COLLEGE STATION — Treyveon Williams entered Saturday’s matchup against No. 13 Kentucky as the second-best running back in the SEC.
Consider the script, flipped.
The junior running back gained 200 yards of offense — including the game0winning 10-yard touchdown run in overtime — and out-shined Heisman hopefully Benny Snell in A&M’s 20-14 win over Kentucky at Kyle Field.
“I proved that I’m one of the best, if not the best back in the SEC,” Williams said.
The Wildcats returned a fumble by A& quarterback Kellen Mond 40 yards to tie the game with under five minutes left in regulation. Kentucky kicker Miles Butler hit the crossbar on a 43-yard field goal attempt in overtime, and Williams needed just four plays to help the Aggies to their first win against a ranked opponent since 2009.
Snell was held to 60 yards on just 13 carries, his lowest numbers of the season in both categories.
“We’re not satisfied because we should have held him to zero yards, to be honest with you,” A&M linebacker Tyrel Dodson said.
The A&M defense, which has already proven itself to be one of the best in the conference, was even better than advertised. The Aggies held Kentucky to 178 yards of offense, just the second time they’ve held an SEC to under 200 yards since they joined the league.
After the Wildcats scored the opening touchdown on a 54-yard jet sweep in the first quarter, the Aggies’ defense held them to just 66 yards of offense.
Kentucky didn’t take an offensive snap on the Texas A&M side of the field during regulation.
“Our defense was outstanding,” A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher said. “Snell is a heckuva player and we could not let him beat us. We were determined to take that away. We wanted to make them throw the football and make them do something that they didn’t do as well.”
Mond completed 18-of-29 passes for 226 yards and two touchdowns. Tight end Jace Sternberger and receiver Quartney Davis each caught a touchdown and the Aggies held a 21-8 advantage on first downs.
Punter Braden Mann gave the Wildcats long fields all night, finishing with a 59.6-yard average. His boot of 85-yards (65-yard net) in the second quarter was the longest punt of the season at the FBS level.
The other three-plus quarters of the game was probably played much like when the Aggies and Wildcats last faced off in 1953.
Between the second quarter and game-tying touchdown, Kentucky had seven straight punts. A&M only got inside the Wildcats’ 40-yard line twice, including an incredibly lucky touchdown pass from Mond to Sternberger that was tipped by Cam Buckley early in the fourth quarter.
But it did the job.
Fisher wouldn’t go so far to say this was a must-win game, rather that it was a fork in the road and a great measuring stick after losses to two of the top three teams in the nation that was closer than many predicted.
“They showed a lot of grit and toughness,” Fisher said. “I see how much untapped potential we have and I see what they’re capable of because I see them do it in practice. The key is the consistency of it.”
A&M is on the road for the next three games, beginning next Saturday in South Carolina.
“I don’t care what anyone says, every team wants to be ranked,” Dodson said. “Beating the No. 13 team helps a lot. But we just need to go back to work and keep calm. I think we’re going to run the table.”