Wyoming Falls To Texas A&M, 31-0
Sept. 11, 2004
By JOEL ANDERSON
COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP) - Reggie McNeal threw for 298 yards, including an 84-yard touchdown to freshman Kerry Franks, and ran for another score to lead 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 Field with a dominant performance after a 20-point loss at Utah to open the season.
Justin Warren returned an interception 23 yards for a touchdown, Chris Alexander scored on a 1-yard plunge and Keith Joseph rushed for 82 yards in the Aggies' 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 its best 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 tailback Courtney Lewis with his best performance since rushing for 105 yards against Wyoming in 2001.
Lewis, who last year became the first 1,000-yard rusher at A&M since Dante Hall in 1998, didn't even suit up. He was slowed by a leg injury throughout summer practices and rushed for only 44 yards against Utah.
Terrence Murphy, A&M's career receiving leader, was also injured after catching a 9-yard pass in the third quarter. He spent the rest of the game on the sidelines.
Despite missing a couple of offensive stars, A&M probably could have won by a lot more.
Wyoming (1-1) twice stopped the Aggies inside the 5-yard line, stuffing Alexander on a fourth-and-1 in the first quarter and sniffing out holder Chad Schroeder's run on a fake field-goal attempt in the third.
But McNeal, who had minor surgery on his left (non-throwing) thumb last week, 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 this year, on a long pass midway through the fourth. Franks shook off a tackle at about the 20 and scored his first college touchdown. Franks finished with five catches for 128 yards.
Wyoming did almost nothing right after routing Division I-AA Appalachian State 53-7 last week.
Cowboys quarterback Corey Bramlet, who threw for two touchdowns in his first start last week, was benched for J.J. Raterink after the first series of the second quarter and didn't return until late in the third.
Raterink was intercepted by Warren on the first play of the second half, and the linebacker took it 23 yards for a touchdown.
Bramlet finished 8-of-20 for 103 yards with two interceptions, while Raterink was 11-of-16 for 81 yards and an interception. Wyoming was ineffective on the ground, particularly after tailback Ivan Harris sat out the second half following an undisclosed injury.
Texas A&M has won all three games between both schools by a combined score of 105-20.