The ensuing kickoff went off without a hitch for Texas A&M football, sailing out of the back of the end zone. Three straight runs for the Bulldogs failed to yield a first down, but State attempted to sneak the ball on fourth down. Mike Wright, in at QB for the Bulldogs, could find no purchase, and the Aggies took over on downs at the State 34. Jaylen Henderson kicked things off with a pass to a wide-open Jahdae Walker, streaking towards the end zone, that fell incomplete. A touch pass to Ainias bounced off of Smith’s helmet on second down, bringing up 3rd and 10. Pressure on Henderson forced an incompletion on third, and Bond trotted back out to attempt a 52-yarder, which sailed through the uprights to make the score 20-7.
State took over at their 25. A screen pass to Tulu Griffin on first down for the Bulldogs showcased the receiver’s escapability, as he picked up 27 yards after the catch. Two runs yielded zero and eight yards respectively, bringing up third and 2. A procedural penalty made it third and 7, but an off-tackle run sprung the running back free for about 15 yards. Two more runs garnered another first, and State found themselves within the red zone for the first time on the night. The Bulldogs stuck with the ground game for the next two plays, and a third down dropback ended in Wright scrambling out of bounds for a loss. The 36-yard attempt by State sailed through the uprights to cut the deficit to 10 points.
After a short kick by the Bulldogs, the Aggies started at their own 28. Texas A&M football kicked things off on this drive with a huge run from Amari Daniels, getting all the way down to the Bulldog 30. A second handoff to Daniels yielded nothing, however, but a second down pass to Ainias Smith was right on the money to convert a first down. Texas A&M football was once again stonewalled on first down, and pressure on second forced a hasty throw to Smith that fell incomplete. An empty set resulted in a screen pass against heavy pressure from State, and Ainias sailed right into the end zone to make the score 27-10.
The Bulldogs went three and out quickly, kicking the ball back to the Aggies with just under 4 minutes left. A pass intended for Walker flew overhead on first down, but a second-down screen to Max Wright picked up fifteen, as the TE carried a defender on his back a la Jace Sternberger vs. South Carolina. A scramble on the next play went for no gain, and a deep pass was again too far overhead on second down, but a third down run by Henderson again converted. A pass zipped in to Ainias and a run by Rueben Owens gained another first, and the Aggies were down to the 11. A rollout by Henderson, though, found the end zone on the next play to bring the score to 34-10. Texas A&M football had now scored the most first-half points since their opening game against the Lobos. The Bulldogs ran a couple of plays before the half, but they gained only one yard before halftime struck with the Aggies leading by 24.