It took overtime despite a substantial fourth-quarter lead, but Texas A&M notched a 31-24 win in its season opener against No. 16 UCLA in College Station, Texas.
The Aggies took control of the game in the second quarter and opened up as much as a 24-9 lead in the fourth. Texas A&M appeared to be in total control, but UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen came alive late in the final 15 minutes of regulation, leading a pair of touchdown drives less than two minutes apart and converting a two-point conversion to tie the game with just over two minutes to play.
As the Bruins' offense found itself late in the contest, the Aggies' came to a screeching halt. After UCLA tied the game, Texas A&M went three-and-out to give the ball back to the Bruins at the UCLA 42 with 1:30 to play.
Rosen, who completed 26-of-46 passes for 343 yards and one touchdown, also had three interceptions including one on the Bruins' final drive of regulation that ended their chance to drive down for a game-winning field goal attempt.
Once in overtime, Texas A&M regrouped and finished off its opponent with a Trevor Knight rushing touchdown on a beautiful zone read keeper on 4th and Goal from inside the 1. On the Bruins' overtime possession, they stalled out just outside the 5 yard line with a desperation throw under pressure by Rosen on getting deflected to the turf.
The Aggies have plenty of things to work on despite the victory. The fourth-quarter offensive efficiency was not encouraging, and while they appeared improved on defense for most of the game, they did have some issues on that side of the ball late that were reminiscent of last year's disappointing defensive season.
This is a good start for the Texas A&M, which is looking to avoid another middling season in the SEC West, but September has never been the problem for TAMU under Kevin Sumlin. There are things to build on from this win, for sure, and a 1-0 record with a win over a ranked opponent is always a welcome sight, but there's plenty of work to be done in College Station to take the next step.
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