Aggies win season opener

QB Reggie McNeal

In his first game as head coach at Texas A&M, Dennis Franchione notched a 26-11 win Saturday night against a scrappy Arkansas State team at Kyle Field.

In his first game as head coach at Texas A&M, Dennis Franchione notched a 26-11 win Saturday night against a scrappy Arkansas State team at Kyle Field.

Before an opening game record Kyle Field crowd of 75,804, sophomore Reggie McNeal started the game at quarterback for the Aggies. McNeal played the first and third quarters, while junior Dustin Long led the offense in the second and fourth periods. McNeal completed 7 of 13 passes for 82 yards. Long finished the game 5-for-7 for 44 yards.

The Aggies offense sputtered at the start of the game, forcing punts on A&M's first two possessions. Junior Jacob Young took care of punting duties with two kicks in the game, both for 59.5 yards.

Todd Pegram scored first for A&M, kicking three field goals in the second quarter to give the Aggies a 9-3 lead at halftime.

In the third period, Courtney Lewis returned a kickoff for 77 yards to set-up a 4-yd Terrence Murphy touchdown run. With 10 seconds to go in the third quarter, Pegram knocked in his fourth field goal of the game, making the Aggies' lead 19-3 over the Indians to start the fourth quarter.

Arkansas State managed to score a touchdown in the fourth quarter when Steven Tookes took advantage of a Terrence Thomas fumble and carried the ball 35 yards to the endzone. Clinton Roy ran in the 2-point conversion to make it 19-11 Texas A&M with 5:53 left in the game.

But with 3:06 remaining A&M sealed the game when Lewis broke open a 42-yard run for a touchdown. Pegram nailed the extra point.

Texas A&M returns to action next Saturday when the Aggies host Utah at Kyle Field. The Utes are coming off a 40-20 win over Utah State. Kickoff is set for 7pm.

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