Aggies Roll Over Cowboys

Mike Gundy was concerned what may happen taking a young, inexperienced team into Texas A&M's Kyle Field, one of the toughest places to play in the Big 12 Conference. The worst fears were realized for the Cowboys, who played without starting quarterback Bobby Reid and senior linebackers Pagitte McGee and Lawrence Pinson, as Texas A&M rolled to a 62-23 victory on Saturday in College Station.

The Cowboys, now 3-3 after opening the season with three consecutive victories, turned the ball over seven times and allowed Texas A&M nearly 700 yards of total offense. Quarterback Al Pena, filling in for Reid (who did not make the trip because of a foot injury suffered in last week's loss to Missouri), struggled in his first collegiate start. Pena was just 13 of 32 passing and was intercepted four times and fumbled once (on the Cowboys' first play from scrimmage).

But the OSU defense struggled for the second week in a row. A&M quarterback Reggie McNeal had 413 total yards (150 rushing and 263 passing) just one week after the Cowboys allowed Missouri's Brad Smith 377 yards of total offense. The Aggies scored on their first five possessions – taking a 27-3 lead just 20 minutes into the game – and didn't punt until late in the third quarter.

"It's part of the growth preiod we're going through," Cowboy head coach Mike Gundy said. "We got outcoached and we got outplayed today. We didn't do a good job of preparing them to play. We weren't fundamentally sound on their option. We couldn't stop their option. The worst thing that we could have done was to let (McNeal) get on a roll.

"There are a lot of young players on this team. That's not an excuse. We just need to continue to work hard and get better."

The 62 points was the most allowed by the Cowboys since Nebraska defeated OSU 64-21 in the season opener in 1995.

As ridiculous as it sounds, though, the Cowboys had their chances. Pena directed a pair of scoring drives in the second quarter as Oklahoma State pulled within 27-17 at halftime. Pena threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to fullback John Johnson and Julius Crosslin rambled into the end zone on a 2-yard scoring run to make it a 10-point game. The Cowboys then blocked an A&M field goal late in the first half, and had some momentum going in at halftime, and received the opening kickoff of the season half.

But after driving to the A&M 48-yard line, Pena threw deep to freshman receiver Ricky Price. A&M's Jaxson Appel made the interception (the first of four Aggie picks in the second half), and the Aggies then drove 98 yards for a touchdown. Instead of pulling within 27-24 (or maybe 27-20 if they would have been forced to kick a field goal), the Cowboys were trailing 34-17. Texas A&M would go on to outscore OSU 35-6 in the second half.

One of the few good performances for the Cowboys was the play of redshirt freshman tailback Mike Hamilton who had 97 rushing yards on 12 carries. Also, Daniel McLemore, who entered the game ranked 16th in the nation on kickoff returns with a 30.4 yard average, had five returns for 155 yards (31 yards per kick)to give the Cowboys good field possession throughout the game.

The Cowboys are on the road again next week when they travel to Ames, Iowa, to face Iowa State. The Cyclones are also 3-3 after losing to Missouri 27-24 in overtime on Saturday.

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