Rapid Reaction: Texas A&M uses late rally to run past North Carolina in Orange Bowl
North Carolina didn’t make it easy, but as it had all season, Texas A&M found a way to pull it out.
The Aggies were expected to win this Orange Bowl after several Tar Heel stars opted out. UNC surprised by staying in the game and even had a lead in the fourth quarter. But then A&M found a way, going ahead for good on Devon Achane’s 76-yard touchdown run in the final minutes.
Achane added the final dagger, too, adding another big run to set up his short TD run as the Aggies capped a 9-1 season with a 41-27 victory.
Earlier, Ainias Smith juked a couple of defenders for a big play that set up a touchdown run from Kellen Mond later on to tie the score at 27. The defense then forced a 3-and-out on the ensuing drive that set up Achane’s big runs. Achane finished with a career-high 140 yards and 2 TDs.
The Aggies outscored UNC 24-7 in the 4th quarter.
It was a back-and-forth battle all game with somewhat of a slow start. The score was just 7-3 in favor of A&M after the first quarter. Isaiah Spiller scored a touchdown when the Aggies decided to go for it on fourth down.
The Aggie offense ran into a bit of trouble against UNC. They were forced into a few 3-and-outs, especially early on in the game.
Spiller scored the second touchdown of the game for A&M, but was unable to get as much going against the Tar Heel front overall. He exited the fourth with an injury late. It was instead Ainias Smith who stole the show, finishing with 126 yards receiving.
The Tar Heels hurt A&M with the deep ball in this game.
Sam Howell hit Josh Downs for a 75-yard touchdown early in the fourth quarter that gave UNC a 27-20 lead. Earlier he found Dazz Newsome for a 28-yard score.
Mond passed for 232 yards and rushed for 36 more in what is expected to be the final game of his college career. Texas A&M ended its season at 9-1, while the Tar Heels fell to 8-4.