Posted October 22, 2011 on AP on Fox
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Ryan Tannehill threw for 263 yards and two touchdowns and 17th-ranked Texas A&M held off Iowa State 33-17 on Saturday for its third straight Big 12 win. Christine Michael and Cyrus Gray each rushed for more than 100 yards for the Aggies (5-2, 3-1 Big 12), who used Tannehill's scoring passes late in the first half to jump ahead 20-7. Michael's 9-yard TD run early in the third quarter gave Texas A&M a 30-7 lead. Iowa State quickly cut it to 30-17, but the Aggies kept the Cyclones scoreless in the fourth quarter. Michael had 142 yards on 18 carries, Gray added 125 yards and Jeff Fuller and Michael Lamothe each had TD receptions for Texas A&M. Freshman Jared Barnett, who replaced a struggling Steele Jantz in the first quarter, was 16-of-36 passing for 180 yards for the Cyclones (3-4, 0-4), who have dropped four in a row. Texas A&M's season has been defined in part by the big halftime leads it blew against Oklahoma State and Arkansas. For much of the second half, it felt like it could happen again. The Cyclones answered Michael's touchdown run with a 1-yard TD run from Duran Hollis to get within 30-14. After the Aggies forced Iowa State to punt, the ball bounced off of Desmond Gardiner, giving the Cyclones the ball in Texas A&M territory late in the third quarter. But Iowa State had to settle for Zach Guyer's 43-yard field goal, making it 30-17. Tannehill nearly fumbled the ball away on the final play of the third quarter, and the Cyclones stuffed the Aggies on fourth down deep in Iowa State territory with 12:58 left. But Texas A&M's defense stiffened, and its offense answered with an 85-yard scoring drive. Though it ended in Randy Bullock's fourth field goal, from 20 yards, it ate up nearly four precious minutes and put the Aggies ahead 33-17 with just 7:30 left. Iowa State's final gasp came with four minutes left, when the Aggies stopped them a yard short on 4th-down-and-18. Josh Lenz had a career-high eight catches for 117 yards for the Cyclones. Texas A&M had been as good as anyone in the first half this year, with 170 points through six games, but the beleaguered Cyclones defense kept them scoreless on four straight possessions in the first half. The Aggies needed some help to finally find the end zone. Iowa State's defense was flagged for offsides, and Tannehill chucked it downfield on what was essentially a free play late in the second quarter. The Cyclones then got called for pass interference, keeping the Aggies drive going, and Tannehill found Fuller for a 10-yard touchdown reception to put A&M ahead 13-7 with 4:08 left in the half. Tannehill then took A&M 79 yards in less than two minutes, and his 18-yard TD toss to Lamothe made it 20-7 with just 42 seconds left in the half. Bullock tacked on another 47-yarder to open the second half - his seventh made field goal in eight tries from 40 yards or longer this season. Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads didn't guarantee Jantz would start this week after a lackluster outing in last week's 52-17 loss at Missouri. Jantz opened the game behind center - and promptly threw his first pass into the arms of Texas A&M's Trent Hunter. Bullock's 25-yard field goal gave the Aggies a 3-0 lead just two minutes in. After three sputtering possessions, the Cyclones went to Barnett. The move gave Iowa State the spark it desperately needed, as White capped an 83-play drive with a 19-yard TD run to put the Aggies down 7-3 late in the first quarter. Though Barnett had his moments, it wasn't enough for the scuffling Cyclones. They've lost four straight for the first time since losing their last 10 in 2008.
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