Sept. 11, 2004
By JOEL ANDERSON
AP Sports Writer
COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP) - Reggie McNeal threw for 298 yards, includingan 84-yard touchdown to freshman Kerry Franks, and ran for another score tolead Texas A&M to a 31-0 win over Wyoming on Saturday.
Texas A&M won its 17th straight home opener, bouncing back at Kyle Fieldwith a dominant performance after a 20-point loss at Utah to open the season.
Justin Warren returned an interception 23 yards for a touchdown, ChrisAlexander scored on a 1-yard plunge and Keith Joseph rushed for 82 yards in theAggies' first shutout since a 41-0 win over Baylor in 2002.
The Aggies, who gave up 582 yards against the Utes, turned in one of itsbest defensive efforts since coach Dennis Franchione took over last season.Wyoming gained only 181 yards, including minus-3 yards on the ground.
Joseph, who ran for 64 yards all last season, replaced injured tailbackCourtney Lewis with his best performance since rushing for 105 yards againstWyoming in 2001.
Lewis, who last year became the first 1,000-yard rusher at A&M since DanteHall in 1998, didn't even suit up. He was slowed by a leg injury throughoutsummer practices and rushed for only 44 yards against Utah.
Terrence Murphy, A&M's career receiving leader, was also injured aftercatching a 9-yard pass in the third quarter. He spent the rest of the game onthe sidelines.
Despite missing a couple of offensive stars, A&M probably could have won bya lot more.
Wyoming (1-1) twice stopped the Aggies inside the 5-yard line, stuffingAlexander on a fourth-and-1 in the first quarter and sniffing out holder ChadSchroeder's run on a fake field-goal attempt in the third.
But McNeal, who had minor surgery on his left (non-throwing) thumb lastweek, showed little problem moving the Aggies. He completed 17 of 24 passes,ran for 44 yards and committed no turnovers.
McNeal scored the game's first touchdown on a third-and-11 from the 22,scampering untouched down the center of the field after dropping back to pass.
He also hooked up with Franks, the only true freshman to play for A&M thisyear, on a long pass midway through the fourth. Franks shook off a tackle atabout the 20 and scored his first college touchdown. Franks finished with fivecatches for 128 yards.
Wyoming did almost nothing right after routing Division I-AA AppalachianState 53-7 last week.
Cowboys quarterback Corey Bramlet, who threw for two touchdowns in his firststart last week, was benched for J.J. Raterink after the first series of thesecond quarter and didn't return until late in the third.
Raterink was intercepted by Warren on the first play of the second half, andthe linebacker took it 23 yards for a touchdown.
Bramlet finished 8-of-20 for 103 yards with two interceptions, whileRaterink was 11-of-16 for 81 yards and an interception. Wyoming was ineffectiveon the ground, particularly after tailback Ivan Harris sat out the second halffollowing an undisclosed injury.
Texas A&M has won all three games between both schools by a combined scoreof 105-20.