Miami 34, Texas A&M 17
ToolboxMIAMI (AP)- Kyle Wright threw for 275 yards and two touchdowns, Graig Cooper scored twice as Miami stymied No. 20 Texas A&M's high-powered offense in a 34-17 victory Thursday night.
The win was only Miami's second in its last nine games against a ranked opponent dating to the end of the 2005 season.
And it was never in doubt.
The Hurricanes (3-1) held the Aggies (3-1) to 38 yards in the first half yards in taking a 24-0 lead, ensuring their final Thursday night game at the venerable Orange Bowl would be a memorable one.
Wright completed 21 of 26 passes, finding Cooper with one scoring throw and Chris Zellner with another late in the third quarter to push the lead to 31-0. Sam Shields had six catches for 117 yards for Miami, which had three scoring drives take a combined 1 minute, 9 seconds.
Stephen McGee had a 1-yard touchdown run with 8:03 left for Texas A&M, and backup quarterback Jerrod Johnson threw a 33-yard scoring pass to tight end Martellus Bennett with 5 seconds left.
The Aggies entered averaging 46.3 points, scoring at least 38 in every game. Those numbers plummeted against the Hurricanes, who said a spotlight national TV game like this represented the perfect chance to make a statement.
It came through loud and clear.
Texas A&M's three leading rushers -- McGee, Mike Goodson and Jorvorskie Lane -- came into the game averaging a combined 235 yards, a big reason why the Aggies' were ranked fifth nationally in rushing offense with nearly 300 yards per outing as a team.
That trio rushed for 21 first-half yards and 69 for the game. Lane had no carries in the first half, and the Aggies didn't get on the board until Matt Szymanski's 32-yard field goal with 11:40 left.
Miami scored 10 points off three Texas A&M turnovers in the final 3:40 of the half -- more midweek magic for the Hurricanes, who won their final 10 Thursday games in the Orange Bowl.
And Wright may have played the best game of his Miami career, too.
On their first possession, Wright and the Hurricanes quickly set the tone. They had an 18-play, 80-yard drive, highlighted by Wright going 5-for-5 on third downs and took a 7-0 lead when Cooper took a direct snap and rumbled 7 yards for a score.
The direct snap, a new Miami wrinkle for this game, had a big role in the Hurricanes' second score.
Miami got inside the Texas A&M 10 on a fortunate bounce; Wright's pass hit off Darnell Jenkins' hands, caromed off Aggies' linebacker Mark Dodge, and landed on Jenkins -- who was on the ground and made the catch.
Indeed, it was that kind of night for Miami, which finished with a 402-240 edge in total yards.
Wright was spread right like a wide receiver on third-and-2 and fourth-and-1 plays inside the Aggies' 5. Javarris James took both snaps, eventually got the first down, then scored from 1 yard out for a 14-0 lead.
Miami missed a chance later in the half after Colin McCarthy intercepted McGee's pass and returned it to the Aggies 22, coming up empty when Francesco Zampogna missed a 36-yard field goal.
But Goodson fumbled the ball away on the next possession. Calais Campbell recovered for Miami and the Hurricanes needed one play to go up 21-0. Wright hit Cooper with a screen pass and the freshman did the rest, barreling in from 12 yards out with 33 seconds left in the half.
It got worse for Texas A&M. After a short kickoff, Cody Wallace -- an offensive lineman -- fumbled the ensuing return, the Hurricanes recovered again and Zampogna hit a 45-yarder as time expired in the half.
Texas A&M Postgame Notes
- Tonight's loss put the Aggies' record at 3-1 heading into the Big 12 schedule. The Aggies take on Baylor on Sept. 29 in College Station.
- The Aggies rushed for just 98 yards against UM, marking the first time in 22 games that the Aggies were held under 100 rushing yards (78 yards vs. Colorado in 2005).
- Quarterback Jerrod Johnson entered the game in mop-up time and quickly led the Aggies on a scoring drive that culminated with a 33-yard pass to tight end Martellus Bennett. Since starting his A&M career with a three-and-out against Montana State, Johnson has led the Aggies to five straight touchdown drives (one vs. MSU, three vs. Louisiana-Monroe, one vs. Miami).
