HOUSTON, Texas (AP) €” Not a bad way to begin a career.
Freshman Byron Jones intercepted three passes in his first start, and Joe Weber scored two touchdowns, helping Texas A&M end a four-game bowl losing streak with a 28-9 victory over TCU in the Galleryfurniture.com Bowl on Friday.
Jones, one of five freshmen in the lineup, helped the Aggies beat their former Southwest Conference rivals for the 24th straight time. A&M won a bowl game for the first time since a 22-20 victory over Michigan in the 1995 Alamo Bowl.
"It was fun to finally win a bowl," Slocum said. "But I haven't beat myself up personally about it. Sometimes we were just playing one of the best teams in the nation and we just weren't good enough to win. Today, the better team won the game."
The Aggies ended the season 8-4 after losing their final three regular-season games. The Horned Frogs (6-6) haven't beaten the Aggies since 1972, and trail the series 56-29-7.
Weber, voted offensive player of the game, broke a 7-7 second-quarter tie with a 2-yard touchdown run and added a 14-yard run that put the Aggies in control with 1:14 left in the third quarter.
TCU's Casey Printers was intercepted four times, including the first three of Jones' career.
Aggies safety Wes Bautovich got A&M's fourth interception. On the next play, Mark Farris hit Mickey Jones for an 82-yard touchdown pass and a 28-7 lead with 14:40 left in the game.Weber broke straight up the middle on his second touchdown, knocking aside two tacklers and running into the end zone. He finished with 59 yards on nine carries.
Jones was the game's MVP and also was the defensive player of the game. He had three tackles and ran back his interceptions a total of 77 yards.
Starting in place of the injured Sean Weston, Jones had only two broken-up passes on his defensive chart in 11 games before he returned his first interception 62 yards in the first quarter to the Frogs' 35.
The Aggies couldn't score on that chance, but Jones had a 15-yard interception return to TCU's 1-yard line in the second quarter, setting up Farris' quarterback keeper for the score.
Charlie Owens scooped up a fumble by A&M running back Derek Farmer and returned it 89 yards for a TCU touchdown with four minutes left in the half, tying the game 7-7. It was the second-longest fumble return in school history.
Thomas returned the ensuing kickoff 43 yards, and Carriger, a converted defensive lineman, lumbered 19 yards with his second reception of the season to set up Weber's 2-yard touchdown run with 1:06 left in the half.