NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin downplayed the turmoil his Aggies have been through over the past month, losing not one but both of their top quarterbacks.
In the end, it might have been a bit much asking a third-string quarterback to make his first career start in a bowl game.
Jake Hubenak threw for 307 yards and two touchdowns Wednesday night, but the sophomore also turned the ball over twice and was sacked five times. Hubenak’s final pass fell incomplete in the end zone with 1:39 left as the Aggies lost the Music City Bowl 27-21 to Louisville.
“Once he settled down a little bit, he was fine,” Sumlin said. “I thought he had a great demeanor during the game. He was very upset about the fumble. … For a guy to come in and give us a chance after everything that had happened in the 55 minutes beforehand, you have to give credit to him.”
Texas A&M (8-5) became the first Southeastern Conference team to lose this bowl season. The Aggies lost their second straight overall and snapped a four-game bowl winning streak.
“It’s a sour taste in your mouth just because we lost,” cornerback Brandon Williams said.
Aggies wide receiver Josh Reynolds set Music City Bowl records with 11 catches for 177 yards, both career highs. Tra Carson ran for 106 yards.
But Louisville outgained the Aggies 534-445 with Cardinals quarterback Lamar Jackson setting a Music City Bowl record running for a career-high 226 yards and setting this bowl’s mark for total offense with 453 yards. He ran for two TDs and threw for two more.
Jackson scored three times in the first quarter, and the Cardinals never trailed.
Louisville (8-5) won its third bowl in their past four trips and first since 2013. The Cardinals also won for the eighth time in 10 games after starting the season 0-3.
“The first thing I thought of was, ‘Wow, we were 0-3 and we got a great win at the Music City Bowl,'” coach Bobby Petrino said about his first bowl victory since returning to Louisville in 2014.
Hubenak started after both Kyle Allen and Kyler Murray transferred this month. Hubenak hit Christian Kirk with a 29-yard TD pass with 4:54 left that pulled the Aggies to 27-21.
Texas A&M nearly had first-and-goal at the Cardinals 6, but a review showed Kirk did not maintain possession of the ball on his catch. That left Hubenak two more chances inside the final 2 minutes. The Cardinals batted down a pass, then Hubenak was incomplete throwing into the end zone.
“That’s a heck of a position for a guy making his first start, but guys rallied around him.”
The Louisville quarterback topped the 187 yards Marion Barber had for Minnesota had in 2004 and total offense mark of 424 yards set by Mike Glennon of North Carolina State in 2012. Jackson also became the third quarterback to run and throw for at least 200 yards in a bowl game, joining Vince Young in 2006 and Johnny Manziel in 2012.
“He’s explosive, and he’s got wheels,” Sumlin said about Jackson. “He really gave us fits on the edge.”
Louisville senior linebacker James Burgess’ career ended on the Cardinals’ first defensive play of the game. He was flagged, then ejected for targeting Texas A&M wide receiver Damion Ratley on a hit that left both the receiver and Cardinals cornerback Shaq Wiggins on the ground for a few minutes. He didn’t return until late in the first quarter with a strained lower back.
Aggies defensive end Myles Garrett, who came in leading the SEC in sacks, had a pretty quiet night aside from one sack, giving him a career-high 12 1/2 for the season. One sack was wiped out by a penalty.
AP College Football website: www.collegefootball.ap.org
To contact Sports Editor Connor Ulrey, email firstname.lastname@example.org.