Aggies hold off Buffs in College Station

November 1, 2008 9:19:42 PM PDT
Texas A&M coach Mike Sherman needed more than halftime to tell his players what they needed to fix to beat Colorado on Saturday. Sherman delivered a quick pep talk on the sideline after the break and the Aggies took over in the third quarter and beat the Buffaloes 24-17 at Kyle Field.

Jerrod Johnson threw three touchdown passes in the quarter and Trent Hunter intercepted two passes in the fourth as the Aggies won for the second time in six home games this season.

"I talked to them at halftime," Sherman said. "But then I thought it would be better suited to talk to them right there on the field, to re-emphasize my message that the first half was totally unacceptable and they're not living up to their part of the bargain.

"They came out and performed to their level and my level of expectation in the second half."

A&M trailed 10-3 at the break, then outgained Colorado 202-55 in the third quarter to take a 24-10 lead. Johnson went 8-for-13 in the quarter and finished 15-for-31 for 214 yards.

"Coach is really involved in everything we do. He's a passionate coach," Johnson said. "He knew he could get more out of us. He kind of told us to get our heads together, get everything straight and just play."

Freshman quarterback Tyler Hansen rushed 16 times for 86 yards, but threw the two late interceptions for the Buffaloes (4-5, 1-4), who've lost five of their last six games.

To make matters worse for the Buffaloes, leading rusher Rodney Stewart broke his right leg in the second quarter, when he was taken down on a horse-collar tackle by A&M linebacker Von Miller. Miller was flagged for a personal foul.

Stewart, a freshman, was the Big 12's fourth-leading rusher, averaging 75.4 yards per game. Coach Dan Hawkins did not say how long Stewart would be out, but said the injury was serious.

"They're scrapping and they're battling some things," Hawkins said of his team. "At some point, life and football becomes more about a cause than anything else and if you can dig in your heels and strap it up, that's a good thing. They did that, just not good enough to win."

Colorado held A&M to 76 yards in the first half, but Johnson went 4-for-4 on the Aggies' first drive of the second, finishing it with a 32-yard touchdown pass to Ryan Tannehill. Later in the third quarter, Johnson threw a 59-yard touchdown pass to freshman Jeff Fuller down the sideline to give A&M its first lead.

"It was just lack of execution in the first half," Johnson said. "At halftime, Coach did a good job of keeping everybody together. Everybody came out in the second half and executed well."

Cyrus Gray broke a 54-yard run on the Aggies' next possession. Gray started for leading rusher Mike Goodson, who sat out the second straight game with a sprained left knee.

Johnson threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to Fuller on the last play of the third quarter. Fuller leads the Aggies with seven touchdown catches.

"Our team was in the zone, as far as play calling, the guys up front," said Johnson. "I think that was our most productive quarter. We just came together and executed when the opportunities were given."

A&M defensive end Cyril Obiozor sacked Hansen on consecutive plays early in the fourth quarter. The Buffaloes gained only 75 yards on their first four possessions after halftime.

Hunter got his first interception with 8:11 left. But after an Aggies' punt, Colorado drove 98 yards in 11 plays and cut the deficit to 24-17 on Demetrius Sumler's 10-yard touchdown run with 2:59 remaining.

A&M punted again, but Hunter made a diving interception along the sideline with 2:29 left to put the game away.

Johnson averaged 361 passing yards and thrown six touchdown passes in the last three games, but he went 6-for-14 for 62 yards in the first half.

After Johnson fumbled on A&M's first series, Cody Hawkins, Colorado's other quarterback, took a lateral from running back Darrell Scott and found tight end Riar Geer down the sideline for a 23-yard gain. Three plays later, Stewart scored on a 6-yard run to put the Buffaloes ahead.

Hansen replaced Hawkins for Colorado's fourth possession. Coach Dan Hawkins took off Hansen's redshirt three weeks ago and has been alternating Hansen and Hawkins.

Kicker Aric Goodman hit the upright on a 46-yard field-goal try, his seventh consecutive miss. Goodman slipped to 3-for-11 on field-goal tries this season.

A&M's Randy Bullock kicked a 39-yard field goal with 5:43 left in the first half.

After Stewart was injured, Scott leapfrogged an A&M defender on a 42-yard run, the Buffaloes' longest play from scrimmage this season. But A&M cornerback Jordan Pugh intercepted Hawkins in the end zone with 2:40 left in the half.

"Part of it was big because I got the interception, I was excited," Pugh said. "As far as momentum, I thought it was big. We needed to have that stop."

Colorado got the ball back and freshman Jameson Davis, who handles kickoffs, booted a 30-yard field goal with 3 seconds left.

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