For the second year in a row, a preseason quarterback competition was the main focus of fall camp. This time, it was between returning starter Kyle Allen and true freshman all-everything recruit Kyler Murray. Coach Kevin Sumlin announced in August that Allen would start the season at quarterback. And, like 2015, the Aggies made a statement on opening weekend against a ranked opponent.
A&M pulled away from 15th-ranked Arizona State in Houston, winning 38-17. Like 2015, A&M would roll through nonconference opponents and win in overtime against Arkansas, setting up a matchup of ranked teams at Kyle Field for Mississippi State. After defeating the Bulldogs, A&M climbed to No. 9 heading into its bye week, setting up a mid-October matchup with No. 10 Alabama.
That’s when things went awry for the Aggies. Allen threw three interceptions that were returned for touchdowns against the Crimson Tide, and Alabama rolled A&M, 41-23. Things didn’t get any better the next week when A&M traveled to Ole Miss and only managed to score three points.
Kevin Sumlin threw the quarterback competition open again, then named Murray the starter for South Carolina. He became the first A&M quarterback to rush for more than 100 yards in his first start, and the first quarterback to put up a 200-yard passing/100-yard rushing game since Johnny Manziel.
But Murray threw three interceptions the next week in A&M’s 26-10 loss to Auburn. A&M easily defeated Western Carolina with Murray starting, but he threw two interceptions. When A&M headed to Vanderbilt the next week, it was Allen resuming the starting role. The regular season was capped off by a loss at LSU, where Allen struggled again.
In a surprising turn of events, both Allen and Murray decided to transfer after the regular season ended, leaving Hubenak as the starter for the bowl game.
Sumlin made the decision to split with offensive coordinator Jake Spavital, and UCLA offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone was hired in early January.