McGee, Lane Lead A&M To Victory Over Baylor
Saturday, September 29th 2007, 10:06 pm
By: News On 6
COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP) _ The Texas A&M Aggies rallied around their embattled coach and dominated their Big 12 opener.
Stephen McGee and Jorvorskie Lane each ran for over 100 yards and a touchdown as the Aggies beat Baylor 34-10 on Saturday amid the controversy over a secret newsletter swirling around coach Dennis Franchione.
The Aggies (4-1, 1-0 Big 12) got a much-needed win after Franchione was caught giving inside information about his team to boosters who paid $1,200 per year to receive it in a newsletter. Franchione said he discontinued the newsletter two weeks ago, but it became public this week.
Franchione apologized to his team on Friday and admitted after the game that he made a mistake.
``Sometimes you do things that turn out just exactly the opposite of what you think they should or are going to,'' he said. ``I felt really bad. I've felt bad about all the distractions they've had to put up with.''
Lane said the Aggies respected Franchione even more after he talked with them.
``Coach Fran came to us like a man and told us he made a stupid decision,'' Lane said. ``He's human. He made a mistake, just like everybody in here.''
The firestorm surrounding the newsletter followed a humbling 34-17 loss to Miami on Sept. 20 that restarted calls for Franchione to lose his job from A&M fans.
McGee angrily defended Franchione after Saturday's victory, lashing out at the media and the program's supporters.
``You can say whatever you want and you can doubt us and do whatever,'' McGee said to a reporter, his voice wavering. ``He's our leader and we're going to follow him. You can say whatever you want to say about him. But he's our man. And I don't care if you, or the rest of the Aggies want to doubt him. We stick behind our man. He does a great job and he deserves respect for what he does.''
The Aggies' performance on Saturday should make everyone feel a little better.
Mike Goodson had an electrifying TD catch and the Aggies' defense did the rest, holding the Bears to only seven first downs and 60 yards rushing.
The Aggies rushed for 352 yards, ran 94 total plays and won time of possession by more than 26 minutes to beat Baylor for the 11th time in the last 12 meetings. The Bears (3-2, 0-1) had a three-game winning streak snapped and haven't won at Kyle Field since 1984.
``We couldn't get anything going offensively,'' said Baylor coach Guy Morriss. ``Their running game just wore us down.''
McGee ran for 110 yards and threw for 200. Lane rushed for a season-high 123 yards after carrying only twice for 2 yards in the loss at Miami.
While Lane said the team united behind the coach, Franchione said he never wants to motivate his team in that way.
``The players need to play for each other,'' Franchione said. ``That's what matters the very most.''
The Bears averaged 411 yards in their first four games, but the Aggies held them to two first downs and 68 yards in the first half. Blake Szymanski, third in the Big 12 in total offense coming in, completed only five of his first 20 throws.
But Texas A&M kicker Matt Szymanski (no relation) missed field goals at the end of two long drives, and the teams were tied 3-3 midway through the second quarter.
With about two minutes left in the half, Goodson made the play of the game, grabbing a short pass from McGee with one hand, breaking three tackles and outrunning the defense to the end zone.
The 58-yard touchdown was A&M's longest since McGee's 75-yard throw to Martellus Bennett in last year's win over Baylor.
McGee threw a 48-yard pass down the middle to Kerry Franks on A&M's first drive of the third quarter, and Lane bulled into the end zone with 10:45 remaining.
Bears receivers dropped balls all day, and on their next series, A&M cornerback Marquis Carpenter intercepted a pass that bounced off Ernest Smith's hands. Matt Szymanski kicked a 23-yard field goal with 7:36 left in the third quarter to stretch the lead to 20-3.
``We live and die by the pass,'' Morriss said. ``If you can't catch, you die.''
Matt Szymanski missed another field goal attempt with 14:52 left in the game. Two plays later, Blake Szymanski threw a 69-yard pass to David Gettis to the Aggies 3-yard line. Freshman fullback Jay Finley followed with his first career touchdown run as the Bears trimmed the deficit to 20-10.
But take away the long pass, and the Bears would've mustered less than 200 total yards.
``Today was probably our best all-around day defensively, all year,'' Franchione said.
A&M mounted an 11-play drive and McGee scored from 2 yards out with 5:39 to go. Backup quarterback Jerrod Johnson had a TD run with 1:42 left.