Bret Meyer threw for a career-high
371 yards and four touchdowns, and the defense held Aggie quarterback Reggie McNeal to 16 yards rushing and 221 yard passing in the Cyclones' 42-14 victory
over the Aggies on Saturday afternoon in
"This was a tremendous win for the
Cyclones," said Cyclone Head Coach Dan McCarney after the game, "and it was a
great day for
The Cyclones were not denied as they dominated both side of the ball. In addition to Meyer's day behind center, Todd Blythe had a career day with eight receptions for 214 yards and a school-record four touchdowns. In addition to the passing against the conference's worst pass defense, Stevie Hicks came back from an unspecified injury with 25 rushes for 124 yards and two touchdowns.
"It seems like it's been a whole season since I've been out there," quipped Hicks. "I was surprised that I got 25 carries. I didn't think that I was going to get that many, and I thought that they were going to limit me. But when things started to go good, they also finished good, too."
"We didn't honestly know if he was going to be able to carry twice or 20 times," McCarney said. "We just didn't know. Sunday and Tuesday, he ran full speed, and Wednesday and Thursday, he looked three-quarters speed, so we just didn't know."
Hicks ran the ball hard behind the blocking of the offensive line, and his two touchdowns were a career-high. However, the biggest difference with Hicks in the lineup was the ball security. There were no fumbles for the Cyclones as well as no turnovers for the entire game.
"The offense was great today," Hicks said. "We finally played to our potential, and we just have to keep doing that."
The offense started off the day with a 10-play, 80-yard drive that culminated with Blythe's first touchdown. It was a one-handed (left hand) catch with the Aggie defender in tight coverage. It was the second consecutive week in which the Cyclones scored on their first drive of the game, and it has been the only two times that has happened this season.
After the teams traded short drives, the Aggies began their next drive at their own 17. After a 10 yard completion, Courtney Lewis took a handoff from Reggie McNeal and broke through the line into an open secondary. The ensuing foot race was won by Lewis, and the Aggies had quickly tied the game up at seven.
The Cyclones broke the tie in the
second quarter with a 12-play, 80-yard drive. Hicks scored the first of his two
touchdowns with a two yard run. But A&M came back five plays later with a 64
yard sprint by McNeal down the left sideline with a cutback toward the center of
the field. However, a costly holding call on the Aggies brought the play back,
and the Aggies were forced to punt a few plays later.
The Cyclones got the ball right back at the beginning of the second half, but their drive didn't start well. After Hicks rushed for no gain, Meyer was sacked for a 10-yard loss back to the 15. On third and 20, Meyer made a big play on a quarterback draw to gain 21 yards and a first down. The Cyclones marched it down the field after that. On third and seven from their own 47, Meyer rolled right and found Blythe running across the field from the other side. Blythe made the catch and ran away from two Aggie defenders who ended up on the ground after the catch. The seven play, 75-yard drive made the score 21-7.
The defense picked up the pace in the second half and shut down the Aggies after a couple of first downs. The big play was made by Jamarr Buchanan, who tripped up McNeal for a four-yard loss on third down and three.
The defense stepped up again with DeAndre Jackson's third interception of the season three plays later, but they failed to capitalize on the turnover and were forced to punt.
Texas A&M started with the
ball on their 20 and marched down the field in 12 plays to score on a 9-yard
pass from McNeal to Jason Carter. This touchdown cut
"Our specials teams were outstanding again," said McCarney. "We've been begging our kids to force a turnover on our special teams because we haven't done it yet. Finally, Brandon Hunley knocked it loose. It was a big play in the game."
Four plays later, Hicks scored his
second touchdown of the game on a five-yard run. This increased the lead to
"We came into this game saying that we had to get at least three turnovers and give up zero or one," McCarney said. "And we won it 3-0. We felt that was going to be one of the biggest keys to the game."
The victory improved the Cyclones' record to 2-3 in the North Division and 5-3 overall. They are now tied for 3rd place with the Nebraska Cornhuskers. The Aggies fell to 3-2 in the South Division and 5-3 overall, which means they are now in 4th place. The Cyclones will prepare for their next contest on Saturday with a home date against the Kansas State Wildcats.