Aggies stomp Mustangs, 66-8

Reggie McNeal

Texas A&M senior quarterback Reggie McNeal put up monster numbers for the A&M offense on Saturday as the Aggies soundly defeated old Southwest Conference opponent SMU, 66-8 at Kyle Field.

McNeal ended the day with an impressive 449 total yards, 349 of those passing and 100 on the ground. The career-best passing performance included five touchdowns, four coming in the third quarter. McNeal also ran for a touchdown on one of his six carries.

SMU (1-2) head coach Phil Bennett, a former A&M football player and position coach for the Aggies received a tough reception leading his Mustangs into Kyle Field for the first time as the mustang coach. Texas A&M (1-1) scored first and never looked back.

The Aggie highlight reel began early in the game when Texas A&M's Jaxson Appel scored the first touchdown of the day after recovering a Ryan Mentzel punt, blocked by A&M redshirt freshman Amos Gbunblee.

SMU responded with an impressive 67-yard touchdown on a Jerad Romo pass to Bobby Chase. But kicker Chris McMurtray missed the PAT and a chance to tie the game.

McNeal's heroics began in the second quarter with a 63-yard touchdown run. Aggie kicker Todd Pegram quickly followed up the score on A&M's next drive with a 29-yard field goal.

The Ponies scrapped back, scoring a safety mid-way through the second quarter, and then threatened to punch in their second touchdown of the day. But the Mustangs failed to capitalize on the opportunity, fumbling the ball over to the Aggies. Despite a stout SMU effort in the first two quarters, the Aggies took a 24-8 lead into the half.

It took only two plays into the second half for the Aggie scoring machine to return to action. On A&M's opening possession of the third quarter, McNeal completed a pass to wide receiver Earvin Taylor, who broke two tackles, outran the defense, and charged into the endzone on a spectacular 80-yard run.

The domination continued on the next Aggie drive as senior wide receiver Jason Carter pounded out a 68-yard run on a completed pass from McNeal.

The frustration was compounded for the Ponies when they fumbled on their next drive, and Texas A&M capitalized on the change of possession. McNeal launched a 32-yard bomb into the endzone to wide receiver Chad Schroeder, who made a heroic running catch in the back of the endzone. Pegram successfully completed the PAT, pushing the score up to 45-8, Texas A&M.

Jason Carter soon followed with his second touchdown of the day on a 47-yard play action pass from McNeal. The quick Aggie scoring drive resulted from an SMU failure to convert on a fourth and one attempt, forcing the Ponies to turn the ball over on downs.

The Aggies made a quarterback change late in the third quarter, replacing McNeal with heralded redshirt freshman Stephen McGee. Two other highly-touted Texas A&M youngsters, Martellus Bennett and Jorvorskie Lane, also made their first legitimate showings of the game during the drive. Lane pounded the ball on several short-yardage gains and completed the drive with a touchdown rush up the middle.

Marquis Carpenter recorded his second interception in fourth quarter, picking off a Tony Eckert pass and returning the ball 19 yards. Aggie quarterback Stephen McGee displayed a glimpse of the future, rushing and passing for impressive yardage on the drive. Redshirt freshman Jay Lucas ended the possession with a 10-yard touchdown run, the final score of the day for either team.

Texas A&M continues non-conference play next week, playing host to Texas State. Kickoff is slated for 6pm at Kyle Field.


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