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Texas A&M 65, Sam Houston State 28

The SportsXchange

COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Johnny Manziel accounted for four touchdowns in his first start this season, leading No. 7 Texas A&M to a 65-28 rout over Sam Houston on Saturday night at Kyle Field.

Manziel, suspended for the first half of the season opener, passed for 426 yards and played less than three quarters for the 2-0 Aggies. Sophomore receiver Mike Evans racked up a career-high 155 yards receiving as Texas A&M rolled up more than 700 yards of offense.

The Aggies' season gets tougher in a hurry with top-ranked Alabama coming to College Station next week in the season's first game of the year. Texas A&M was the only team last season to beat the Crimson Tide on Alabama's way to a second straight national championship.

The tune-up against Sam Houston (1-1) wasn't without its issues. The Aggies gave up 240 yards rushing and several big plays against an FCS program that was a five-touchdown underdog.

The Bearkats, ranked fourth in the FCS, were led by running back Timothy Flanders. The two-time Southland Conference Player of the Year scored three touchdowns and rushed for 170 yards.

Manziel came out firing and the Aggies' offense found little resistance. Texas A&M scored on five of its first seven first-half possessions, with another ending with a missed field goal, in taking a 30-14 lead into the locker room.

Manziel reached 300 yards passing for the fifth time in his career, doing so with about five minutes left in the first half. The sophomore threw for 323 yards and two touchdowns at the break, to go along with 33 yards rushing.

Tra Carson scored A&M's first touchdown on a short run and Manziel connected with Sabian Holmes for a 27-yard score for a 14-7 lead. The Aggies had more than 200 yards in the first quarter.

Ben Malena had A&M's third touchdown, but Manziel had fired up the sellout crowd just before the score. The Heisman winner had bowled over a Sam Houston defensive back to momentarily get into the end zone. The play was reviewed and Manziel had stepped out of bounds early, but the impact and Manziel's reaction resonated around Kyle Field.

The Bearkats chewed up yards on the ground on their first march, much as Rice did the week before against A&M's depleted defense. Sam Houston traveled 74 yards on just six rushes, with Flanders going the final 11 for a touchdown.

Sam Houston added another score late in the first half on Brian Bell's 33-yard pass to Flanders.

NOTES: Despite the campuses being 53 miles apart, the Aggies and Bearkats have met just 11 times, with Saturday's game being just the third since 1941. Texas A&M is 11-0. ... The last time Texas A&M lost a home game to a non-conference opponent from the state of Texas was Sept. 18, 1954 when Texas Tech, then members of the Border Conference, handed the Aggies a 41-9 loss in Bear Bryant's debut game as A&M's head coach. ... Sam Houston is 3-26 against FBS squads since 1986. The last win came in 2011 at New Mexico.

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