College Football: Texas A&M 55, New Mexico 14 - D1SportsNet


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College football

Texas A&M 55, New Mexico 14

Nick Starkel threw for 416 yards and four touchdowns -- in the first half -- and Christian Kirk amassed 210 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns -- also in the first 30 minutes -- as Texas A&M thumped New Mexico 55-14 on Saturday at Kyle Field in College Station, Texas.

The Aggies (6-4) dominated both sides of the ball, amassing 562 yards on offense while holding the Lobos to 57 yards in the first half and 144 for the game.

It didn't take long for Starkel and the Aggies to flex their muscles and take control. On the second play of the game, the redshirt freshman quarterback hooked up with Kirk for a 60-yard touchdown and a 6-0 lead after the extra point attempt was no good.

The Lobos couldn't muster a first down and gave the ball right back to the Aggies. Starkel found Jhamon Ausbon from 10 yards out to cap a 13-play, 81-yard drive for a 13-0 lead.

And the rout was on.

The last time Starkel started a game, Texas A&M raced to a 34-0 lead against UCLA. Starkel left that game with a broken ankle and the Aggies lost to the Bruins 45-44.

The Aggies weren't going to let a big lead slip away against New Mexico.

Starkel's return to the starting lineup on Saturday was a smashing success as the Aggies scored on their first seven possessions.

In the second quarter, the Aggies put the game out of reach, scoring five touchdowns via the ground, air and special teams.

Keith Ford put A&M up 20-0 in the first minute of the period with a 12-yard run.

Starkel tossed a 1-yard pass to Damion Ratley for a 27-0 Aggies lead on the next possession.

Another three-and-out set the stage for Kirk to show why he is the most dangerous return man in college football. Kirk caught Corey Bojorquez's punt on his own 10-yard line, cut up field unscathed and 90 yards later, Texas A&M was up 35-0. It was the sixth time in the junior's career he had scored on a kick return.

Another freshman, Kellen Mond, took over for Starkel at the beginning of the second half. Mond had been starting while Starkel was recovering from the injury he suffered in the UCLA game.

Mond went 8-for-11 and a touchdown pass to Camron Buckley to close out the scoring for the Aggies.

If there was a bright spot for the Lobos, it came late in the third quarter when Daryl Chestnut scored from 3 yards out to end a New Mexico streak of 46 drives without an offensive touchdown.

The Lobos did keep one streak alive earlier in the game when Elijah Lilly returned a kickoff 100 yards, which marked the eighth straight year a New Mexico kick returner found pay dirt.

Lilly's score also was the Lobos' first road touchdown since Sept. 23 against Tulsa.