COLLEGE STATION (AP) — Texas A&M turned to its powerful running back to stave off Fresno State on Saturday.
Jorvorskie Lane rushed for two of his four touchdowns in the second and third overtimes as the 23rd-ranked Aggies beat the feisty Bulldogs 47-45 in the first three-OT game in A&M history.
The 6-foot, 268-pound Lane barreled for his final touchdown from 3 yards out, then charged into the end zone again for the winning 2-point conversion on A&M’s final possession.
“I knew what the situation was,” said Lane, who rushed for 121 yards. “They couldn’t stop us in the running game.”
The Aggies (2-0) rushed on 18 of their 19 plays in the three overtimes. Ten of them were handoffs to Lane, who’s heavier than three of Fresno State’s four starting defensive linemen.
“When they went to pound the big guy on us, I knew we were in trouble,” said Fresno State coach Pat Hill.
The temperature was 90 degrees at kickoff, and the humidity made it feel even hotter. By the third overtime — more than four hours later — players on both sides were on their knees, exhausted and fighting off cramps.
But Lane, often chided for his weight, was still running over tacklers at the end.
“People can say what they want to say,” Lane said. “Put eight or nine guys in the box, I’m going to still get my yards. You can’t stop me.”
The Bulldogs still had a chance to tie the game one more time after Lane’s final score.
Fresno State quarterback Tom Brandstater scrambled left and found tight end Bear Pascoe in the end zone to cut the Aggies’ lead to 2. On the 2-point conversion try — required starting in the third overtime — Brandstater overthrew receiver Marlon Moore in the corner of the end zone, giving the Aggies their ninth consecutive nonconference victory on their home field.
Brandstater finished 21-for-31 for 260 yards.
"We could have come out with a victory," Brandstater said. "It's unfortunate, the way things turned out."
Both teams missed out on chances to win on Fresno State's first play of the first overtime.
After Matt Szymanski kicked a 27-yard field goal to give A&M a 32-29 lead, Moore caught a Brandstater pass and tried to stretch the ball over the goal line with one hand. He fumbled into the end zone as he stepped out of bounds, and the Aggies recovered. The official on the spot ruled that Moore went out at the 1.
Officials reviewed replays and ruled that Moore had fumbled, but A&M nose tackle Henry Smith was flagged for roughing the passer. Fresno State (1-1) was given a first down inside the A&M 13. Clint Stitser kicked a field goal to force another overtime.
Anthony Harding scored on Fresno's next chance, but Lane had a 1-yard TD run to force the third overtime.
"There were times when the odds didn't look good for us," said A&M coach Dennis Franchione. "We just kept going."
A&M's defense dominated in the first half, helping the Aggies build a 19-0 lead. But Brandstater completed his first eight passes in the second half and hit Pascoe with 5 seconds left in regulation to force the extra periods.
The Bulldogs' offense mustered only 78 total yards and five first downs in the first half.
The Aggies got the ball to start the third quarter, but quarterback Stephen McGee was hit by Fresno linebacker Eric Brown and fumbled at the A&M 32. On third-and-8 from the A&M 16, Brandstater found Pascoe on a slant route for a touchdown.