Two weeks ago, the Texas A&M Aggies were in position to nab a spot in the College Football Playoff after they were ranked fourth in the first installment of the rankings.
Now two straight losses to unranked teams and an injury to quarterback Trevor Knight have the 23rd-ranked Aggies (7-3) looking for a way to end the downward spiral when they host UTSA Saturday.
“No one in this building, from players, coaches, people around us, are happy about last two weeks,” coach Kevin Sumlin said. “No way you can be. Because those are two games we wanted to win and where we were headed and what was at stake were big games.”
This week, Texas A&M seems likely to get a shot of confidence it desperately needs to move on from losses to Mississippi State and Mississippi when the Aggies host the Roadrunners (5-5), who have only had a football program since 2011.
The Aggies host LSU on Thanksgiving to wrap up the regular season. Sumlin and his staff are trying to get the team back on track by stressing what winning the rest of the games could do for their season.
“When all is said and done, depending on what happens these last two games, it will say a lot about where this team is going to be,” Sumlin said. “Because of what happened in college football the last few weeks, with two games to go, winning those two games could put you in lot of different scenarios that are very positive for this program.”
The Aggies will look for Jake Hubenak to be more consistent after up and down play since taking over for Knight, who is out for the regular season with a shoulder injury. Hubenak came in for Knight in the first half against Mississippi State and made his second career start last week against Mississippi and threw an interception in both games.
UTSA coach Frank Wilson doesn’t love playing a non-conference game this late in the season, but he and his team are embracing the challenge of facing a Southeastern Conference opponent.
“In an ideal world, you like to be in conference because of the parity,” he said. “But the way the schedule is set it allows us to get up and really measure ourselves against one of the better teams in the country.”
Saturday will be a homecoming for UTSA’s top two receivers, Josh Stewart and Kerry Thomas, who both grew up in College Station. Stewart has 29 catches for 591 yards and four touchdowns and Thomas has 22 receptions for 303 yards and seven scores.
“Some guys are late bloomers,” Sumlin said. “Can’t get them all. Those guys will be excited to play here, to be basically back home to play at Kyle Field.”
Texas A&M RB Trayveon Williams needs 124 yards rushing to become the first true freshman in school history to rush for 1,000 yards. Williams had 17 carries for 72 yards last week and has six touchdowns this season.
The Roadrunners need to win one of their last two games to become bowl eligible for the first time in school history. UTSA won seven games in 2013 but the school was not eligible for a bowl because it was in its final year of reclassifying to the Football Bowl Subdivision.
Texas A&M’s Christian Kirk leads the nation with three punt returns for touchdowns this season. He is two shy of tying the NCAA record for punt returns in a season set by Chad Owens of Hawaii in 2004 and North Carolina’s Ryan Switzer in 2013. Kirk, a sophomore, has five punt return touchdowns in his career.
UT San Antonio at Texas A&M
11 a.m. Saturday, ESPNU