Johnson Leads Aggies to Win Over Iowa State

Texas A&M 35, Iowa State 10

By CHRIS DUNCAN
|  Sunday, Nov 1, 2009  |  Updated 8:00 AM CDT
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Johnson Leads Aggies to Win Over Iowa State

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Quarterback Jerrod Johnson #1 of Texas A&M.

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Texas A&M's offense was so good on Saturday that freshman punter Ryan Epperson got the day off.

  Jerrod Johnson threw three touchdown passes and ran for another score in an easy 35-10 win over Iowa State.
 
Cyrus Gray rushed for 119 yards and Christine Michael had a touchdown run for A&M (5-3, 2-2 Big 12), which gained 501 yards and went 10-for-13 on third-down conversions. The Aggies picked up 31 first downs and didn't punt in a game for the first time since a 54-14 win over Louisiana-Monroe in 2007.
 
"Any time you don't have to punt," Texas A&M coach Mike Sherman said, "it should be a good offensive day."
 
The Aggies marched for touchdowns on their first three possessions and cruised to a 21-3 halftime lead.
 
Johnson went 5-for-6 on A&M's first drive, then scored on fourth down from the 1-yard line with 4:55 left in the opening quarter. Johnson leads the team with six rushing touchdowns.
 
The Aggies rushed for 267 yards, with the offensive line playing well for the second-straight week. A&M rushed for 321 yards in last week's 52-30 win over Texas Tech.
 
"The fact we can run the ball, it takes a lot of pressure off me, it takes a lot of pressure off the coaches," Johnson said. "The offensive line has been creating good holes and the running game is really in sync."
 
Jerome Tiller ran for a touchdown, but threw two costly interceptions for the Cyclones (5-4, 2-3). Tiller, a redshirt freshman, started in place of junior Austen Arnaud for the second straight week. Arnaud is recovering from a bruised throwing hand.
 
A&M safety Jordan Pugh intercepted Tiller near midfield late in the first quarter, and Johnson found sophomore Jeff Fuller down the sideline for a 32-yard touchdown. Fuller, who led the Aggies with nine touchdown catches in 2008, was playing his second game since breaking his right leg against Utah State on Sept. 19.
 
Iowa State then drove to the Aggies' 23, but A&M linebacker Kyle Mangan stuffed Alexander Robinson on a fourth-and-1. The Aggies then mounted a 16-play touchdown drive, with Gray scoring on a screen pass from Johnson with 3:27 left in the half.
 
Grant Mahoney kicked a 29-yard field goal on the last snap of the half for Iowa State. The Cyclones gained 324 yards in the game, but twice failed to score on drives inside the A&M 20.
 
"We were going to have to score a lot of points to win this game," Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads said. "Obviously, we didn't get that done."
 
Robinson, the Big 12's leading rusher, ran for 76 yards on 20 carries after sitting out last week's 9-7 win at Nebraska with a groin injury.
 
A&M's Lionel Smith fumbled the second-half kickoff and Iowa State recovered. But A&M cornerback Justin McQueen intercepted Tiller at the goal line and the Aggies took over at their own 3.
 
"We didn't capitalize when we had a chance," Tiller said. "Nothing against A&M, but it was all on us. Our mistakes kept us from winning the game."
 
Michael broke runs of 14 and 11 yards to give A&M room to maneuver and a personal foul on the Cyclones moved the drive into Iowa State territory.
 
Freshman Uzoma Nwachukwu caught a pass from Johnson inside the 5, but Iowa State safety James Smith landed a helmet-to-helmet hit at the goal line and jarred the ball loose. The Cyclones recovered in the end zone for a touchback and Nwachukwu lay motionless on the field for several minutes before walking off on his own. He came back later in the game.
 
A&M linebacker Von Miller blocked Mahoney's field-goal try later in the third quarter, but Miller was called offside. Mahoney then missed an attempt from 42 yards.
 
Johnson threw a 7-yard touchdown pass to Howard Morrow on the third play of the fourth quarter. Tiller finished a quick Iowa State drive with a 4-yard TD run with 12:15 left, but Michael scored on a 7-yard run less than three minutes later.

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