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Texas A&M finishes strong as Jerrod Johnson carves up La. Tech

COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Jerrod Johnson had 349 yards passing and four touchdowns and Texas A&M overcame a sloppy start to get a 48-16 win over Louisiana Tech on Saturday night.

The Aggies (2-0) fumbled five times and missed a field goal in the first half but still led 21-10 at halftime thanks to a solid defensive effort.

They cleaned things up after halftime with Johnson connecting on a 3-yard touchdown pass to Jeff Fuller, who finished with 160 yards receiving, to push the lead to 28-10 early in the third quarter. That was Fuller's 19th career touchdown reception, which ties a 42-year-old school record. He is tied with Bob Long, whose record has stood since 1968. That score was set up by a 67-yard run by Christine Michael.

Texas A&M added a score on a 54-yard punt return by Dustin Harris in the third quarter and Johnson added another touchdown toss early in the fourth quarter. The return by Harris was the first punt return for a touchdown by the Aggies since 1998.

Louisiana Tech (1-1) used two quarterbacks, Tarik Hakmi, who ran for one touchdown and threw a second one, and Colby Cameron.

Johnson returned for a couple of plays on the next drive after his last touchdown throw before being replaced by backup Ryan Tannehill with A&M leading 45-16.

Texas A&M's defense, which ranked among the nation's worst last season, turned in another strong performance. The Aggies allowed just 269 yards and forced seven fumbles and had two interceptions.

It was an ugly first half with the teams combining for 10 fumbles. A&M lost four of its fumbles and Louisiana Tech lost two before halftime.

A&M was up 14-3 when Terrence Frederick fumbled a punt at the 1-yard line that was recovered by Louisiana Tech. Louisiana Tech was stuffed on its first three tries, but Hakmi punched it in on fourth down to make it 14-10.

Ryan Swope lost the ensuing kickoff on a fumble, but the Aggies got it back three plays later when Lennon Creer fumbled on the A&M 23.

The Aggies didn't do anything on their next drive but got the ball back with 18 seconds left in the first half after a fumble by Cameron. Johnson ran for 17 yards on first down before his pass on second down was intercepted by Adrien Cole. That interception was wiped out because of a personal foul and Texas A&M got one untimed play before halftime.

Louisiana Tech lined three defenders up at the goal line to defend a deep throw. That didn't keep Johnson from finding Uzoma Nwachukwu in a swarm of defenders for a 44-yard touchdown pass to give A&M a 21-10 halftime lead.

The Aggies missed a field goal in the first quarter before Matt Nelson gave Louisiana Tech the lead with a 37-yard field goal.

Cyrus Gray scored on a 3-yard run late in the first quarter before Tannehill's 10-yard reception in the second pushed the lead to 14-3.

Randy Bullock had a 40-yard field goal in the third quarter and one from 22 in the fourth quarter.