- Martellus Bennett, who wore No. 85 to honor former UM tight end Kevin Everett for the second straight week, scored on a 33-yard yard "Hail Mary" from Jerrod Johnson. It was the second longest TD catch of his career behind a 75-yarder against Baylor in 2006.
- Sophomore Matt Szymanski had his first career punt on a fake field goal pooch punt early in the second quarter.
- The Aggies failed on a pair of on-side kick attempts.
- The Aggies were shut out in the first half and then three quarters for the first time since the 2005 Cotton Bowl against Tennessee (Tennessee won 38-7).
- The loss was the first true road loss as a starter for quarterback Stephen McGee. Prior to tonight, his only loss away from Kyle Field was at the neutral site Qualcomm Stadium in the Holiday Bowl.
- Linebacker Mark Dodge was involved in a part of recovered fumbles. He forced one fumble on an open field tackle that was recovered by safety Alton Dixon. He later recovered a fumble that caused by a strip by defensive tackle Kellen Heard.
- The Aggies fell to 7-21 in games when they are even or minus in turnover margin. Both teams had three turnovers. In games with a turnover margin advantage, the Aggies are 21-3.
- The Aggies remained perfect in the red zone with a field goal and touchdown in two chances inside UM's 20. For the season, the Aggies are 22-of-22 in the red zone with 16 touchdowns.
- The Aggies lost their third straight ESPN Thursday night game, which lowered their record in those games to 11-4.
- The 2006 Big 12 leader in third down offense and defense, the Aggies converted just 4-of-13 third down tries on offense, while allowing 9-of-18 on third- and fourth-down situations on defense against the Hurricanes.
- The Aggies' only player from the state of Florida, Marquis Carpenter, started at cornerback.
- Game captains were: Stephen McGee, Earvin Taylor, Kirk Elder and Red Bryant
- Tonight's 12th Man was Nick LaMantia, a junior from Mission, Texas. It marks the 15th game, including all four in 2007, that LaMantia has served as the Aggies' 12th Man.
"AGGIES & HURRICANES ON THURSDAY NIGHTS"- During Coach Fran's tenure at Texas A&M, the Aggies have played three Thursday night games and all three have had something to do with a hurricane.
- Sept. 18, 2003: Hurricane Isabel/ Texas A&M at Virginia Tech (Lost, 19-35) on ESPN scheduled date
- Sept. 22, 2005: Hurricane Rita/Texas A&M vs. Texas State, Kyle Field (Won, 44-31) on FSN moved up due to approaching hurricane
- Sept. 20, 2007: at Miami (facing the Hurricanes) on ESPN
OTHER ESPN NOTES: Overall Texas A&M is 23-10 on ESPN. Adding two games on ESPN2, the Aggies are 25-10 on the family of ESPN stations. The Aggies had a streak of 13 straight wins snapped by Joe Paterno and the Penn State Nittany Lions in the 1999 Alamo Bowl. The streak started in 1989 with A&M defeating LSU to open the season on ESPN in Coach R.C. Slocum's head coaching debut.
Thursday night ESPN games, Texas A&M is (11-4):
- 2007 at Miami (Fla.) (lost, 17-34)
- 2004 at Utah (lost, 21-41)
- 2003 at Virginia Tech (lost, 19-35)
- 2001 at Wyoming (ESPN2, won 28-20)
- 1995 at Rice (won, 17-10)
- 1993 vs. Texas (won, 18-9)
- 1992 at Texas (won, 34-13)
- 1992 at Houston (won, 38-30)
- 1991 vs. Texas (won, 31-14)
- 1991 at TCU (won, 44-7)
- 1988 vs. Alabama (lost, 10-30)**Make up from earlier scheduled ESPN broadcast postponed due to Hurricane Gilbert
- 1988 at Texas (won, 28-24)
- 1987 vs. Texas (won, 20-13)
- 1986 at Texas (won, 16-3)
- 1985 vs. Texas (won, 42-10)