Published September 05, 2011
| Sports Network
College Station, TX – Texas A&M began its final season in the ranked Aggies trounced SMU, 46-14, in dominating fashion.
Cyrus Gray and Christine Michael combined for 217 yards and four touchdowns on the ground, and Ryan Tannehill added 246 yards and two scores through the air for the Aggies (1-0), who announced earlier this week they were leaving the conference they helped form in 1996.
Texas A&M did not announce where it's headed, though a switch to the Southeastern Conference is expected.
SMU (0-1) has been rumored as the Big 12 fill-in should the conference remain afloat, but the Mustangs didn't do themselves any favors in allowing 458 yards in the season opener.
Kyle Padron, who threw for 3,828 yards and 31 touchdowns as a sophomore last year, was intercepted on two of his first four attempts, causing SMU head coach June Jones to unexpectedly switch quarterbacks.
The turnovers set up a pair of scores for Texas A&M, as Michael ran for a four-yard score and Gray took one in from five yards out.
"I thought the run game was fairly balanced today between the backs and both did a nice job," said Texas A&M head coach Mike Sherman. "They're a good 1-2 punch and we will use both of them for sure."
With J.J. McDermott under center, Zach Line carried the load on the ensuing drive and scored on a one-yard plunge to cut the Mustangs' deficit in half.
But SMU tried an onside kick that failed, giving the Aggies another short field that resulted in Gray's two-yard TD run.
"We got our rear ends kicked in pretty much every way," said Jones, "but we'll find out a lot about ourselves in the next four games."
On the third play of the second quarter, Keenan Holman hauled in a 27-yard TD pass from McDermott to cap a seven-play, 71-yard drive.
Texas A&M's defense held the Mustangs in check the rest of the way, and Ryan Swope's 28-yard touchdown reception and Michael's one-yard score gave the hosts a 33-14 cushion at the break.
"I thought the offensive line did a great job of setting the tempo up front. It was a battle. They did a great job tonight," Swope said. "We just really got after it and just believed in each other and got off to a good start."
The Aggies were held to a field goal -- a 19-yarder by Randy Bullock -- on the opening drive of the second half.
Any momentum SMU gained in the limiting the hosts to three points ended when McDermott threw incomplete on 4th-and-8 at the Aggies 36-yard line.
Hutson Prioleau's 32-yard touchdown reception extended the lead late in the third, and Bullock accounted for the only points in the fourth with a 37-yard kick.
SMU junior defensive end Margus Hunt blocked two extra points, upping his career total to 12 blocked kicks. His six extra-point blocks rank second in NCAA history...Swope finished with 109 yards on eight receptions...Gray had 132 yards on 21 carries, while Michael had 85 yards on 14 touches...McDermott threw for 254 yards on 21-of-34 throws...Line totaled 128 yards on 22 carries...Texas A&M owns a 42-29-7 series advantage.