HOUSTON (AP)At a time when many college stars skip bowl games, Oklahoma State’s Chuba Hubbard bucked the trend.
He’ll be there Friday when the Cowboys meet Texas A&M in the Texas Bowl.
”I felt like he would play all along,” Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy said. ”In the environment around college football today, we’re never sure, but he’s a class guy. He likes his team. He likes Stillwater. He likes Oklahoma State. He has a great relationship with the coaching staff. I know he’s excited about playing in the game, and we’re glad to have him be a part of our team.”
Hubbard was named first-team All-America and Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year after leading the nation with 1,936 yards rushing. The redshirt sophomore has said he’ll announce whether he’ll enter the NFL draft or return to Stillwater sometime after the bowl game.
Hubbard has ran for at least 100 yards in 10 straight games and is tied for third in the country with 21 rushing touchdowns. His 1,936 yards rushing rank second in school history behind the 2,628 yards rushing Barry Sanders piled up in 1988 when he won the Heisman Trophy.
He’ll test an A&M defense that has been good against the run this season and ranks 30th in the nation by allowing 129.1 yards rushing a game.
”They’re very dynamic on offense, the tailback Hubbard is phenomenal and they can throw it,” Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher said. ”We’ll have our hands full.”
The Cowboys (8-4) have won three straight bowl games and won four of their last five games this season to reach a bowl for the 14th straight year. The Aggies (7-5) are in their 11th straight bowl game and a win on Friday would be the 100th of Fisher’s career.
Texas A&M has lost two straight games capped by a 50-7 loss at top-ranked LSU. The Aggies are the first team in history to play three teams ranked No. 1 in The Associated Press poll in one season. They also played Clemson and Alabama when those teams topped the poll.
”They’re a great football team,” Gundy said. ”They’ve lost to the No. 1 ranked team in the country three times, the No. 4 team and No. 12. So they’ve had a tough schedule. They’re a tough football team, and it should be a great game.”
This will be the 28th game between these schools, a series dating to 1913. They met annually as members of the Big 12 conference, but last met in 2011 in A&M’s last year in the Big 12 before moving to the Southeastern Conference. The Cowboys won that game 30-29 to extend their winning streak in the series to four games.
Fisher, who took over in College Station in 2018, played Oklahoma State only once – when he was at Florida State.
”I know the history of it,” Fisher said. ”I’m a history buff of college football. I know the old conference rivalries and what it meant and I respect that. I think it’s great for college football.”
Texas A&M quarterback Kellen Mond has thrown for 7,284 yards and ran for 1,268 yards in 36 career games. He joins 2012 Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel as the only players in school history to throw for at least 7,000 yards and run for 1,000 yards.
Mond has thrown for 2,802 yards with 19 touchdowns and nine interceptions and ran for 384 yards rushing with seven scores this season. He has 14 career games where he’s thrown at least one touchdown pass and also had a rushing score.
The Cowboys are 19-10 in bowl games and their 65.5% winning percentage ranks second nationally among schools with at least 20 bowl appearances. Oklahoma State is 7-3 in its last 10 bowl games.
”In bowl games if your team is excited about playing, you play good,” Gundy said. ”If not, teams don’t play very good. We’ve been very fortunate. We’ve got a great culture with good, quality young men, and they’re excited about playing in the game.”
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