Aggies jump to early lead behind Arnaud-less Cyclones

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

Texas A&M's offense appears back as the Aggies scored on all three possessions to cruise to an early 21-3 lead over Iowa State.

But the biggest story of the game has been A&M's defense, which turned away two scoring drives after an interception by Jordan Pugh and a fourth-down stop at the A&M 22 by Pugh and Kyle Manghan.

A&M quarterback Jerrod Johnson has done the rest, throwing for two touchdowns and running for another to account for most of the Aggies' offense.

The Cyclones are playing for the second straight game without starting quarterback Austen Arnaud. Redshirt freshman starter Jerome Tiller hasn't had the knack for clicking on big plays against the Aggies like he did last week against Nebraska.

Alexander Robinson is back and has rushed for 72 yards in the first half for the Cyclones. But he hasn't been enough as the Aggies' early points blitz.

A victory will get the Aggies into solid position for a bowl berth, which wasn't a certainty during the three-game losing streak earlier this season. And it continues their recent run that started last week against Kansas State.