Rapid Reaction: Texas A&M finds a QB in Max Johnson, beats No. 13 Miami
Jimbo Fisher has found his quarterback.
Approximately 10 months after beating Texas A&M with a late 4th-quarter touchdown pass in Baton Rouge, LSU transfer Max Johnson brought the Aggies’ offense to life in his 1st start at College Station, leading the Aggies to a 17-9 victory over No. 13 Miami late Saturday night at Kyle Field.
Johnson started in place of the ineffective Haynes King, who initially won the quarterback battle and started the Aggies’ first 2 games this season. But Johnson stepped in on Saturday and looked like the seasoned veteran who played in 12 games and threw 27 TD passes for LSU last season. He led the No. 24 Aggies (2-1) to a hard-fought victory on Saturday over the 2-1 Canes.
Johnson gave the Aggies some breathing room to start the second half with a 76-yard TD drive in just 4 plays, which extended their lead to 17-3. Johnson ran for 11 yards, then completed a 25-yard pass to Ainias Smith, the senior wide receiver who extended his streak to 26 consecutive games with at least 1 reception. It set up a 25-yard touchdown pass to RB Devon Achane.
Miami answered with a pair of field goals after drives of 12 and 16 plays to slice the Aggies’ lead to 17-9.
Johnson’s stats weren’t gaudy (10-of-20, 140 yards, 1 TD), but the offense was effective.
He wasted little time in asserting himself on Saturday. In his first drive of the game, Johnson piloted the Aggies to a 3-0 lead. It was an 8-play, 55-yard march with Randy Bond drilling his first field goal attempt at Texas A&M, a 26-yarder. Johnson engineered his first touchdown drive later in the 1st quarter, turning a fumbled punt into a quick 3-play, 28-yard drive with LJ Johnson scoring his first career TD, a 1-yard run, to give the Aggies a 10-3 lead that held up through halftime as the Canes missed a field goal and had another blocked by Albert Regis.
It was a big difference from a week ago when Texas A&M ran a total of 38 plays in an upset loss to Appalachian State. With Johnson at quarterback, the Aggies ran 34 plays in the first half alone.
Texas A&M improved to 26-0 in the Jimbo Fisher era when leading after the first quarter, and are now 28-4 under Fisher when scoring first.
Texas A&M survived without 4 freshmen, who were suspended for the game, including WR Evan Stewart and DB Denver Harris. In addition, senior DBs Demani Richardson and Brian George were both ejected in the 1st quarter for targeting.