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Texas A&M, Vanderbilt dealing with injured QBs

AP - Sports
Texas A&M, Vanderbilt dealing with injured QBs
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Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel (2) rushes for a 1-yard score in the fourth quarter against Auburn …

HOUSTON (AP) -- When No. 14 Texas A&M and Vanderbilt play for the first time they'll have something in common: Both have banged-up quarterbacks.

Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel has an injured shoulder and is questionable for Saturday's game. Vanderbilt's Austyn Carta-Samuels hurt his leg last week and won't start.

The Commodores announced Thursday that Patton Robinette would start. Robinette is a freshman who has seen limited time. He was 9 of 15 for 107 yards passing with an interception and ran for a touchdown after Carta-Samuels was injured last Saturday.

''I think the fact that he played last week and the experience, he's probably preparing a little different this week depending on how this situation plays out,'' coach James Franklin said. ''He shouldn't, but we all know that's human nature. I think that'll give the opportunity to play better the next time he plays.''

Manziel was injured in last week's loss to Auburn when his right shoulder was drilled into the ground at the end of a run. He missed a series before returning to finish the game.

''We hope he goes,'' A&M offensive coordinator Clarence McKinney said. ''But if he doesn't we can't cancel the game.''

If Manziel can't play, the Aggies will likely start Matt Joeckel. He has appeared in three games this season, starting A&M's opener against Rice when Manziel was suspended for the first half. Joeckel has thrown for 265 yards and a touchdown this season. They could also use freshman Kenny Hill.

''We feel confident in both of those guys,'' McKinney said ''It's a different team when Johnny's out there. It's a different team when those guys are out there. Matt knows the offense. He's been in the system for two years. We feel like he can operate it. Kenny is very talented. We feel like if he's out there he can make plays for us as well.''

Five things to know about the Vanderbilt-Texas A&M game:

RECORD WITHIN REACH: Vanderbilt receiver Jordan Matthews has 3,080 career yards receiving and needs 14 yards receiving to break the SEC career receiving mark. Matthews is seventh in the nation with 798 yards receiving this season and has five touchdowns.

''He just comes to work every single day and does the best that he can to help this team win and have success,'' Franklin said. ''If there is a by-product of that, wonderful. We don't talk about those things, we don't emphasize those things.''

EVANS ELEVATES GAME: Texas A&M receiver Mike Evans has the second and third best receiving performances in the nation this season. With 287 yards receiving last Saturday, Evans became the first player in school history to have two 200-yard receiving games in a career. His other came when he had 279 against Alabama to give him two of the top-five receiving games in SEC history.

''He's improved from a year ago from a numbers standpoint,'' A&M coach Kevin Sumlin said. ''How he approaches the game even without the ball in his hands, it's hard to argue he's not one of the best players in the country.''

LOUD CROWD: The Commodores have never been to Kyle Field. But they know that it will probably be one of the loudest venues they play in this season.

The stadium ''has a reputation of being one of the best places in all of college football,'' Franklin said. ''Crowd noise will be significant this week so we will have the speakers blaring at practice.''

Added offensive lineman Joe Townsend: ''It hinders your communication some, but we get prepared for that in practice so we really don't pay attention to that.''

DREADFUL DEFENSE: Texas A&M ranks near the top nationally in almost every offensive category. The defense is a different story. The Aggies are giving up 494.4 yards a game, which ranks 118th out of 123 teams and they're allowing 33.9 points a game for 104th.

''We've got to get better on defense, there's no doubt about that,'' Sumlin said.

LOVING LABHART: Texas A&M's coaches and players love the development of former walk-on receiver Travis Labhart. The senior, who spent his freshman year on a practice squad that helped the A&M women's basketball team prepare for games, was given a scholarship before this season. He didn't have a catch before this season and has 18 receptions for 228 yards and a touchdown in 2013.

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