That’s what No. 24 Texas A&M did in a prime-time showdown with No. 13 Miami on Saturday night.
The Aggies (2-1) maybe didn’t wash the taste of last week’s upset loss to Appalachian State out of their mouth completely, but beating a ranked team 17-9 sure tasted sweet.
“Fear does two things,” Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher said. “Fear everything and run or fear everything and rise. And that’s what we did.”
Max Johnson, playing before the third-largest crowd ever at Kyle Field, made his debut as Texas A&M starting quarterback a winner. The LSU transfer, taking over Haynes King, threw for 140 yards and a touchdown in a gritty performance that justified Fisher’s switch.
“I thought he did a really nice job,” Fisher said. “He led the team, played with poise and didn’t try to take things that weren’t there. Made some plays when they were there.
“We’ve got to get a lot better, but he led us to victory and did the things we had to do. Our defense played outstanding.”
The Aggies gave up only three field goals as Miami (2-1) made multiple trips into the red zone. The Hurricanes also missed a field goal and had another blocked.
A&M’s defense was again on the field for most of the game and was down several key players. Senior safety Demani Richardson and cornerback Brian George were ejected in the first half for targeting.
Denver Harris and Deyon Bouie, two members of the secondary, were among four freshmen suspended before the game for violating team rules. Receivers Evan Stewart and Chris Marshall were also held out.
Just Like Dad: Max Johnson Proves To Be Texas A&M's Best Option
Like Brad Johnson did in 2008, Max Johnson led his team to a win in Arlington.
“We’ve gotta do what’s right,” Fisher said. “You gotta do things right no matter what the circumstances are. We’ve got to get everybody on the same page in doing those things. Sometimes mistakes are made and we’ll grow. That’s what kids do.”
The Aggies got a short touchdown from LJ Johnson to take a 10-3 lead into halftime. Devon Achane scored on a 25-yard catch and run early in the third quarter, breaking several tackles along the way as A&M went up 17-3.
Achane finished with a team-high 88 yards rushing on 18 attempts, with another four catches for 42 yards. Ainias Smith caught four balls for a game-high 74 yards.
Miami quarterback Tyler Van Dyke usually had plenty of time to throw, but didn’t do much downfield. The sophomore completed 21-of-41 passes for 217 yards, averaging just 5.3 yards per throw.
The Hurricanes did out-gain A&M 392-264 in total yardage and held the ball for more than 34 minutes.
The Aggies get another chance to show their mettle against a ranked team next week with a visit to Arlington to face No. 10 Arkansas. The Razorbacks (3-0) came back to beat Missouri State 38-27 on Saturday.
You can find Art Garcia on Twitter @ArtGarcia92.
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