COLLEGE STATION, Tex. -- Mike Gillislee rushed for 83 yards on 14 attempts and scored both Florida touchdowns in a tense 20-17 victory over Texas A&M in the Aggies' first Southeastern Conference game.
Johnny Manziel of Texas A&M completed 23-of-30 passes for 173 yards in his first career start, which was also Kevin Sumlin's first game as the head coach for the Aggies. Manziel also carried the ball 17 times for 60 yards.
Florida (2-0) got huge help in the final minutes with a face mask penalty against the Aggies and a 12-yard run by Solomon Patton that moved the ball near midfield with under two minutes lef, and Florida was able to run out the clock.
The Aggies (0-1) had just 64 yards of total offense in the second half.
SEC commissioner Mike Slive was participated in the coin toss before the game. He headed to the airport before halftime to make the trek to Missouri for the Tigers' game with Georgia in order to see both historic SEC firsts.
Sllive also was at the Yell practice, something of a prep rally and an A&M tradition, on Friday night that was attended by 40,000 fans.
"Everything that we thought was A&M has proven out to be A&M,'' Slive said before kickoff.
Manziel led Texas A&M on a 66-yard drive to open the game, which ended on 27-yard field goal by Taylor Bertolet.
Florida responded with a 75 yard drive led by the passing of Jeff Driskel, who completed 13-of-16 for 162 yards in the game, and the running of Gillislee, who scored on four-yard run with 3:51 left in the first quarter.
There were 200 yards of total offense between the two teams in the first quarter. A 10-play drive finished off by a one-yard score on a direct snap by Christine Michael made it 17-7 at 7:01.
Caleb Sturgis kicked a 51-yard field goal with 1:49 left in the half, after first missing only to have an A&M time out give him a second chance. That pulled the Gators to within 17-10 at halftime.
Sturgis added a 25-yard field goal early in the second half but Texas A&M's talented defensive front rushed Driskel and kept ringing up some clutch sacks until the Gators' quick four-play, 62-yard drive put them ahead when Gillislee tip-toed down the sideline and scored from 12 yards out with 13:05 left in the game.
The big play in the drive was a 38-yard pass from Driskel to Omarius Hines to move the ball to the A&M 19. From there, Solomon Patton gained seven yards on first down, leading to Gillislee's score. Florida's defense took over at that point, shutting down an A&M offense that looked like it would roll over the Gators in the first half.
NOTES: SEC Commissioner Mike Slive said negotiations on the league's TV package with the expansion is ongoing. "We've been talking about that with our TV partners," Slive said. "We're in negotiations, we have been in negotiations now for several months.'' . . . The SEC and Big 12 are also dealing with bids concerning the new Champions Bowl sites. Slive said that no decisions will be made until possibly late September or early October. . . Caleb Sturgis' first half field goal was the seventh of his career of more than 50 yards.