Texas A&M knocks out Iowa State

When the ISU homecoming committee scanned the calendar last year, they circled October 9, 2004 as the perfect choice for this year's festivities. Unfortunately for the Cyclones, the Aggies from Texas came to town and rained on their parade.

Texas A&M (4-1,2-0) manhandled Iowa State (2-3,0-2) 34-3 Saturday night in front of 44,307 at Jack Trice Stadium. It was the first road win for the Aggies under head coach Dennis Franchione and the fourth consecutive victory for a team that hasn't strung together this many back-to-back wins since 2001. The victory matches last year's four wins and catapults A&M into Stillwater, Oklahoma, where they'll face an undefeated Oklahoma State Cowboys team.

Aggie quarterback Reggie McNeal finished the game 16-for-27 with no interceptions, extending his interception-free streak to 132 attempts dating back to the final game of 2003. At one point the junior QB led A&M on a 96-yard scoring drive. McNeal gained 237 yards of total offense and accounted for four touchdowns (three passing, one rushing).

Iowa State DL Nick Leaders was impressed with McNeal: "We tried to keep him contained, but he (McNeal) is a great athlete. He's a great passer when he has time to sit back in the pocket and read the defense. When he has the time he's as good as any quarterback in the nation."

The Aggie defense slammed the door on Iowa State's comeback attempt on the first play of the second half. Senior DE Mike Montgomery intercepted ISU QB Austin Flynn and returned the ball 14 yards to the ISU 17. A&M scored two plays later, making the score 27-3.

Iowa State's starting quarterback, Bret Meyer, left the game at the end of the second quarter after a brutal hit and did not return for the remainder of the game. A&M's back-up QB, Ty Branyon, also saw playing time in the game. Branyon finished the game 3 of 4 for 34 yards passing, including an 8-yard TD toss to DeQawn Mobley.

Following the game, Iowa State head coach Dan McCarney talked about Texas A&M: "They have an outstanding football team, and they are as good as anybody we will play this year. Coach Franchione has done an outstanding job in turning the program around."

The Texas A&M-Oklahoma State game on October 16 kicks off at 6 p.m. (CDT) and will be televised nationally by FOX Sports Net.

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