Cyrus Gray, Ryan Tannehill help Texas A&M overcome rough start

COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Texas A&M coach Mike Sherman was happy with the Aggies performance against Idaho on Saturday.

He still has a list, though, of ways his ninth-ranked team must improve before next Saturday's meeting with No. 8 Oklahoma State.

Cyrus Gray had three touchdowns and 101 yards rushing, Ryan Tannehill threw for 337 yards and two scores in less than three quarters and Texas A&M shook off a sloppy start for the 37-7 win.

"There are plenty of things on both sides of the ball that we can get better at," Sherman said. "We're a long ways from where we want to be. We're getting closer, but we have a lot of work to do this week."

The Aggies had two turnovers in the first quarter, but Idaho didn't take advantage. Texas A&M had tacked on 27 points before halftime thanks to two touchdowns by Gray to take a comfortable lead and go on to the win.

Gray finished with 101 yards rushing for his ninth straight 100-yard game dating to last season. He had a 17-yard touchdown run and a 3-yard reception for a score in the second quarter. His 1-yard run midway through the third quarter pushed the lead to 37-0.

Gray had 99 yards rushing late in the fourth quarter and Sherman gave him one chance to extend his streak, even though most of the other starters had been out for a while.

"I told him that he had one play, and fortunately he got it on that play," Sherman said. "It's probably not the smartest thing I've ever done, but he's such a good kid and it was important to him."

Gray said he wasn't that concerned about getting 100 yards.

"I wasn't really worried about that," he said. "We were winning, and that was the main thing."

With about three minutes left in the third, Sherman replaced Tannehill with freshman Jameill Showers.

Idaho couldn't do anything offensively for most of the game and had to punt 10 times, converted two of 14 third downs and had nine penalties for 66 yards. The Vandals' only touchdown came on a 1-yard run on fourth down by Troy Vital on a drive against Texas A&M's second string defense late in the fourth quarter.

"We have to grow, and our football team will grow because of this game," Idaho coach Robb Akey said. "We had a few opportunities, but left some plays on the field."

Idaho quarterback Brian Reader was 17 of 29 for 131 yards, and Mike Scott had eight receptions for 97 yards.

"We just didn't execute when we needed to," Reader said.

Ryan Swope had 74 yards receiving and a touchdown, Uzoma Nwachukwu added 80 yards and Jeff Fuller had 79. Fuller had five receptions to give him the A&M record for career receptions with 174.

"It's a huge honor," Fuller said of breaking the record. "It means a lot."

Randy Bullock made field goals of 25, 42 and 46 yards, but his attempt from 44 yards in the fourth quarter was wide left.

Gray got A&M's offense going after a slow and sloppy start when he ran 17 yards for a touchdown that made it 17-0 in the second quarter. Bullock's 42-yard field goal later in the second quarter stretched the lead to 20-0.

A&M got the ball back after Reader threw three straight incompletions on Idaho's next drive, and Gray made it 27-0 when he scored on a 3-yard pass from Tannehill just before halftime.

The Aggies were on the Idaho 20 on their first drive when Tannehill's pass was tipped and intercepted by Andre Ferguson. The Vandals couldn't convert and had to punt it away.

"I wasn't happy with my performance tonight," Tannehill said. "There were a few plays I wish I could have back. I didn't feel I played to my top level tonight. I definitely have a few things myself I need to correct."