Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin worried about how his team would respond when Saturday night's game against Lamar was delayed by more than two hours because of lightning.
His fears were quickly allayed.
Kenny Hill threw for 283 yards and four touchdowns in less than three quarters as No. 9 Texas A&M rolled to a 73-3 win over Lamar in front of the largest crowd for a college game in Texas history.
It was the first game in the newly renovated and expanded Kyle Field and drew a record crowd of 104,728.
After delay of 2 hours, 5 minutes, Texas A&M (2-0) wasted no time getting going. Hill found Speedy Noil for a 44-yard pass on his first throw and Trey Williams had a 33-yard touchdown run two plays later to make it 7-0.
''It was a weird set of circumstances to start the game,'' Sumlin said. ''For young guys I was worried about how they would handle it, but they were excited to play. I think the crowd had a big part in that when we came back out. I was shocked that everybody was still there and it was a great atmosphere to start the game.''
Hill threw touchdown passes of 24, 51, 18 and nine yards in his second game since taking over for 2012 Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel. He threw for a school-record 511 yards in an upset at then-No. 9 South Carolina last week.
''The more reps you get the more comfortable you are going to be in the offense,'' Hill said. ''I think that's how it is for everybody. The more reps I get, the more time I get to get out there with the wide receivers and get a better connection with them.''
Caleb Berry was 16 of 42 for 153 yards and an interception for Lamar (1-1) which was facing a Southeastern Conference team for the first time since 1974
''Obviously we were outmatched tonight,'' Lamar coach Ray Woodard said. ''I liked the way we fought and came out and played tonight. It will be good to get back on the bus and head back to Beaumont.''
Hill was replaced by freshman Kyle Allen with about five minutes left in the first half and the Aggies up 31-3, but returned to start the third quarter.
He sat down for good with 1:56 left in the third and A&M up 45-3.
The Aggies led 14-3 when they fumbled a punt return. It didn't matter much as Deshazor Everett intercepted the first pass of Lamar's next drive. The Aggies cashed in on the error when Hill hit Sabian Holmes on a short pass and he tip-toed down the sideline for a 51-yard score late in the first quarter.
Hill completed three straight passes on his final drive of the first half with the last one coming on a 9-yard touchdown strike to Edward Pope to push the lead to 31-3.
He picked up where he left off when he returned for the start of the third, capping the first drive of the second half with an 18-yard touchdown pass to Malcome Kennedy that made it 38-3. Hill completed 17 of 26 passes.
''I think these guys understand that we've got to get better and we're going to approach it that way this week,'' Sumlin said. ''
Freshman Myles Garrett starred on defense for the Aggies, finishing with five tackles, two sacks and two QB hurries. The Lamar offensive line couldn't do much to slow down the 6-foot-5, 255-pound Garrett, who was rated as the top high school defensive end in the nation last season.
''It's a learning experience for him,'' Sumlin said. ''He can create his own pass rush and that's something that we need.''
Running back Tra Carson, who had three touchdowns last week, was out with an unspecified injury. Williams and James White picked up the slack, combining for 116 yards rushing and three touchdowns.
The lopsided game gave Texas A&M fans a first look at Allen, who Hill beat out in camp for the job. Allen was considered the best quarterback prospect in the nation coming out of high school. Allen was 12 of 16 for 122 yards with an interception and he threw touchdown passes of two and 33 yards in the fourth quarter.
Noil had 71 yards receiving, a punt return for 67 yards and a kickoff return for 53 yards to finish with 191 all-purpose yards for A&M.
Lamar's only points came when the Cardinals had a first down at the 1-yard line but couldn't push it in and settled for a 20-yard field goal that made it 7-3 in the first quarter.
Texas A&M 73, Lamar 3
ABOUT THE WIN...
• The Aggies moved to 2-0 for the second straight year.
• The win moves Kevin Sumlin’s record at Texas A&M to 22-6 and 57-23 in seven seasons as a head coach.
BIG STADIUM, BIG CROWD
• Attendance for tonight’s game in the redeveloped Kyle Field (capacity 106,000) was 104,728, which is a stadium record. The old stadium record was 90, 079 from the Nebraska vs. Texas A&M tilt in 2010 (W, 9-6).
• It was a state of Texas college football record, breaking the old mark of 101,851 from the West Virginia-Texas contest in 2012 at Darrell K Royal-Memorial Stadium in Austin, Texas.
• It was the second-largest crowd to see an Aggie game behind the 104,802 fans that watched the Texas A&M-Michigan matchup in 1977 at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Mich.
Another “Fast start”
• The Aggies scored on their opening offensive series of the game when junior RB Trey Williams got loose on a 33-yard TD run. It only took three plays as the Aggies’ first play was a 44-yard connection to Speedy Noil from Kenny Hill.
