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Going with the hot hand

Aggies' Stewart to start at QB in Sugar Bowl

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Posted: Friday December 18, 1998 10:21 PM

  Stewart is 68-for-128 with seven TDs and two INTs this season Rick Stewart/Allsport

HOUSTON (AP) - Branndon Stewart, who led No. 8 Texas A&M to a double-overtime victory over No. 4 Kansas State in the Big 12 championship game, apparently will start at quarterback against No. 3 Ohio State in the Sugar Bowl.

Coach R.C. Slocum said Monday that starting quarterback Randy McCown likely would not be recovered from a broken collarbone in time to get ready for the January 1 game.

"I'd say it's doubtful, the doctors won't consider anything for three or four weeks and that eliminates a lot of preparation time," Slocum said. "We've got to get a lot of work for Shane Lechler and get him ready for the backup."

McCown injured his left shoulder November 27 when he scored on a 1-yard touchdown dive against Texas in a 26-24 loss. The injury was not confirmed as a broken collarbone until Wednesday prior to Saturday's game against Kansas State.

Stewart, who lost his starting job to McCown after four games this season, threw three touchdown passes in McCown's stead Saturday, guiding A&M to a 36-33 victory over the heavily favored Wildcats.

Lechler, the Aggies' punter, was a star high school quarterback. He almost had to play against Kansas State when Stewart suffered a hyperextended knee in the first quarter.

"We had talked about that [Lechler] before," Slocum said. "We would have lost maybe 50 percent of our offense. In order to give Shane a chance to be successful, I don't think we could have asked him to go in and do what the other quarterbacks had been doing all week long."

Stewart completed 15 of 31 passes for 324 yards against Kansas State.

"I think everyone connected with A&M football was elated with winning a game most people didn't give us a chance to win," Slocum said. "I think there was real excitement that our team produced and everyone was happy to see Branndon Stewart get some recognition and to have that kind of game."

 
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