COLLEGE STATION - Kendall Bussey ran for 97 yards and the go-ahead 2-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter as Texas A&M outlasted Nicholls State 24-14 on Saturday night.
Nicholls State (1-1), an FCS school which plays in the Southland Conference, challenged the Aggies a week after they squandered a 34-point third-quarter lead in a stunning 45-44 loss to UCLA.
The Aggies started Kellen Mond at quarterback after Nick Starkel suffered a broken ankle last week, but Jake Hubenak took over early in the third quarter and finished the game. Mond threw for 105 yards and a touchdown and Hubenak added 93 yards passing.
Damion Jeanpiere grabbed a 54-yard reception from Chase Fourcade to get Nicholls State to the 6-yard line early in the fourth quarter. Two plays later he connected with Stephen LeBouef on a 5-yard touchdown pass. LeBouef caught the ball short of the goal line and dragged safety Larry Pryor into the end zone with him for the score.
Fourcade scrambled for several seconds before finding Mason Roberts in the back of the end zone for the 2-point conversion that tied it.
The Aggies punted five straight times after their second touchdown before Daniel LaCamera's 52-yard field goal attempt early in the fourth quarter sailed wide left.
The Colonels couldn't move the ball after Bussey's touchdown and had to punt. The Aggies then ran Bussey again and again to eat up the clock before adding a field goal with 18 seconds left.
The Aggies looked good early, and took a 7-0 lead when Mond connected with Kirk on a 27-yard touchdown pass on their first drive. A 17-yard scoring run by Trayveon Williams made it 14-0 with about three minutes left in the first quarter.
Lorran Fonseca made field goals of 37 and 34 yards in the second quarter to get Nicholls State within 14-6 at halftime.
Fourcade threw for 264 yards with a touchdown and an interception and Jeanpiere had five receptions for 174 yards.