COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP) — By all accounts, Bobby Petrino’s debut as Texas A&M’s offensive coordinator Saturday night was a huge success.
Conner Weigman threw for 236 yards and a career-high five touchdowns and No. 23 Texas A&M rolled to a 52-10 victory over New Mexico.
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Coach Jimbo Fisher hired Petrino, a former head coach at Louisville, Arkansas and with the Atlanta Falcons, to try to beef up an offense that struggled last season as the Aggies finished 5-7. Petrino took over play-calling duties from Fisher and the decision looked like a good one in the opener.
Weigman and the Aggies were nearly unstoppable in the first half, scoring touchdowns on their first five possessions, with the first four coming through the air. New Mexico’s only stop before halftime came when Tavian Combs blocked a 48-yard field goal attempt by Randy Bond as time expired in the second quarter.
They let up a bit in the second half, adding just one more touchdown before Fisher replaced Weigman with backup Max Johnson to start the fourth quarter with the game in hand.
Texas A&M’s 52 points were the most the team has scored against an FBS opponent in the regular season since a 74-72, seven-overtime victory over LSU on Nov. 24, 2018
Fisher was asked about working with Petrino on Saturday night.
“It was great,” Fisher said. “We were talking back and forth, sharing ideas, what we could go to, what we could not, giving suggestions… reminding (each other ) of things we do in the game plan, just like we do in the meeting and it was excellent. We had fun — a lot of fun.”
Weigman also raved about Petrino.
“It was awesome,” he said. “We went out there, we executed the game plan … and I just give it to my playmakers and they make my life easy out there.”
Dylan Hopkins threw for 115 yards with an interception in his New Mexico debut after a transfer from UAB as the Lobos, who went 2-10 last year, lost their 10th straight game.
Evan Stewart led the Aggies with 115 yards receiving and two scores. Noah Thomas finished with 74 yards receiving and three touchdowns after the 6-foot-6 sophomore had just 51 yards receiving with two scores all last season.
“We came in with a chip on our shoulder to prove to people we are capable of leading this offense,” Thomas said. “We love, trust and believe in each other. The coaches and players made it happen.”
Weigman connected with Thomas on a 15-yard TD pass on A&M’s first drive to make it 7-0. The Aggies took a 14-0 lead when Stewart scored on a 35-yard reception on the first play of the second quarter.
Jacory Croskey-Merritt got the Lobos within a touchdown when he scored on a 27-yard run with about 10 1/2 minutes left in the second quarter.
Thomas found the end zone again on A&M’s next possession, scoring on a 34-yard reception that made it 21-7.
Ainias Smith had a 44-yard punt later in the second quarter to get the Aggies to the New Mexico 38. Amari Daniel ran 27 yards on second down to give A&M a first down at the 11. The Aggies extended the lead to 28-7 when Le’Veon Moss scored on a 2-yard run.
Josh DeBerry intercepted Hopkins’ pass on New Mexico’s next drive. The Aggies cashed in on the error when Weigman threw a 9-yard touchdown pass to Thomas to make it 35-7 about 90 seconds before halftime.
Luke Drzewiecki made a 27-yard field goal that cut the lead to 35-10 early in the third quarter.
The Aggies made it 42-10 when Weigman found Stewart again, this time on an 8-yard scoring throw late in the third quarter.
A touchdown pass from Johnson to Moose Muhammad III pushed the lead to 49-10 with about 7 1/2 minutes left.
Texas A&M receiver Micah Tease has been suspended indefinitely after a drug arrest early Friday morning, according to a university spokesman. Tease, who is a freshman, was arrested by campus police for marijuana possession and released on bond Friday, according to Brazos County Jail records.
The Aggies looked good against a lesser opponent Saturday but have a much tougher test next week with a trip to Miami, which beat Miami-Ohio 38-3 on Friday. Though it was a tough night for the Lobos, they weren’t too upset since they’ll receive $1.6 million for playing this game.
The Aggies should retain their spot in the poll after the win.
New Mexico: Hosts Tennessee Tech next Saturday night.
Texas A&M: At Miami next Saturday.