• In 28 games under head coach Kevin Sumlin, the Aggies have scored on their opening offensive series of the game 20 times with 19 touchdowns. The Aggies have also scored first in 25 of 28 games under Sumlin.
• A&M scored 21 first-quarter points, marking the 15th time in 28 games that the Aggies have scored 14 or more in the first stanza.
• One of the opening periods of Sumlin’s practices is called “fast start.” Occuring just after warmups, “fast start” features several live-action 11-on-11 series just like a game situation. He started implementing the period when his teams at the University of Houston were getting off to slow starts.
• Sophomore DE Daeshon Hall’s first quarter QB sack was the first of his career.
• True freshman DE Myles Garrett had a pair of sacks against Lamar and already has three QB sacks after two games.
• Junior Sabian Holmes’ 51-yard TD reception was the longest catch of his career. It was his first TD of 2014 and second of his career.
• True freshman WR Speedy Noil’s 67-yard punt return was a career long, and it was the longest by an Aggie since Dustin Harris’ memorable 96-yarder against South Carolina State in 2012.
• After going turnover-free against South Carolina last week, the Aggies suffered their first turnover of the season on a fumble at the 11:10 mark of the second quarter.
• Occasionally, the Aggies use jumbo blockers Caden Smith and Ben Compton in the backfield with the primary running back. Those two Aggies combine to weigh 560 pounds.
• Seeing his first action in the maroon and white against Lamar was redshirt freshman RB James White. He finished the game with 62 yards on 11 carries and two touchdowns. Also seeing his first career action was redshirt freshman LB Reggie Chevis.
• Junior All-America punter Drew Kaser had only one punt, but the tricky 25-yarder was mishandled by Lamar and recovered by the Aggies. #Kaser4Heisman • Walk-on sophomore receiver Boone Niederhofer grabbed his first career TD catch in the fourth quarter.
• Walk-on junior RB Brice Dolezal scored his first career TD on a 41-yard romp late in the fourth quarter.
• Redshirt freshman defenders Justin Manning and Brett Wade made their collegiate debuts tonight and both logged their first career tackles.
• The Aggies held Lamar to three points, which matched the low fewest points allowed during the Sumlin era (48-3 win over SMU in 2012).
MORE TRUE FRESHMEN ENTER THE FRAY
• Nine true freshmen saw action in the season-opener against South Carolina, and five more took off their redshirts tonight against Lamar: LB Josh Walker (Gilmer, Texas), QB Kyle Allen (Scottsdale, Ariz.), LB Otaro Alaka (Houston, Texas), WR Jamal Jeffery (Lufkin, Texas) and DB Donovan Wilson (Shreveport, La.).
• The Aggies gained 630 total yards in the win over Lamar. It was 20th time in 28 games under Kevin Sumlin that the Aggies have surpassed the 500-yard mark in total offense. It was the 12th 600+ game in the Sumlin era.
• Texas A&M’s 73 points matches the most since Oct. 11, 2003, when the Aggies defeated Baylor 73-10. The 73 points tie for the seventh-most in a single game in A&M history.
• The Aggies’ 73 points marked the 13th time that A&M has scored 50+ points in the Sumlin era. The Aggies have scored 60+ points four times in the Sumlin era. It was the second time the Aggies have hit 70 points under Sumlin.
• The Aggies’ 70-point win marks the Aggies’ largest margin of victory since a 73-0 win over Missouri on Sept. 18, 1993.
GAME CAPTAINS, 12TH MAN
• Game captains were senior Malcome Kennedy and juniors Mike Matthews, Julien Obioha and Drew Kaser. Lamar won the toss and elected to receive the opening kickoff.
• Junior Sam Moeller was the Aggies’ 12th Man for the 15th straight game.
HEAD COACH RAY WOODARD
“Congratulations to Coach Sumlin and Texas A&M. They have a very talented, deep team. They are well coached. They’ve got good schemes, and I see why they are ranked where they are. Obviously we were outmatched tonight. I liked the way we fought, and came out and played tonight. It will be good to get back on the bus and head back to Beaumont. It was exciting but they’re obviously a much better football team than we are. Hats off to them.”
On the delay… “Both teams had to deal with it. I don’t think it had anything to do with the ballgame. I think some of the crowd did leave, so I think it was a little less loud than if we had played on time.”
On the crowd… “I think we handled the crowd just fine. We only had one procedural penalty all night.”
On what he learned tonight… “I learned we have a lot of work to do. We’ve got some things that we need chore up. We didn’t particularly play well in some areas. We’ve got some corrections.”
