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DENVER — Backup quarterback Zach Calzada threw an 18-yard touchdown pass to Isaiah Spiller with 2:41 remaining and fifth-ranked Texas A&M escaped Empower Field at Mile High with a 10-7 win over Colorado on Saturday.

Spiller's TD gave the Aggies (2-0) their first lead on a day in which they lost freshman QB Haynes King to a lower right leg injury and eight of their first nine drives were three-and-outs.

Colorado's hopes of an upset over the 17-point favorite Aggies ended when Brendon Lewis' pass to Dimitri Stanley on fourth-and-13 from his 22 covered just 12 yards.

The Aggies (2-0), whose 10-game winning streak is second-longest in the nation to Alabama, took over with 1:39 left and ran out the clock on the Buffs (1-1), who managed just one first down after taking a 7-3 halftime lead.

The former Big 12 adversaries hadn't played each other since 2009 before the Aggies bolted to the Southeastern Conference and the Buffs headed to the Pac-12.

The old rivals put on a dazzling defensive performance, but an offensive dud in front of 61,203 fans at the home of the Denver Broncos.

The Buffs had a chance to pull off their first win over a top-five team in 14 years when Joshka Gustav forced a fumble inches from the goal line and cornerback Mekhi Blackmon recovered it in the end zone to prevent a touchdown by the Aggies midway through the fourth quarter.

The Buffs went three-and-out again, however, and the Aggies began their game-winning drive from their 23 with 7:50 remaining.

The Buffs lost their best rusher, Jarek Broussard, to an unspecified injury midway through the third quarter after he was smoked by nickelback Antonio Johnson just as he caught a pass in the right flat. He slowly walked off and didn't return.

King hobbled off the field favoring his right leg after a 2-yard keeper on the Aggies' second possession. He spent the second half watching from the sideline in street clothes, on crutches and with a walking boot on his right foot.

Calzada, a sophomore, completed just two of his first eight passes for 2 yards until heating up in the two-minute drill just before halftime.

After five three-and-outs and a missed field goal following an interception at midfield by Aggies defensive tackle Jayden Peevy, Calzada was 4 of 7 for 41 yards on a drive that ended with Seth Small's 41-yard field goal that pulled Texas A&M to 7-3 at halftime.

That drive began with a 15-yard run by Devon Achane. Before that, the Aggies were in danger of becoming the first team to head into halftime without a first down against Colorado since Nebraska in 1961.

Broussard scored from 2 yards for Colorado in the first quarter, but the Buffs blew several chances to put this one away early. One long drive ended with a missed field goal by Cole Becker and another ended when Lewis was stuffed on back-to-back attempts to gain a few inches inside the Aggies 5-yard line.

Poll implications

Texas A&M escaped a huge upset but it has big questions at quarterback. Their dominant defense came to the rescue on a day it was sorely needed.

Up next

Texas A&M hosts New Mexico on Sept. 18.

Colorado hosts Minnesota on Sept. 18.

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