September 6, 2008

Johnson steps in to lead A&M to win

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP)- Jerrod Johnson replaced the injured Stephen McGee and threw three touchdown passes as Texas A&M gave coach Mike Sherman his first win with the Aggies, 28-22 over New Mexico on Saturday.

Texas A&M (1-1), making its first trip to Albuquerque, survived New Mexico's swarming defensive scheme and bounced back from an embarrassing season-opening loss, 18-14 to Arkansas State.

Johnson completed 10-of-19 for 124 yards in place of McGee, who sprained his right shoulder on the opening series and didn't return. Aggies running back Mike Goodson also left with a sprained right knee, through he briefly returned in the second half.

Rodney Ferguson had 135 yards rushing and two touchdowns for New Mexico (0-2). He broke free on a 45-yard burst in the first quarter and added a late 1-yard TD run as the Lobos rallied for two scores in the final six minutes.

It wasn't enough to offset Johnson, who performed well under a full day of defensive pressure, and the Lobos couldn't overcome too many offensive mistakes.

Texas A&M made it 21-7 just before halftime, when Johnson threw a 6-yard TD pass to true freshman wide receiver Jeff Fuller to cap a 93-yard drive. Fuller muscled the ball away from New Mexico cornerback DeAndre Wright.

The Lobos trailed 14-0 after Donovan Porterie's two early interceptions. He also had a fourth-quarter fumble that led to another Texas A&M touchdown.

Texas A&M's Jordan Peterson returned Porterie's first pick for a 48-yard TD. On the next series, Arkeith Brown took another interception 11 yards to New Mexico's 20 to set up Johnson's 21-yard TD strike to Fuller.

Still, the Lobos trailed 21-10 in the third quarter and seemed to be gaining traction when trouble struck again.

New Mexico's Ian Clark had a 32-yard punt return into Texas A&M territory but the Lobos couldn't capitalize when Paul Baker fumbled a few plays later. After forcing another Texas A&M punt, Clark broke a 34-yard return.

That's when Porterie mishandled a snap, and Texas A&M's Michael Bennett picked it up and rumbled 37 yards. The big lineman missed out on a touchdown because he stepped out at New Mexico's 22.

From there, Johnson connected with tight end Jamie McCoy on a 9-yard touchdown pass to put the Aggies ahead 28-10 with 13:20 remaining.

Porterie was 22-of-35 for 154 yards with two interceptions.

The Lobos, who have lost 11 straight games when the opponent scores first, dropped last weekend's opener to TCU. New Mexico's most recent 0-2 start under coach Rocky Long came during the 2000 season.



 

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