McNeil sets Aggie offense record in win over SMU
(9/17/05 - COLLEGE STATION, TX) -- After Reggie McNeal threw a perfect 32-yard pass to Chad Schroeder in the end zone for his fourth touchdown throw of the day, all he could do was shake his head.
"I walked off the field like I don't know what to do," he said. "It's just that kind of day. You're just out there having fun."
McNeal set a school record with 449 total yards, throwing for 349 yards and running for 100 in just three quarters to lead Texas A&M to a 66-8 win over SMU on Saturday.
"Sometimes when you get in a rhythm, you're in that zone. This was Reggie McNeal's zone today," coach Dennis Franchione said. "He broke some records today, and it's probably not going to be the last record he breaks this year."
McNeal threw five touchdown passes and ran for another score while surpassing the Aggies' yardage by a quarterback record of 418 set by Edd Hargett against SMU in 1968.
It was the first time a Texas A&M player has thrown for more than 300 yards and run for more than 100 in a game, and McNeal had his first 300-yard passing game. McNeal's previous high for touchdown passes in a game was four in 2002.
The Aggies (1-1) led 24-8 at halftime and scored touchdowns on six consecutive possessions in the second half to stretch the lead. The victory extends Texas A&M's streak of wins in home openers to 18.
A week after upsetting TCU, SMU (1-2) managed to stay with the Aggies for one half.
"They had an explosion, and we never recovered from it," said coach Phil Bennett, who played and coached at Texas A&M. "This is a different team than you saw last week [against TCU]."
McNeal was 15-of-24 with no interceptions and threw four touchdown passes in the third quarter before leaving with 2:41 remaining in the quarter.
Texas A&M took advantage of four SMU turnovers, a struggling running game and consistently poor tackling, which turned several short passes into big gains.
"My biggest disappointment ... is our tackling," Bennett said. "It was horrendous."
McNeal had touchdown passes of 80, 68, 32 and 47 yards in the third quarter. He also threw a 15-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter.
Perhaps the most dazzling touchdown of the afternoon came after Earvin Taylor caught a short pass from McNeal and shed a trio of defenders before dashing for the 80-yard score.
Jason Carter caught five balls for 143 yards and two touchdowns for Texas A&M and Schroeder also caught two TD passes, giving him TDs on each of his three catches this season.
Texas A&M's offense started slowly, with the special teams putting the first points on the board. Amos Gbunblee blocked an SMU punt midway through the first quarter, and Jaxson Appel recovered for a touchdown.
Appel had five tackles to put his career mark at 300, a school record for tackles by a defensive back.
SMU's only touchdown came at the end of the first quarter when Jerad Romo, who had a career-high 243 passing yards, found Bobby Chase down the sideline for a 67-yard score on third-and-19. The extra point failed, and the Aggies maintained their lead.
The Mustangs' only other points came in the second quarter when A&M punter Justin Brantly dropped the snap in the end zone, and Johnnie Fitzgerald tackled him for a safety. On the replay it appeared Brantly escaped to the 1-yard-line, but the play was not reviewed.
After SMU's touchdown, McNeal spun away from an SMU defender and coasted 63 yards for the longest run of his career and the score.
A week after running for 118 yards and two touchdowns in his college debut against TCU, DeMyron Martin was a non-factor for SMU, gaining 8 yards on as many carries.
Texas A&M brought out its 12th Man kickoff coverage unit made up entirely of walk-ons twice in the fourth quarter. It was the first time the unit has appeared since a 73-10 win against Baylor in 2003. Saturday's win was Texas A&M's largest margin of victory since that game.
(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)
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