COLLEGE STATION - Saturday night was not supposed to be a challenge for Texas A&M and it never really was. Louisiana-Monroe was the sacrificial lamb walking into Kyle Field one week after the Aggies narrowly lost to the No. 2 team in the nation and one week before they hit the road to take on the No. 1 team.
Texas A&M performed exactly how it was supposed to, trouncing the Warhawks 48-10 in the final game before SEC play begins.
"We went out and did the things we needed to do to take care of business," Texas A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher said. "They gave us all kind of problems in the first half. The defense did a much better job in the second half and the offense stayed efficient."
Kellen Mond backed up his career day last week against Clemson with another solid performance, finishing 16-for-24 for 210 yards and a touchdown and rushing for 67 yards and two touchdowns.
"He's getting us in and out of plays," Fisher said. "He's having fun with it. He's doing a really good job and playing really good football and playing really smart football, that's what's got me excited. The questions he asks and the thoughts he has. It's fun to watch him."
Fisher was adamant about establishing the run after it faded last week against the Tigers last week. The Aggies combined for 281 yards on 45 rushes. Trayveon Williams paced the ground game with 131 yards and a score.
Even freshman Jashaun Corbin rushed 10 times for 64 yards, both career highs in his very young A&M career.
Late in the game, senior offensive lineman Erik McCoy went down with what looked like a knee injury. Fisher said the early prognosis is good and he should be good to go next week as will receiver Kendrick Rodgers, who was held out with a foot injury.
"You're never as sharp as you want to be," Fisher said. "You can score 100 and on every possession and you won't be as sharp as you want to be. We've got a (things) to work on."
Williams capped off an 84-yard drive on the Aggies first possession with his fourth touchdown of the season. ULM hit a 27-yard field goal later in the quarter, but Mond rushed for his first touchdown early in the second quarter.
Daylon Mack blocked a ULM field goal attempt in the second quarter and Tyrel Dodson picked up the ball and returned it 78 yards for a score. It was the first field goal return since Myles Garrett did it in 2014.
"I just did my job," Dodson said. "We practice that every day in practice and it's never come to me like that before."
The Warhawks scored just before the first half ended and finished the first two quarters out-gaining the Aggies 261-218 thanks in part to three plays of 30 or more yards.
Mond rushed for his second touchdown on a 9-yard keeper early in the second half to cap a seven-play, 54-yard drive for A&M. The Aggies settled for a 37-yard field goal at the end oft eh third quarter after the officials revered a touchdown call.
He topped 200 yards passing when he threw a 20-yard touchdown to Jace Sternberger in the fourth quarter.
"I think we have one of the best defenses in the nation and we weren't playing like it," Dodson said. "We can't do that. It kind of gave of the boost of emotion and passion, so we went out there and did what we needed to do (in the second half)."
The Aggies haven't beaten the Crimson Tide since 2012 when Johnny Manziel has his Heisman Moment and A&M won 29-24 at Kyle Field.
"We're going to fix some things up and we are going to be ready to play against Alabama," Dodson said.