Ryan Tannehill hasn’t lost since taking over at quarterback for No. 23 Texas A&M.
He’s not the only reason the Aggies are on a roll.
Cyrus Gray ran for a 137 yards and scored three of his career-high four touchdowns in the second half as Texas A&M rallied from a 16-point first-half deficit for a 42-30 win over Baylor on Saturday night.
Tannehill threw for 280 yards and a touchdown to improve to 3-0 since being promoted to starter and the Texas A&M defense made up for a poor first half where it allowed a season-high in points by holding Baylor’s potent offense scoreless after halftime.
The win is Texas A&M’s fourth straight and the seventh of the season, surpassing last year’s six-win finish. It’s the first time since Sherman took over in 2008 that the Aggies have won four in a row and their longest conference winning streak since 2006.“At halftime I said: ‘Let’s focus on the win and that’s all that matters,”’ coach Mike Sherman said. “I thought that is what they did. We tackled better in the second half. We blocked better and made some plays. That was it.”
The Aggies (7-3, 4-2 Big 12) trailed 30-21 at halftime before Gray scored on runs of 13 and 10 yards in the third quarter to give Texas A&M its first lead at 35-30. Baylor (7-4, 4-3) led 30-14 midway through the second quarter after Jay Finley’s third touchdown.
Gray’s fourth score came on a 1-yard run with about 6 minutes remaining. It was set up when Baylor turned the ball over on downs.
The Bears were foiled by problems in the kicking game. Aaron Jones missed field-goal attempts from 27 and 39 yards in the second half, had a third one blocked just before halftime and missed an extra point.
Baylor coach Art Briles’ team lost consecutive games for the first time this season after a 55-28 loss to Oklahoma State last week.
“It (makes) you feel sick, empty, embarrassed, ashamed and disappointed,” he said. “All of those things that go with not doing what you are supposed to do, and what we were supposed to do was go win a football game.
It was Gray’s fourth consecutive 100-yard game to make him the first Aggie to do it since Rodney Thomas in 1993.
“Anything Cyrus does, does not surprise me,” Sherman said. “He is the most unselfish, humble guy I have ever been around. He is every talented. He just keeps getting better.”
Robert Griffin III had 212 yards passing and ran for 92 yards and a touchdown for Baylor. His 3,071 yards passing this season make him the first Baylor player to pass for 3,000 yards. Finley had 169 yards rushing to bring his season total to 1,073.
Texas A&M’s defense improved after halftime and held Finley to just 23 yards rushing in the second half.
“They were really cramming everybody up in there to try to stop us,” Griffin said of Texas A&M’s defense after halftime.
Texas A&M cut Baylor’s lead to 30-28 when Gray scored his second touchdown on a 13-yard scamper in the third quarter.
Gray’s third touchdown put Texas A&M on top for the first time, 35-30, with about four minutes left in the third quarter.
Finley leapt over the line and into the end zone on a 1-yard score late in the first quarter to make it 17-7 Baylor. Gray’s 4-yard run early in the second quarter got Texas A&M within 17-14.
Finley’s second score, also a 1-yard run, stretched the lead to 24-14 in the second quarter.
Finley’s 69-yard touchdown run came after that, but Aaron Jones missed the extra point and it was 30-14.
Texas A&M’s Kenric McNeal had two touchdowns called back on the Aggies’ last drive before halftime because of penalties.
“We knew we weren’t playing well in the first half,” Tannehill said. “We were having dumb penalties that really killed us.”
The Aggies finally scored later in that drive when Tannehill found Swope on a 12-yard pass to make it 30-21 two minutes before halftime.
A field goal attempt by Jones on the last play of the first half was blocked and Terrence Frederick returned it 71 yards to the Baylor 1.
Both coaches and players on both sides thought that may have been the play of the game because it started to turn momentum Texas A&M’s way.
“If they (made) that it pulls them ahead a little more and (blocking) it really showed we were still fighting,” Texas A&M linebacker Michael Hodges said.
Griffin’s 71-yard run, where he busted straight through the line and up the field, pushed Baylor’s lead to 10-0 with about 8 1/2 minutes in the first quarter.
The Aggies answered quickly after Griffin’s long run, with Coryell Judie returning the ensuing kickoff 84 yards for a touchdown. He became the first Aggie to return a kickoff for a touchdown in consecutive weeks after taking one back 100 yards for a score last week.