevin Sumlin said Saturday following the team’s 42-27 loss to Auburn that the redshirt freshman quarterback has done enough to “earn back his spot” as the starter, which has been manned by true freshman Kellen Mond the past eight games.
Starkel, who started the Aggies’ season-opening loss at UCLA, suffered an ankle injury in that game that caused him to miss the next five contests. He returned to action in relief on Oct. 28 vs. Mississippi State. On Saturday, he entered in the second quarter after the Aggies punted on four of their first five drives behind Mond. Starkel immediately led the Aggies on a touchdown drive and finished the game 11-for-22 passing for 184 yards and two touchdowns.
“He was our starter to start the year,” Sumlin said Saturday. “It wasn’t any indecision in the last couple weeks. It was all on him being healthy, what he can do and how he can do it. Obviously, today, he played pretty good, all things considered. He took pretty good care of the football.
“Moving forward, I think he’s earned back his spot, and we’ll go down the road like that.”
Mond has had ups and downs as the starter but played well overall given his youth, with the team going 5-2 in games he started. He threw for 216 yards and ran for 109 in a September overtime win over Arkansas and held his own against Alabama in a 27-19 loss, the closest anyone has played the Crimson Tide to this point. Mond has thrown for 1,297 yards, seven touchdowns and six interceptions with a 50.4 percent completion rate. He has rushed for 347 yards and three touchdowns.
Florida), the Aggies felt more comfortable playing him.
“He was available a couple weeks ago. He was available in an emergency situation,” Sumlin said. “As the weeks have gone by, he practiced more. Obviously, he has healed a lot more. So we felt better with him playing.”
Said Sumlin regarding Mond: “Kellen has won a lot of games for this team. It doesn’t matter who you are, you earn your spot. The way things were going today, based on decision-making on the field, we made a change.
“Three weeks ago … everybody talked about how much Kellen was progressing. One game does not a career make. He had earned the starting spot over the last four weeks by winning at Florida, by winning games and doing things he needed to do … I just felt like, the way things were going in the football game, it was time to give somebody else a chance. And I think Nick took advantage of that today.”