Texas A&M 26, Arkansas St. 11

Updated: August 30, 2003, 11:22 PM ET

COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Courtney Lewis rushed for two touchdowns to help Dennis Franchione win his first game as Texas A&M's coach, 26-11 over Arkansas State on Saturday night.

Terrence Murphy set up a 4-yard touchdown by Lewis with a 77-yard kickoff return in the third quarter, after earlier setting up a field goal by Todd Pegram with a 58-yard kickoff return. Pegram kicked field goals of 42, 32 and 35 yards in the second quarter as the Aggies took a 9-3 halftime lead.

He added a 30-yarder in the third quarter that gave Texas A&M a 19-3 lead.

The Indians tried to get back into the game when Texas A&M's Terrence Thomas fumbled after catching a pass and Arkansas State's Steven Tookes picked it up and ran 35 yards for a touchdown. Clinton Roy ran in the 2-point conversion to make it 19-11 with 5:53 left.

Lewis sealed the game with a 42-yard touchdown run with 3:06 remaining.

Murphy took away attention from the anticipated battle between Reggie McNeal and Dustin Long for the starting quarterback job before a record opening game Kyle Field crowd of 75,804.

McNeal, who came off the bench to lead A&M over No. 1 ranked Oklahoma last year, got the nod for the opening series and played the first quarter and third quarters. Long, the starter much of last season, played in the second and part of the fourth periods.

McNeal completed 7 of 13 passes for 82 yards and Long finished 5-for-7 for 44 yards. Each threw an interception. Lewis, a redshirt freshman, had 74 yards rushing on 13 carries.

The Aggies rejuvenation got off to a slow start however with the Aggies punting on their first two possessions before Pegram kicked his 42-yarder into the wind on the first play of the second quarter.

The Indians then got their only sustained drive of the first half going with Elliot Jacobs throwing passes of 11 and 13 yards to Mike Cox and 24 yards to Jerome Stegall to set up Eric Niehouse's 22-yard field goal.

Arkansas State quarterback Elliot Jacobs completed 11 of 20 passes for 94 yards and one interception.

This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index