CBS (Houston) – College football season is finally here and it got off to a great start tonight with the Texas A&M Aggies beating the Arizona State Sun Devils 38-17 in the Advocare Texas Kickoff at NRG Stadium. What many thought would be a back and forth game of high powered offenses, turned out to be defensive battle for the first three quarters of the game.
Both teams got off to a slow start offensively with the first five drives of the game ending without any points on the board for either team. Texas A&M would be the first to break the silence by scoring late in the first quarter on a nine yard screen pass from Kyle Allen to Tra Carson to cap off a nine play 94 yard drive in the first quarter.
The Aggies would score again at the start of the second quarter with true freshman Christian Kirk returning an Arizona State punt 79 yards for the touchdown putting the Texas A&M up 14-0. However, the Sun Devils would answer back after stifling the Aggies’ momentum midway through the second quarter with a fumble recovery and 4 yard pass play on the very next play making the game 14-7.
As both offenses struggled to move the ball, the big story of the game was the juggling of quarterbacks by Texas A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin. True freshman Kyler Murray entered the game with two minutes left in the first half and showed flashes of why he was such a highly touted recruit, driving 49 yard down the field with 24 yards on 3 rushes and 25 yards on two pass completions.
Allen would come back out in the game after halftime but was pulled once again in favor of Murray after 2 drives for a total five yards with one ending in an interception. Murray once again showed flashes with his running ability, but struggled to find his receivers downfield, throwing an interception on his first drive.
The Texas A&M defense, which had been a stalwart all game, began to crack in the third quarter allowing a 75 yard drive by Arizona State with quarterback Mike Bercovici scoring the touchdown on a 19 yard scramble.
Sumlin was forced to put Allen back into the game at quarterback when Murray reportedly suffered a hip injury and was forced to leave the game. On Allen’s first drive in the fourth quarter, he led the Aggies offense 84 yards for the score, capped off by a 15 yard Carson rushing touchdown to put the Aggies up 24-14.
Arizona State would try to respond late in the fourth quarter but the Aggies defense would hold them in the red zone forcing the Sun Devils to kick a field goal with five minutes left in the game making the score 24-17. The Aggies would answer quickly in the next drive going 75 yards in 2 plays with a 66 yard touchdown pass from Allen to Kirk to put the Texas A&M up 31-17 on a 66 yard touchdown pass from Allen to Kirk.
Texas A&M would seal the game with 1:38 to go in the fourth after a forced fumble by junior defensive end Daeshon Hall which would lead the Aggies to a 10 yard touchdown run to put the them up 38-17.
Texas A&M will face Ball State in College Station next Saturday at 6 p.m.
Follow Josh Beard on Twitter @thesargejb