7:05 PM ET, September 1, 2007
Kyle Field, College Station, TX
COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP) -- No. 25 Texas A&M wasn't great in its 38-7 season-opening win over Montana State on Saturday night.
But coach Dennis Franchione couldn't really be upset. After all, the Aggies walked away with a win over their scrappy opponent from the Football Championship Subdivision, formerly known as Division I-AA.
"We're not Michigan tonight," Franchione said, referring to Appalachian State's 34-32 win over No. 5 Michigan earlier in the day. "Keep this in perspective. 38-7 and we're 1-0 and I'm going to take a positive out of it."
Stephen McGee had 112 yards passing and added 121 yards rushing and two touchdowns to lead the way for the Aggies. The Bobcats scored first but the Aggies scored 38 straight points to improve to 5-0 in home openers under Franchione.
The Bobcats outgained the Aggies and controlled the clock, but couldn't finish drives, missing three field goals and losing a fumble deep in Aggies territory.
"Heaven knows we've got plenty to work on," Franchione said. "But we did a lot of good things tonight. I don't feel bad."
McGee scored a career-long 65-yard run in the first quarter and made it 31-7 on a 3-yard run early in the fourth. He was replaced by backup Jerrod Johnson midway through the fourth quarter.
The Aggies passing game was shaky early with McGee going 4-of-7 for 47 yards in the first half.
"We had some typical communication mistakes and some stupid penalties that kind of set us back," McGee said. "We were moving the ball good and then we shot ourselves in the foot."
McGee looked better after halftime, completing consecutive passes of 9, 9 and 15 yards to tight end Martellus Bennett on the first drive of the third quarter to set up A&M's next score. McGee completed 10 of 20 passes with a long throw of 23 yards.
Mike Goodson jumped over one player at the line and danced his way 18 yards for a touchdown to finish that drive and make it 24-7 early in the third quarter. Goodson finished with 10 carries for 65 yards and had two receptions for 29 yards.
"He's on fire and we want to get the ball in his hands because he can make good things happen," McGee said of Goodson.
Jordan Peterson fumbled a punt which Montana State recovered, but the Bobcats were left empty when Eric Fisher's 28-yard field goal attempt sailed wide left in the third quarter. He also missed one from 42 yards later in that quarter and another from 39 yards in the fourth quarter.
The Bobcats, in their first season under coach Rob Ash, opened last season with a 19-10 upset of Colorado in Boulder and jumped out to an early lead in this one.
An 8-yard touchdown pass from Jack Rolovich to Elliott Barnhart capped a 13-play, 83-yard drive to start the game. Rolovich found Barnhart in the corner and the big tight end barreled into the end zone untouched to put Montana State ahead 7-0 with 9:44 left in the first quarter.
Rolovich was 21-of-39 for 267 yards.
"They definitely came out with some stuff we weren't prepared for," Aggies linebacker Mark Dodge said. "It was a little bit of a shock. We had to get ourselves going and we did."
A 34-yard field goal by Matt Szymanski on Texas A&M's first possession made it 7-3.
McGee gave Texas A&M its first lead on a 65-yard touchdown run that made it 10-7 with 2:54 remaining in the first quarter.
Goodson had runs of 34- and 13-yards to set up a 2 yard touchdown run by Jorvorskie Lane that made it 17-7 with midway through the second quarter. The 268-pound tailback lowered his head and knocked the helmet off his defender as he bulled into the end zone.
"McGee with his speed, Jorvorskie is huge and all their weapons made it very difficult," Ash said. "When they spread those guys out, it makes it very difficult."
The Bobcats exploited Texas A&M's secondary throughout the first half, piling up 205 yards passing. A 50-yard pass from Rolovich to Josh Lewis, who got in front of two Aggies defenders, late in the second half got Montana State to the 12-yard line. But two plays later, Rolovich was sacked by Chris Harrington and fumbled which the Aggies recovered to leave the score at 17-7 at halftime.
"I was happy with our offense and it showed we have a great future," Ash said. "The most pleasing thing was the performance of our offensive line. That was the area I had the most concern about going into the game."
The Aggies were better in the second half, allowing just 99 yards passing after halftime.
Johnson, in his debut, stretched Texas A&M's lead to 38-7 with 17-yard touchdown pass to Terrence McCoy with 1:20 left in the game.
Top 25 Overview
It was over when... The Aggies' defense woke up. Texas A&M allowed Montana State to jump to a 7-0 lead, but that was the last time the Bobcats would get near the end zone.
Gameball goes to... Stephen McGee. As a QB, his numbers weren't anything special. But McGee led the Aggies in rushing, carrying the ball eight times for 124 yards and two TDs.
Stat of the game... 2.9. The Bobcats led the Aggies in first downs and total yards and had fewer penalties. But on the ground, they gained an average of just 2.9 yards -- 5 less than A&M.