COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Max Johnson threw for 140 yards and a touchdown in his first start for No. 24 Texas A&M and the Aggies beat No. 13 Miami 17-9 on Saturday night.
Johnson replaced Haynes King, who coach Jimbo Fisher benched after his subpar performance in Texas A&M’s stunning loss to Appalachian State last week.
Miami (2-1) was down by 8 and had to punt after two holding calls stalled a drive with about three minutes left. The Hurricanes had a shot to get the ball back when Ainias Smith fumbled the punt on the 12. But he pounced on the ball before Miami could get to it to allow A&M to keep the ball.
The Hurricanes got the ball back again after that, but Brashard Smith dropped a pass on fourth-and-4 with about 30 seconds left to allow the Aggies (2-1) to run out the clock for the victory.
Dropped passes were a theme of the night for Miami as the team struggled without star receiver Xavier Restrepo, who missed the game with a foot injury. Tyler Van Dyke had 217 yards passing, but couldn't get the Hurricanes in the end zone.
Devon Achane had 88 yards rushing and extended the lead to 17-3 with about 10 1/2 minutes left in the third quarter when he grabbed a short pass and shed four defenders en route to a 25-yard score.
A 22-yard field goal by Andres Borregales cut the lead to 17-6 with about four minutes left in the third quarter. Borregales got Miami within 8 with a 34-yard field goal with 8 1/2 minutes to play.
The Hurricanes, who scored 100 points combined in their first two games, moved the ball well at times, but could not convert in the red zone, settling for field goals again and again as they lost for the first time under new coach Mario Cristobal.
Johnson, who was the starter at LSU last season before transferring to A&M, wasn't great, completing just 10 of 20 passes. But he seemed to give the Aggies a shot in the arm after last week's loss sent them tumbling from No. 6 to No. 24 in the AP Top 25.
Smith had four receptions for 74 yards to help the Aggies to the win in front of a crowd of 107,245, which was the third-largest crowd in Kyle Field history and the largest for a non-conference game.
The Aggies lost two players in the secondary in the first quarter because of targeting penalties. Cornerback Brian George was ejected with about 3 1/2 minutes left in the period for a hit on Parrish.
Safety Demani Richardson was kicked out for a hit on Michael Redding III after a catch just before the end of the quarter.
Borregales, who missed a 49-yard field goal attempt in the first quarter, had one from blocked from 36 yards with about 11 1/2 minutes left in the second.
The game was tied after the teams exchanged early field goals Tyrique Stevenson muffed a punt and it was recovered by Chris Russell on the Miami 25.
Texas A&M cashed in on the mistake three plays later when L.J. Johnson scored on a 1-yard touchdown run to make it 10-3. Achane set up that score with a 22-yard run on the previous play.