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By Scott Crumbly
SEC Digital Network
COLLEGE STATION, Tex. – Saturday was a monumental day for Texas A&M. Not only was it the beginning of the Kevin Sumlin era in College Station, but it was also the day that the Aggies played their first ever Southeastern Conference game. The Florida Gators, led by head coach Will Muschamp, played the role of spoiler by handing the Aggies their first loss as a member of the SEC, 20-17.
In what turned out to be a physical affair, the Aggies (0-1) put on an offensive show in their inaugural half of SEC football, racking up 269 total yards - including 101 rushing yards - in the first two quarters of action with Manziel and Christine Michael both finding the end zone on the ground.
Florida (2-0) quarterback Jeff Driskel completed all six of his first half passes, but he was sacked five times before the half by a TAMU defense that led the nation in that department in 2011. The Gators manufactured a field goal from Caleb Sturgis at the end of the second period and trailed by only a touchdown at the break, despite the Aggies outgaining them by over 160 yards in the first 30 minutes.
Things got interesting in the fourth quarter when Florida running back Mike Gillislee tip-toed up the sideline and into the end zone to give the Gators a 20-17 lead 13 minutes to play. Gillislee’s 12-yard run, his second score of the afternoon, capped off a 62-yard drive that took UF just four plays and rounded out a 13-0 scoring run for the Gators.
Texas A&M tried to answer, but the Aggies were halted by the Florida defense, which improved its play markedly after halftime. The Gators assumed possession with 3:13 remaining and effectively drained the remaining time off the clock to seal the victory.
The Florida defense held TAMU to 65 yards of total offense in the second half to open the door for the UF offense. Driskel did not find the end zone, but he was efficient (13-of-16 passing) and did not turn the ball over for Florida.
Passing – Johnny Manziel, 23-of-30, 173 yards
Rushing – Johnny Manziel, 17 car, 60 yards, TD
Receiving – Mike Evans, 7 rec, 60 yards
Passing – Jeff Driskel, 13-of-16, 162 yards
Rushing – Mike Gillislee, 14 car, 83 yards, 2 TD
Receiving – Jordan Reed, 5 rec, 59 yards