Archive for Sunday, October 20, 2002

M wins through air

October 20, 2002


It was all over rather quickly.

After a scoreless first quarter Saturday at Memorial Stadium, Texas A&M; scored 21 points in a span of 3 minutes, 59 seconds and rolled to a 47-22 Big 12 Conference football victory against Kansas University.

"You can't make excuses for losing," KU coach Mark Mangino said. "There are none. You get beat, you get beat. We're not going to make any. We got beat by a good Texas A&M; team."

The Jayhawks got beat because they allowed a season-worst 566 yards, including 103 yards on third-down plays.

Late in the first quarter, A&M; faced a third-and-15 from KU's 49, but sophomore quarterback Dustin Long completed a 23-yard pass to Greg Porter. KU had another chance to stop the Aggies on third-and-10 at the 26, but tailback Derek Farmer sprinted 14 yards to move the chains.

"Today third downs killed us," KU linebacker Leo Etienne said. "It gets frustrating week in and week out. Third downs are money downs, and today we didn't cash in."

A&M; (5-2 overall, 2-1 Big 12) finished 5-of-12 on third-down plays and also converted a fourth-down play on its first scoring drive when Farmer ran in from four yards out with 14:08 left in the second quarter.

Farmer finished with 117 yards and two touchdowns.

After a KU punt, Long led A&M; on a quick scoring drive. He completed three 18-yard passes to three different receivers, including a TD to Bethel Johnson with 10:19 left in the half.

"I was expecting a lot more running," KU linebacker Greg Cole said. "We mainly focused on the run. We didn't think they'd pass."

The Jayhawks were wrong. Long set a school record with 399 yards passing, the fifth-highest total ever against KU (2-6, 0-4).

"We just took what the defense gave us and tried to go and out and put up points," said Long, who was 18-of-32 with one interception.

Long was the third individual to gain more than 300 yards against Kansas in the last three games. Colorado running back Chris Brown had 312 yards rushing last week in a 53-29 CU victory, and Baylor quarterback Aaron Karas passed for 359 yards a week earlier in a 35-32 BU victory.

The Aggies threw the ball 37 times for 428 yards and three TDs. Johnson and Jammar Taylor each finished with more than 100 receiving yards, and Terrence Murphy was close with 99.

A&M; repeatedly picked on freshman cornerback Donnie Amadi.

"In the secondary, we certainly had some struggles," Mangino said. "The matchup in speed hurt us a little bit, but we have to be able to play the ball better and play some man coverage a lot better."

KU had fallen behind by two touchdowns for the fourth week in a row.

That deficit quickly widened.

After Johnson's TD, KU freshman Greg Heaggans fumbled the kickoff, picked it up and fumbled again. Randall Webb scooped up the loose ball and sprinted 12 yards for a 21-0 lead.

A&M; added a 19-yard field goal by Todd Pegram at the end of the half for a 24-0 lead. It was the first time KU had been shut out in a half since the season opener at Iowa State. The Jayhawks had just 58 yards at the break, including minus-2 yards on 13 rushing plays.

"We have to get things going earlier on offense," said quarterback Bill Whittemore, who had his streak of 300-yard games snapped at three. "Our defense came out firing and did a good job early in the game. If we got some points on the board maybe it's a different game."

A&M; gave KU an opportunity to catch up when the Aggies turned the ball over three times on their first four possessions of the third quarter.

Kansas managed just one score, an 18-yard pass from Whittemore to Byron Gasaway set up by Etienne's fumble recovery.

After an interception by Cole, Johnny Beck made a 35-yard field goal, but a KU penalty negated the score. After the infraction was marked off, Beck missed from 40 yards.

"Any time you take points off the board, it stings a little bit," Mangino said. "That shouldn't happen."

A&M;'s "Wrecking Crew" defense limited Kansas to 289 total yards, its lowest output since a 277-yard effort against Bowling Green in Week Four.

Whittemore had a hand in 230 of those yards. The junior passed for 187 yards, rushed for 27 and caught one pass for 16.

He added a second TD pass to Gasaway in the fourth quarter and scored on a one-yard TD run in the final minute.

Whittemore had been a dangerous running threat in recent weeks, but was sacked five times Saturday, twice by linebacker Jared Morris.

"They got back there pretty quick," Whittemore said. "They have some excellent players. Our offensive line hung tough. Overall, they did well, but they were able to get pressure on us and disrupt our plays. It was frustrating. They have a great defense."

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