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September 19, 2009

A&M holds off pesky Utah State 38-30

COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Jerrod Johnson threw three of his four touchdown passes to freshman Uzoma Nwachukwu and Texas A&M overcame injuries to two of its top playmakers in a 38-30 win over Utah State on Saturday.

Johnson completed 21 of 41 passes for 322 yards and Nwachukwu also ran for a score for A&M (2-0), which lost sophomore receiver Jeff Fuller and freshman running back Christine Michael to leg injuries. Fuller was coming off a career-best, 10-catch performance in the season opener against New Mexico and Michael rushed for 94 yards on Saturday before he was hurt.

Diondre Borel threw for 334 yards with a touchdown and also ran for two scores for Utah State (0-2), which has lost eight straight road games and its last 10 games against Big 12 opponents.

A&M started off slowly, allowing Utah State to take leads of 7-0 and 14-7 in the first quarter. However, Randy Bullock gave the home team the lead for good with a 31-yard field goal in the second quarter to make it 17-14.

Nwachukwu scored his third touchdown of the game, this time on a 16-yard pass from Johnson, to give A&M a 24-14 lead at halftime.

The second half started off in much the same manner as Johnson hit Nwachukwu on a 50-yard pass for his fourth score of the night and then opened the fourth quarter with a 10-yard touchdown pass to Ryan Tannehill.

A&M seemed to be rolling at the point, leading 38-17. However, Utah State would not go away.

Borel, who struggled throwing the ball in an opening week loss to Utah, managed to find a rhythm both passing and running. He led his team down the field on two long drives for touchdowns.

He connected with Omar Sawyer on a 19-yard touchdown pass, but the Aggies missed the ensuing two-point conversion attempt. It cut A&M's lead to 38-23. After an unsuccessful onside kick attempt that was recovered by A&M back-up quarterback Tommy Dorman, the Utah State defense stepped up and stopped the home team.

Borel again marched his team down the field, ending the drive with a 3-yard touchdown run on fourth and goal to make it an eight-point game, 38-30. This time, they recovering the onside kick with 0:25 left in the game.

It was too little, too late for the visiting Aggies, though. After two incomplete passes, a fumble was recovered by Texas A&M freshman linebacker Sean Porter to seal the win and hold off an upset bid.

Running back Robert Turbin also came up big for Utah State, scoring the game's first touchdown on a 50-yard run. He finished with 121 yards on only 13 carries while also adding five reception for 61 yards.

A&M suffered several injuries in the loss as Michael, Fuller and offensive tackle Lee Grimes all left the game without returning. The statuses of all three are unknown.

Texas A&M hosts UAB next Saturday in their third straight appearance at Kyle Field before taking on Arkansas in the inaugural Southwest Class at the new Dallas Cowboy Stadium.


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