A&M stalls after halftime in 20-17 loss to Gators
COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP) — Texas A&M's offense was rolling, the defense punishing and the crowd was wild.
It looked as if the Aggies were off to a great start in the Southeastern Conference.
Then came the second half.
Mike Gillislee ran for 83 yards and two touchdowns and No. 24 Florida shut down Texas A&M's offense after halftime in a 20-17 win on Saturday in the Aggies' first Southeastern Conference game after moving from the Big 12.
"That's probably the biggest disappointment. I feel like myself and the team let down Kyle Field today," senior receiver Ryan Swope said.
Florida trailed 17-10 at halftime after a first half where Texas A&M's offense under new coach Kevin Sumlin pretty much did what it wanted. Things changed in the second half as the Gators clamped down and forced punts each of A&M's six possessions after the break.
Sumlin, the former Houston coach, was disappointed the Aggies continued a trend from last year of entering the second half with a lead, only to lose.
"It's something we addressed," he said. "It's the elephant in the room."
Caleb Sturgis helped Florida cut A&M's lead to 17-13 with a 25-yard field goal early in the third quarter.
Florida quarterback Jeff Driskel looked indecisive most of the day and was sacked eight times. But he made a play when he had to, finding Omarius Hines on a 39-yard completion to propel a drive early in the fourth quarter.
Gillislee finished it off, evading a couple of defenders and then tight-roping the sideline on a 12-yard touchdown run to put Florida up 20-17. Gillislee had a 4 yard score in the first quarter.
Driskel also came up big late in the game with a 21-yard run to give the Gators a first down and allow them to run out the clock.
"I'm disappointed like anybody else that we didn't win the game," Sumlin said. "There's things that we're working to fix. We didn't make enough plays to win the game — Florida did."
Texas A&M freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel threw for 173 yards and ran for 60 more, but he couldn't move A&M's offense after halftime.
"He made plays in the first half," Sumlin said. "They contained him in the second half and took away his legs. This is a real learning situation for him as it will be every week."
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