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November 3, 2013

Aggies win easily over UTEP

Selected comments from Texas A&M players and head coach Kevin Sumlin after the Aggies' 57-7 win Saturday night:

Wide receiver Travis Labhart:

* Said Manziel called over the whole offense when the Aggies were up 23-7 and "made a great leadership speech" telling them to pick things up.

* Said the team had a good game plan going in and felt they could make plays down the field and "it just fell that way tonight."

* Said the muffed punt return "was not good." "I thought I was camped underneath it ... and I just misjudged it."

Cornerback Devante Harris:

* On his INT: "I baited him a little bit and he threw it a little low and it came right into my hands."

* On the defense: "We fed off of each other all night ... Coach Snyder was giving it to us when we needed. I felt like he was letting the dogs loose tonight."

* On the secondary's younger players: "There's a lot of promise there and I'm excited to be part of that."

Running back Ben Malena:

* Said Tra Carson was walking around in the locker room after the game, joking around.

* On the early game struggles: "The passing game wasn't clicking, and then we ran the ball for a bit and we started putting up points."

* On the running backs: "That's the luxury of having four backs. It keeps us all fresh. We all share the ball and every time that all four of us get the ball, we want to contribute."

Defensive end Gavin Stansbury:

* On the young players: "It's freshmen. They're going to improve every game. It comes with confidence."

* On turnovers: "Everyone's swarming to the ball. Everyone's giving their energy, playing with excitement ... everyone's on board, and I feel like it's going to carry through the whole season."

* On the defense's improvement: "The last couple of weeks, we've had really good practices the last two or three weeks, and I think that comes with confidence."

Coach Sumlin:

* Said X-rays on Carson were negative and he will not, at this point, spend the night at the hospital. "He was in pain out there, and at first you think that's a bad situation -- but that's better than not having feeling." Says all signs point to nothing very serious.

* On the defense: "We've been getting a lot of guys and playing with a lot of energy."

* On injuries to Ced Ogbuehi and Alonzo Williams: "Hopefully we'll be back at full strength next week."

* On the offense's performance: "We started uncharacteristically slow. We were just a little bit off...we weren't as sharp as we usually are. We kicked it into gear, and the message in the second half was to play like we did in the second quarter and we did that offensively and defensively."

* On Carson's injury: "You feel for anyone in that situation, whether it's yours or an opponent. Coach Kugler came out and asked if he was all right and he asked about him as he was leaving, which I thought was really classy of him."

* On Darian Claiborne's performance: "It's been extremely crucial. When you've got a freshman nose tackle and a freshman middle linebacker, it's extremely concerning. The other guys read the program too. They're getting better every week, and I think their confidence level is going up and we're going to need that."

* "We've got a stretch of three teams ... that will challenge our whole football team."

* On the turnover margin: "I think the difference tonight that the defense got us turnovers and we scored 28. This whole thing works together. That's why we talk about not only turnovers but turnover ratio and us capitalizing on those turnovers."

* On the defense: "We had one bad series in the first quarter, but from start to finish, we not only played well enough to get see some improvements, but to get some turnovers and capitalize on them."

* Moving forward: "We've got to continue to be consistent. Really strong teams and really strong programs are not up and down. You see that across the country. The challenge at this point is to be consistent, remain the team that you are and get consistent play out of whoever crosses the white lines."

* Says the goal now is to get a consistent performance from the offense, defense and special teams, and they haven't gotten that yet. "When you win 57-7 and say you didn't have a complete game, that's good for a coach because you know there are things to improve on."

* On Howard Matthews: "I wish he'd played like this earlier in the year, but we'll take it...We've got to have those kind of performances out of those guys."

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