Williams runs all over NC State’s defense in monstrous win

Drew McDonald, Sports Editor

Texas A&M Coach Jimbo Fisher, Running Back Trayveon Williams, and Linebacker Tyrel Dodson answer questions at post-game conference. Photo courtesy of Drew McDonald

Trayveon Williams’ dominant performance on the ground carried the Aggies to a 52-13 win over the NC State Wolfpack in the 2018 TaxSlayer Gator Bowl. 

The Aggies set the tone early in the second play of the game when Quarterback, Kellen Mond, burst through for 62 yards on a rushing score to put the Aggies up, 7-0.

NC State had their struggles early in the first half as Texas A&M is ranked second in the nation in rushing. The Wolfpack had an impressive drive after starting at their own  three yard line, Quarterback Ryan Finley drove the offense 71 yards to put the team in field goal range. Christopher Dunn knocked down a 43 yard field goal to put the Wolfpack on the board.

The NC State defense made a momentum shifting play as Defensive Tackle, Eurndraus Bryant, picked off Mond to put the Wolfpack in prime field position. Right after the first quarter, Finley found Wide Receiver C.J. Riley in the end zone to put the Wolfpack up for the first time in the game, 10-7.

The Wolfpack defense continued showing a strong presence by forcing a three and out for the Aggies and Dunn made a career-long 49 yard field goal, 13-7 Wolfpack.

The Aggies had a chance to continue their drive on a 4th and 1 in field goal range but were stopped by the Wolfpack’s stingy defense for a turnover on downs.

The Wolfpack couldn’t capitalize on the turnover on downs and punted it away to the Aggies. Mond led the offense on a four play, 60 yard drive that resulted in a rushing score from Running Back, Trayveon Williams, 14-13 Aggies.

The Aggies found more success in the endzone with a passing touchdown to Wide Receiver Kendrick Rogers making it 21-13, A&M.

As the first half was dwindling to an end, Defensive Back Leon O’Neal Jr. intercepted a pass off Finley to set up a 52 yard field goal attempt with five seconds left in the half. Kicker Seth Small just missed the field goal and at the end of the first half, the Aggies led, 21-13.

At the end of the half, Mond was 13-23 with 142 passing yards and a touchdown (one rushing). Mond also led the team in rushing with 82 rushing yards. Finley was 12-22 with 105 passing yards, a touchdown and an interception.

Linebacker Tyrel Dodson picked Finley’s pocket with an interception that he took to the endzone for a touchdown, 28-13 Aggies. That was Dodson’s first interception of the season.

“Coming from last year and having four picks, leading the conference in Linebackers interceptions, and coming into this year struggling in coverage, I just kept my head high and finally got one,” Dodson said.

The momentum was all on the Aggies side at this point in the game as they later scored again on a two yard rushing touchdown by Williams (his second of the game). After that score, the Aggies extended their lead to 35-13.

Late in the third quarter, the Wolfpack were establishing a solid drive to their opponents 32 yard line until Defensive Lineman, Kinglsey Keke, sacked Finley for a seven yard loss, forcing a punt.

Williams’ night wasn’t done just yet as he raced for a 93 yard rushing touchdown, his third of the game as the Aggies piled onto a 42-13 lead. With that touchdown, Williams surpassed the TaxSlayer Gator Bowl record for most rushing yards in a game with 236 yards.

In garbage time late in the game, the Aggies used the Cobra Kai “no mercy” mentality and scored on a 13 yard rush by Fullback Cullen Gillaspia. After that score, the Aggies eventually won, 52-13.

With that monstrous win, the Aggies are now 9-4 to end their season. The Wolfpack drop to 9-4 as well.

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