Aggies hold on to win without Hill
COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP) — Freshman Kyle Allen threw for 106 yards and a touchdown in his first career start and Texas A&M held on for a 21-16 win over Louisiana-Monroe on Saturday.
Allen, who had two turnovers, started in place of Kenny Hill, who was suspended for two games for violating team rules and athletic department polices. The suspension was announced about an hour before the game.
The Aggies (6-3) led 21-10 at halftime but couldn’t get anything going offensively in the second half.
Texas A&M bounced back from an embarrassing 59-0 loss to Alabama and snapped a three-game skid with the victory. The win also makes the Aggies bowl-eligible for a school-record sixth straight year.
Pete Thomas threw for 246 yards and Justin Manton made three field goals for Louisiana-Monroe (4-4).
Texas A&M freshman Myles Garrett led the defense on Saturday with 3 1/2 sacks to give him 11 this season and break Jadeveon Clowney’s SEC freshman sack record of eight set in 2011 at South Carolina.
Freshman Speedy Noil made a highlight-reel play when he knocked a pass out of the hands of a defender who had deflected it and grabbed the ball in the end zone for a 39-yard touchdown reception about a minute before halftime to give A&M a 21-7 lead.
A 51-yard field goal by the Warhawks’ Justin Manton cut the lead to 21-10 at halftime.
A 23-yard field goal by Manton cut the lead to 21-13 at the start of the fourth quarter.
Allen was sacked by Cody Robinson on the next offensive play and he fumbled. The ball was recovered by Hunter Kissinger to give Louisiana-Monroe the ball at the Texas A&M 38.
They converted a fourth-and-2 to get down to the 6-yard line, but their offense stalled after that and they settled for a 22-yard field goal, Manton’s third of the game, to make it 21-16.
Allen was one of the top quarterback recruits in the country after throwing for more than 8,000 yards and 86 touchdowns in his career at Desert Mountain high school in Scottsdale, Arizona.
But Hill beat out Allen in fall camp and got off to a great start, throwing for a school-record 511 yards in the season opener and helping the Aggies to a 5-0 start. The sophomore’s 2,649 yards passing lead the Southeastern Conference and are sixth in the nation, but he had seven turnovers in his last three games combined and Texas A&M fell out of The Associated Press Top 25.
Hill started the first eight games for the Aggies, but coaches split first-team snaps between Hill and Allen in practice and said the starting job was wide open this week before the suspension was announced.
Texas A&M took the lead when Brandon Williams flipped into the end zone on a 1-yard run on the opening drive to make it 7-0.
Louisiana-Monroe evened the score when Centarius Donald scored from 1-yard out early in the second quarter. That play was set up by a bit of trickery when Thomas shoveled the ball to receiver Kenzee Jackson, who threw an 8-yard pass to the quarterback.
The Aggies went back on top when Tra Carson got caught in some traffic, changed direction and slipped away from three defenders on a 5-yard touchdown run to make it 14-7. The Aggies had great field position on that drive thanks to a 39-yard punt return by Noil.