ISU vs. A&M: By the Quarters

<b>AMES, IA --</b> Here is a quarter-by-quarter summary of the Cyclones' 31-point loss to Texas A&M Saturday night at Jack Trice Stadium.

First Quarter:

Aggie quarterback Reggie McNeal's feet got his team started, but it was his arm that got it on the board. The junior zigged and zagged through Iowa State's offense for 19 yards on the game's first play from scrimmage, then he proceeded to hit three consecutive passes later in the drive. His third pass hit L'Tydrick Riley over the middle for an 18-yard touchdown, giving A&M a 6-0 lead just 1:58 into regulation.

ISU's offense got started with a bang, thanks to some efficient play from Bret Meyer. The redshirt freshman hit Brett Kellogg for six yards, then hit an open Jon Davis for 11 yards on the following play. However, the drive would stall out in A&M territory when Stevie Hicks was stopped for no gain and Meyer misfired badly on a pair of passes.

The Aggies took over at their own 20-yard line and would get on the board again courtesy of a horrid call from a Big 12 official. On 3rd-and-10 near midfield, McNeal faced a rush and lofted a ball up for grabs in the left corner of the end zone. Nik Moser picked off the pass, but LaMarcus Hicks was flagged for pass interference. Two plays later, McNeal hit Joey Thomas for a 13-yard touchdown and made it 13-0.

A 16-play scoring drive would put the Cyclones on the board, but head coach Dan McCarney would have to settle for it being a 27-yard field goal from Brian Jansen. Meyer got his team going with a 20-yard connection to Davis on 3rd-and-10. Two plays later, he ran 17 yards on second down. However, the Cyclones would stall out at the 10-yard line when a pair of fade passes to Todd Blythe fell incomplete.

Advantage: Texas A&M.

Second Quarter:

Trailing by 10 points, ISU looked to gain some momentum when punter Troy Blankenship pinned the Aggies deep in their own territory early in the session. However, it was all for naught. McNeal spearheaded a 13-play scoring drive that spanned 96 yards and just over seven minutes.

The key play on the drive was a 23-yard pass to Jason Carter on 2nd-and-21. McNeal escaped two Cyclone defenders and a sure safety, and rolled to his left before completing the pass downfield. Tailback Courtney Lewis later put A&M in the red zone with a 20-yard run to the two, setting up a quarterback draw play by McNeal that made it 20-3 with 5:49 left in the half.

Advantage: Texas A&M.

Third Quarter:

Aggie defensive lineman Mike Montgomery set the tone right out of the locker room by intercepting an Austin Flynn pass on the first possession. That set up a three-play scoring drive by Texas A&M that would give it a 27-3 lead with 13:55 left in the quarter.

ISU at least picked up a few first downs on the ensuing drive, with Stevie Hicks rushing for 22 yards on 3rd-and-7 and Flynn hitting Brett Kellogg for 12 yards on the following play. However, Flynn would misfire on two attempts later in the drive to bring up a punting situation.

Mostly by themselves, Flynn and Stevie Hicks sparked the Cyclones on another drive late in the quarter. Flynn rushed four times for 23 yards, while Hicks tallied 34 by way of the ground. However, ISU would again stall in its opponent's territory. A&M took over after Cris Love's awful passing attempt on a fake field goal.

Advantage: Texas A&M.

Fourth Quarter:

The Aggies tacked on seven more points midway through the quarter when backup quarterback Ty Branyon connected with wide receiver DeQawn Mobley for an eight-yard touchdown pass. Mobley was wide open in the end zone in pulling down the pass that gave A&M a 34-3 lead with just under six minutes to play.

ISU's biggest play of the fourth quarter, much yet the game, turned out to be a Flynn-to-Davis hail mary late in the game. Flynn rolled to his right and lofted a pass to Davis at the 11-yard line. But as the Cyclones' luck went Saturday night, three plays later they would turn it over on downs at the 17.

Advantage: Texas A&M.


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