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Archive for Sunday, October 17, 2004

Aggies gig Cowboys

No. 23 Texas A&M routs No. 16 OSU, 36-20

October 17, 2004

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— As if Reggie McNeal didn't do enough on his own, he also got a big assist from Terrence Murphy.

McNeal threw two touchdown passes -- one on a desperation pass tipped by Murphy to DeQawn Mobley -- and ran for two more scores to help No. 23 Texas A&M beat No. 16 Oklahoma State, 36-20, on Saturday night.

The Aggies bolted to a 20-0 lead as Oklahoma State made uncharacteristic mistakes with a string of early penalties and turnovers.

"It was tough," OSU linebacker Lawrence Pinson said. "It seemed like everything that could happen bad went bad."

After Oklahoma State quarterback Donovan Woods cut it to 20-6 with a two-yard touchdown run with 33 seconds left in the second quarter, McNeal launched a 55-yard touchdown pass to Mobley on the final play of the half.

McNeal let loose the high-arcing pass and Murphy leaped inside the five to tip the ball to Mobley, who dove to catch it in the end zone.

Franchione said the Aggies (5-1, 3-0 Big 12) practice the play, called 8-69 Hail Mary, every Thursday, and McNeal said they're successful on about three out of every four attempts.

"The Hail Mary was big, real big," McNeal said. "It took the fans and them out of the game."

It was set up after Taylor Schuster picked up a third-down fumble by McNeal and advanced it for a first down. Then Murphy, who has a 41 1/2-inch vertical leap, did his part.

The pass gave the Aggies a 27-6 lead and took the Cowboys (5-1, 2-1) out of their run-first game plan.

"It hurt," Cowboys running back Vernand Morency said. "It hit us real hard."

McNeal added a 25-yard TD pass to Murphy on the Aggies' first possession of the second half and a 52-yard connection between the two set up a 25-yard field goal by Todd Pegram that made it 36-6 midway through the third quarter. Murphy finished with five catches for 104 yards.

"As an offense, we come out and feel like we can't be stopped," McNeal said.

Morency scored on a one-yard dive on the first play of the fourth quarter and Billy Bajema caught a four-yard touchdown pass from Woods as the Cowboys pulled to 36-20 with 8:58 to play, but they could get no closer.

"We made a lot of mistakes," Pinson said. "Just the position we were put in on defense, anytime you've got a team like that and you're on your heels trying to fight back, it's tough."

McNeal was 19-of-25 for 288 yards and ran for 98 yards for the Aggies, who recorded their first five-game winning streak since opening the 2001 season 5-0. They're tied for the Big 12 South lead with Oklahoma.

Morency, who entered the game as the nation's leading rusher with 173.8 yards per game, had 111 yards on 28 carries but also lost his first two fumbles of the season on consecutive possessions in the first half. Another drive stalled after a holding penalty, and A&M took advantage of the mistakes.

"We did things out there that's not us, and they capitalized on them," Morency said.

The Cowboys struggled to contain McNeal, who entered the game as the only NCAA quarterback averaging at least 70 yards rushing and 200 yards passing.

"They had a nice scheme on offense to allow him to dodge and dart and make some plays with his feet," OSU coach Les Miles. "I was impressed with McNeal."

Nebraska 59, Baylor 27

Lincoln, Neb. -- Joe Dailey threw for a school record-tying five touchdowns and recorded Nebraska's first 300-yard passing day, and the Cornhuskers bounced back from their worst loss in program history.

The Huskers (4-2, 2-1 Big 12), beaten 70-10 at Texas Tech last week, scored on five of six possessions after Baylor (2-4, 0-3) took an early 3-0 lead.

After Dailey threw TD passes of 18 yards to Steve Kriewald and 74 yards to Cory Ross, he and Isaiah Fluellen hooked up for scoring passes of 27 and 45 yards in the last 1:21 of the half to give the Huskers a 31-3 lead.

Dailey's fifth TD pass, a 31-yarder to Grant Mulkey early in the fourth quarter, all but ended Baylor's comeback hopes after the Bears pulled within two touchdowns.

Colorado 19, Iowa State 14

Boulder, Colo. -- Mason Crosby kicked four field goals -- including a school-record 60-yarder and a 54-yarder -- and Colorado took advantage of Iowa State's shaky special teams to hand the Cyclones their 13th straight conference loss.

Colorado (4-2, 1-2 Big 12) started sophomore James Cox at quarterback in place of Joel Klatt, then switched back after Cox threw an interception late in the second quarter. It didn't seem to matter. Klatt threw two interceptions, and Colorado had 12 penalties for 104 yards and managed just 123 yards in the second half.

Iowa State (2-4, 0-3) had a terrible day on special teams. Two returners muffed punts, and Scott Krava and Brian Jansen each missed short field goals.

The Cyclones also failed on five trips inside Colorado's 20 and have scored just seven times -- five TDs, two field goals -- in 21 chances in the red zone this season.

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