Dante Hall and Texas A&M didn't own all of the game -- just the crucial parts.
Hall's first two touchdowns gave the No. 18 Aggies an early 14-0 lead over Kansas on Saturday, and his third helped them avoid an upset by the Jayhawks.
Hall scored on a 3-yard run with 3:24 left, capping a 177-yard rushing day and giving Texas A&M a 24-21 win.
"We knew we could not overlook KU," said Hall, who gave the Aggies (4-1, 1-0 Big 12) their first 100-yard rushing game of the season. "They have played well, and especially coming into their stadium, we knew we were in for a tough game."
Linebacker Dat Nguyen set up two scores for the Aggies, who won their fourth straight. Kansas (2-3, 0-3), meanwhile has not won a conference game since beating Iowa State 34-24 last Nov. 1.
The Jayhawks' three conference losses this season - to Oklahoma State, No. 23 Missouri and Texas A&M - have all followed a pattern: Each game was close until the final quarter, and twice until the last 3½ minutes.
"I'd rather lose like this, playing hard, than have quit out there today and gotten beat by 50," Kansas coach Terry Allen said. "The tough losses are difficult on everybody, but it shows character and shows you're developing as a football team."
The Jayhawks, who fell behind by two touchdowns in the first 6½ minutes, came back with two touchdown passes by Zac Wegner and went up 21-17 on David Winbush's 1-yard run with 8:54 remaining.
| Dante Hall's (34) 3-yard touchdown run sealed the victory for Texas AM. (AP) |
"Most teams lose games like this," Texas A&M coach R.C. Slocum said. "This is a credit to our team. We had the maturity and confidence to come back."
Hall, who carried five times for 32 yards on the Aggies' winning drive, ran for touchdowns of 8 and 2 yards in the first quarter. He had a 64-yard touchdown carry wiped out by a holding penalty on the first drive of the second half.
Hall's first score came just 52 seconds into the game, two plays after Nguyen's interception on Kansas' first play from scrimmage.
Nguyen also recovered a muffed punt at the Jayhawks' 13 in the third quarter, leading to Russell Bynum's 21-yard field goal for a 17-7 Aggies lead. The ball bounced off the helmet of return man Henri Childs, who had his back turned to the play while trying to keep the Aggies' coverage team from downing the ball near the goal line.
"That's a freshman mistake," Allen said. "Their punter had been doing such a great job of putting the ball to their outside people in the corner, and Henri decided to get in on the action."
After giving up Nguyen's interception on his first passing attempt, Wegner kept Kansas in the game with 167 yards passing and several key scrambles for first downs.
His first completion went for a 58-yard first-quarter touchdown to Termaine Fulton, and his 9-yard TD pass to Byron Gasaway cut Texas A&M's lead to 17-14 with 25 seconds left in the third.
Slocum elected not to go for three field goals in the first half, all of which would have been between 40 and 48 yards. He said he didn't want to put too much pressure on Bynum, a sophomore who missed two field goals in the previous week's 28-9 win over North Texas.
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