Archive for Sunday, October 20, 2002

Ags: ‘We just threw over the top’

October 20, 2002


Third on the depth chart to begin the season, Texas A&M; quarterback Dustin Long is now No. 1 in the Aggies' football record books.

Long, a 6-foot-2, 197-pound sophomore from Port Neches, Texas, threw for a school-record 399 yards and accounted for three passing touchdowns in A&M;'s 47-22 rout of Kansas on Saturday at Memorial Stadium.

Just two weeks ago, he threw for an Aggie-best seven TDs in an overtime loss to Texas Tech.

Not bad for a guy who was supposed to play behind senior Mark Farris and freshman Reggie McNeal this season.

"It means a lot. It's exciting, especially at A&M;, not known for a throwing offense. To come out and throw it like that, it's fun," Long said. He surpassed the old mark of 385 yards set by Branndon Stewart in a 1996 loss to Colorado.

"I guess people will look at it. Hopefully it will be in there awhile," he said of his name in the school annals.

Long's yardage, off 18-of-32 passing, was the fifth-most ever allowed by the Jayhawks.

He connected with Bethel Johnson on an 18-yard TD strike in the second quarter and hit Jamaar Taylor and Johnson for 69- and 30-yard scores in the third and fourth quarters.

"I think I did better when I came out and went back in," said Long, who didn't start the second half when coach R.C. Slocum elected to give some snaps to McNeal.

McNeal quickly was intercepted and replaced by Long, who threw for 190 yards the first half and 209 the second. Long's 407 yards of total offense ranks as the No. 2 single-game effort in school history behind Edd Hargett's 418-yard day against SMU in 1968.

"They were playing eight guys up and we just threw over the top," Long said.

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The Jayhawks tried to crowd the line of scrimmage and stop running back Derek Farmer, who still broke free for 111 yards on 21 carries with two TDs.

"It seem everybody plays us the same way, trying to stop the run, and we pass," Long said.

The Aggies, who improved to 5-2 overall and 2-1 in the Big 12, started slowly but managed 24 second-quarter points to take an insurmountable 24-0 lead into the break.

Slocum said the Aggies did not take the Jayhawks lightly.

"We talked this week about winning a Big 12 game on the road," Slocum said. "Four years ago we came here and played Kansas and won a 24-21 game. It counted like any other game in the pursuit of the Big 12 title."

Slocum was pleased with an offense that struggled early this season but has scored 47, 41 and 47 points the past three weeks. The only other time A&M; scored 40-plus points three straight weeks was in 1941.

"We scored a lot of points, yet at times we left a little meat on the table," Slocum said. "Their plan appeared to be they were going to make us throw it. They had an eight-man front. They were bringing the safety down. It dictated we throw."

Backup McNeal had two completions in five tries for 29 yards, giving the Aggies a team-record 428 passing yards. Johnson and Jamaar Taylor each topped the century mark with 131 and 124 yards receiving. Only one other time has A&M; had two 100-yard receivers to go with an 100-yard rusher in the same game in 1991 versus TCU.

Overall, A&M; outgained KU a season-best 566 yards to 289.

Defensively, the Aggies held KU quarterback Bill Whittemore to 27 rushing yards on 21 carries. He hit 21 of 44 passes for 187 yards and two TDs.

"I admire him. He is courageous," Slocum said. "Our team did a good job of containing him."

"We knew stopping him was a big key. He is a great athlete," A&M; linebacker Jarrod Penright said. "He can be deceiving because he's short. He makes you miss. We figured if we stop him, we stop everything. We could have contained him better, but that gives us something to shoot for next week."

Assistant sports editor Gary Bedore can be reached at 832-7186.

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