On leaving Caleb Berry in the whole game… “We discussed taking Caleb out of the game. I wanted to go score a touchdown at some point in the game. I wanted to score with Caleb. That was our thinking there.”
SENIOR WIDE RECEIVER MARK ROBERTS
On the atmosphere… “The crowd didn’t really bother me. I was excited. I’ve never played in front of a crowd that big. I just wanted to perform in front of everybody.”
On the offense’s day… “Looking at it, we had some dropped balls and made some mistakes. There were some holes we could’ve hit, we just didn’t connect at the times we needed to.”
On the A&M defense… “Their coaches taught them well. They fly around to the ball well. They were prepared for us going sideways. We needed to go north and south. We made some mistakes that we need to clean up. But, we have to just keep fighting, and not get down on ourselves.”
HEAD COACH KEVIN SUMLIN
On getting the team prepared after two hour delay… “That’s a good question. There’s lot of different discussion that goes on at that time. Fortunately, we’ve been through that before. In Houston we had a two and a half hour delay. It was even worse because we kicked off, went down the field and scored, and then they blew the horn and we had to go and sit down. The guys were hungry. We adjusted. I’d like to thank [the crowd]. I was shocked at the atmosphere. Many people were still there and ready to go. That was a big deal because you worry about it being flat walking back out there. The entrance was great: the fireworks, the whole bit, then ‘Ugh, let’s go back and sit down’. The fans were great. That gave us a lot of energy to start the game. I thought that was a really positive situation for us, Being at home, setting a record tonight is a big deal, a big deal to these guys, and we’re real appreciative of our fans.”
On quarterbacks Kenny Hill and Kyle Allen’s performance… “I thought the great thing about it was they weren’t prefect tonight, but they operated the offense and numbers were pretty good. Kyle made a mistake early but bounced back. The biggest thing I see with this team is how guys are really, really interested in the success of each other. I watched Kenny throw touchdowns and Kyle congratulate him. Before I could get to Kyle for his touchdown pass, Kenny ran right by me and they were up in the air back-bumping. That’s genuine. In the situation we’re in, I think that says a lot about the competition. I think that says a lot about the respect for each other’s ability. They both deserve to play and they’re comfortable. Kenny’s probably a little bit more comfortable because he’s played more. Kyle got better as the game went on. They congratulated each other. He was pretty determined. It was great for him. The competition there is good, but the enthusiasm for each other’s success on this team is genuine. That’s what you like to see as a coach.”
On the fresh players tonight…. “We have a lot of minutes. Watts showed up again tonight. He likes to play. Speedy had a really, really good game. He made some electric plays tonight. As you can see, he’s explosive. A lot of these young guys are playing and their talented. The best thing about tonight was the number of guys that got in the game and will be able to watch that video, be able to coach off of, and help us develop some depth. We’re going to need that valuable experience in this league because it’s long season. The more that those guys can play, the more confidence they get and we also get in them. It’s a lot of positive tonight’s in a situation like that we can draw from and get some confidence from some of these younger guys.”
SOPHOMORE QUARTERBACK KENNY HILL
On setting the tone… “We came out wanting to get out to a fast start, just come out and really impose our will which I think we ended up doing pretty well.”
On the record… “That’s nuts. They told us we were going to be in front of a big group like that. Its crazy to have fans that really support you like that and come out in a big number like that, I mean it’s unbelievable. It was a great feeling coming out to that many screaming fans.”
On delayed start… “It was tough but that’s part of the game. You control the things you can control. We came out there ready to go obviously. It’s just about refocusing yourself like we just got off the bus, we just had to think of it like that.”
SENIOR DEFENSIVE BACK DESHAZOR EVERRETT
On the defense’s performance… “Considering we held them to three points, I think we played really well. There are still things that we need to correct, we’re not perfect, but that’s what we’re striving to do.”
On what the defense tried to improve on for tonight’s game… “We wanted to limit the big plays. Last week against South Carolina we let a couple of balls go over our heads for easy points. That’s something we wanted to eliminate tonight. We wanted to make them earn every point.”
JUNIOR WIDE RECEIVER SABIAN HOLMES
On the offensive flow… “It’s just how we practice. We come out in practice and treat every day as important. Once we get into the game we just go with the flow and it comes easy for us.”
On playing with Kenny Hill since high school… “It’s been fun. It took me a while to get him here. We practice pretty hard and we have connections in practice. We just have to make sure we come out and show what we do in practice in the games. Once we get into the games it’s kind of easy for us.”
On delayed start… “I wouldn’t say it helped or hurt, we just have to refocus. It’s part of the game. Nothing is ever perfect. We had to make sure we came out with the same intensity that we came out with the first time. We couldn’t take these guys for granted no matter what their record is or what conference they’re in or anything.”