One of the biggest quarterback battles to monitor around college football this month is at Texas A&M as Haynes King and Zach Calzada battle to replace departed record-setter Kellen Mond. The Aggies open the season at home on Sept. 4 against MAC school Kent State as 29.5-point favorites on the NCAA football odds.
NCAAF 2021 Quarterback Battle
Mond was a third-round pick in this year’s draft by the Minnesota Vikings. He finished his A&M career a program-best 3-0 record as a starting quarterback in bowl games in his career. He the program records for career passing TDs (71), passing yards (9,661), completions (801), attempts (1,358) and total offense (11,269). He tied Johnny Manziel’s all-time career record of 93 touchdowns responsible for, also good for 10th all-time in SEC history. Monday’s 11,269 total yards were seventh-best in SEC history, just ahead of Peyton Manning. His 9,661 career passing yards are 11th best in SEC history.
Thanks in large part to Monday, A&M finished last season 9-1 and ranked fourth in the nation – the Aggies’ only loss was 52-24 at eventual national champion Alabama. Some believed the Aggies should have been among the four teams in the College Football Playoffs, but they were left out in favor of Notre Dame.
Many are already looking to Oct. 9 when Texas A&M hosts the Crimson Tide in a game where the Aggies will attempt to snap an eight-game skid. Texas A&M’s only win against Alabama since joining the SEC came in Manziel’s spectacular 2012 season.
King played in two games last year but retained his freshman status. He made his collegiate debut at Alabama, throwing a 17-yard pass and leading the team with 43 rushing yards on five attempts late in the game. He hit Max Wright on a 45-yard crossing route for his first career touchdown in the win at South Carolina. King was a four-star recruit out of Texas.
Calzada, a sophomore, didn’t see the field at all last year. In 2019, he played in three games. Calzada went 4-for-9 with 38 passing yards in his collegiate debut against Texas State. He was 4-for-8 with two touchdown passes, including a 25-yard toss to the end zone against Lamar and went 4-for-7, throwing for 27 yards against UTSA.
Coach Jimbo Fisher has said that the reps were being split with the first unit between the two QBs and that he is happy with their performances although he did need them to clean up some mistakes.
Fisher also noted that “You don’t put don’t put limitations on a new guy. I won a national championship one year with a redshirt freshman. I don’t want to put limitations on him (Haynes King) and I don’t want to put limitations on a redshirt sophomore in Zach Calzada.”
Whoever wins the job will have a lot of talent at their disposal, including preseason All-Americans in tight end Jalen Wydermyer and running back Isaiah Spiller. Wydermyer, a junior, earned All-SEC Second Team honors and was a finalist for the John Mackey Award as a sophomore. The talented pass catcher owns A&M’s career record for touchdown catches by a tight end (12) and is on pace to claim the career mark for tight ends in receiving yards and receptions as a junior.
Spiller earned All-SEC honors and was one of 10 Doak Walker Award semifinalists last year. The junior finished the 2020 season third in the SEC in rushing at 103.6 yards per game, helping A&M boast the second-best rushing offense in the league. For his career, Spiller has racked up 1,982 yards and 19 touchdowns as he has averaged 5.5 yards per carry.
Fisher has this team in the right direction and is returning nine starters on the defensive side of the ball.
- King starts Week 1 vs. Kent State
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