By Scott Crumbly
SEC Digital Network
COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Kevin Sumlin and his No. 7 Aggies welcomed Rice to Kyle Field on Saturday, and TAMU sent their in-state brethren back to Houston with a 58-31 defeat to open the season. Offense was the theme of the afternoon, as the two teams combined for 993 total yards and 89 points.
Texas A&M (1-0) faced an early deficit after the Owls (0-1) marched 96 yards for a score in just five plays on their first drive. Rice quarterback Taylor McHargue broke loose for a 57-yard run down the left side of the field to set up a 1-yard TD for Charles Ross, but the Aggies answered back with a 10-play, 75-yard drive of their own that ended with a Ben Malena touchdown run.
Quarterback Matt Joeckel orchestrated three touchdown drives in the second quarter for Texas A&M, and the Ags went into the locker room with a 28-21 win, setting the stage for Johnny Manziel to take over in the third quarter.
Manziel led A&M to 10 points on his first two drives in the second half, and the redshirt sophomore finished the afternoon with three touchdowns. Wide-out Mike Evans hauled in a pair of touchdowns on the day, rounding out the game with 84 yards on six grabs. True freshman Ricky Seals-Jones snagged three receptions in his collegiate debut for a team-high 85 yards and a score.
Ben Malena carried 12 times for A&M, racking up 81 yards to go along with his rushing touchdown in the first quarter.
Charles Ross ran for 109 yards and two touchdowns for Rice, while McHargue threw a pair of touchdowns through the air. The Aggie defense picked off McHargue twice on the afternoon, however, stunting Rice’s effort to keep pace with the high-octane Texas A&M offense.
Despite the large differential in scoring, Rice outgained the Aggies on offense by a final tally of 508 yards to 485.
Passing – Matt Joeckel, 14-for-19, 191 yards, TD
Rushing – Ben Malena, 12 car, 81 yards, TD
Receiving – Ricky Seals-Jones, 3 rec, 85 yards, TD
Passing – Taylor McHargue, 18-for-30, 182 yards, 2 TD, 2 INT
Rushing – Charles Ross, 20 car, 109 yards, 2 TD
Receiving – Jordan Taylor, 7 rec, 69 yards, TD
• Hailing from Houston, the Owls are Texas A&M’s fourth most commonly faced opponent. The only teams the Aggies have faced more often are former Big 12 foes Texas (118 meetings) and Baylor (108), along with a third Texas school in TCU (92).
• Texas A&M now has 51 wins against Rice all-time. The only teams A&M has beaten more often in its history are Baylor (68 wins) and TCU (56).
• TAMU is 61-5 at home in non-conference games dating back to 1985.
• Kevin Sumlin is now 3-2 in his career against Rice, having faced the Owls four times during his days at Houston and splitting the series 2-2.