Texas A&M 28, Wyoming 20
By ROBERT W. BLACK
Associated Press Writer
LARAMIE, Wyo. - Mark Farris saved Texas A&M on its first trip toWyoming's chilly high country.
The Aggies quarterback kept the Cowboys on their heels all night, passingfor a career-high 341 yards and completing 12 of 14 on third down to lead A&Mto a 28-20 win Thursday night.
The game started in 50-degree weather and finished in near-40 degreeconditions, cool even for Laramie and its 7,200-foot elevation.
"We won the game and that's what counts," said Farris, whose 38-yardscoring strike to Dwain Goynes with 7:31 left clinched it. "This is a toughplace to play. This game was the game of the year for Wyoming, but we came outon top."
Joe Weber added three short scoring runs as the Aggies had 507 yards inoffense, including 166 on the ground. Redshirt freshman Keith Joseph led allrushers with 105 yards on 21 carries.
Still, Texas A&M's failure to put the game out of reach and last week'sstruggles with McNeese State leave doubts about whether the Aggies are ready tochallenge for the Big 12 Conference title.
"We're happy to come on the road and get a win, but we did not execute inany phase of the game," Aggies coach R.C. Slocum said. "Our objective was tocome up here and get a win, and we did that, but it's obvious we have a lot ofwork to do."
While converting on 11 of 17 third downs, the Aggies were also penalized 11times for 82 yards, and kicker Cody Scates missed three field goals and anextra point. Another miscue occurred late in the first half when a 60-yard A&Mdrive ended with Wyoming's Lamar James picking off a pass by Farris in the endzone.
The game remained in doubt until the Aggies' Jarrod Penright sacked Cowboyquarterback Casey Bramlet and forced a fumble for a 13-yard loss at the Wyoming42 with about two minutes left. The Cowboys recovered the ball, but a long passon fourth-and-23 fell incomplete.
"I'm disappointed that we haven't played up to our potential yet," TexasA&M linebacker Brian Gamble said. "Wyoming came in here fired up and playedextremely hard. We had several opportunities to put them away, but we didn't doit."
For Wyoming, which lost 51-3 at College Station during last year's 1-10season, it was a bitter defeat.
"It's a hugely disappointing loss," Cowboys coach Vic Koenning said."It's one we let get away. Our biggest enemy was ourselves. I feel like I'venot done a good job because of the mistakes that we've made."
Defensive breakdowns were crippling, he said.
"I look at all of those third downs, starting in the second quarter when itwas always somebody busting," he said. "It was always somebody not leadingtheir keys and not coming where they're supposed to."
Texas A&M held a 507-273 advantage in total offense, but the fact theCowboys were within striking distance at the end buoyed the Cowboys' hopes.
"We all looked at the scoreboard and it was like 'Dang, we lost,"' saidWyoming running back Nate Scott, who had 72 yards rushing on 13 carries. "Butwe looked deep into ourselves and everybody put out their effort, put theireffort into the game."
Farris' previous best was 311 yards against Baylor last year. His 30completions also are a career high. He finished 30-of-42, including 18-of-25for 177 yards in the first half.
After trailing 21-14 at the half, Wyoming closed to 21-20 on Jarvis Wallum's25-yard field goal with 2:18 left in the third quarter. His 52-yarder, acareer-best, cut A&M's lead to 21-17 nine minutes earlier.
Interceptions by Sammy Davis and Jonte Buhl led to 21 straight first-halfpoints by Texas A&M after Wyoming jumped to a 7-0 lead. All three touchdownswere 1-yard runs by Weber.
Bramlet, who was 11-of-26 for 171 yards, hit Malcom Floyd for a 30-yardtouchdown pass to draw Wyoming to 21-14 with 3:47 left in the first half.
Davis' interception, his third of the season, and 18-yard return set upWeber's third TD, which came at 7:37 of the second quarter and a conversionpass from Farris to Bethel Johnson put the Aggies up 21-7.
Earlier in the quarter, Weber's second score snapped a 7-all tie and cappeda nine-play, 62-yard drive.
Weber's first TD came after Jay Brooks tipped a pass by Bramlet and Buhlintercepted at the Wyoming 49.
Scott scored from 4 yards on Wyoming's opening drive, aided by two A&Mpenalties: a late hit by Brooks and a pass interference call against Gamble.