Posted on: November 28, 2011 1:07 pm
Edited on: November 28, 2011 1:36 pm
Posted by Bryan Fischer
There's just something about a few helpings of turkey and some good old fashioned hate for a rival football team.
As the season winds down and, in most cases, ends for teams that don't qualify for a bowl game or conference championship, rivalry week is when many schools put all the eggs in the basket to go into the offseason knowing they went out on a high note.
Because of that, there was no better scene in college football this weekend than Lexington, Kentucky.
Despite using a wide receiver at quarterback due to injuries, Kentucky still managed to pull off a win against Tennessee for the first time since 1984. On the whole, it was a disappointing year but the win over the Volunteers will give the team something positive to think about in the offseason. That AD Mitch Barnhart announced that head coach Joker Phillips would be back for sure next season also added to a historic day for the program.
The scene afterward was what college football was all about. Fans rushed the field to celebrate with players, everyone of whom had a gigantic smile on their face. That they attempted just six passes for 15 yards to win ugly didn't matter, a win is a win and this one meant more than the other four they had during the season.
Perhaps it was appropriate that the Wildcats wore black jerseys because it felt afterward like a funeral for Tennessee, who lost out on a chance to go to a bowl game with the loss. The Derek Dooley era is on shaky ground after barely beating Vanderbilt and, now, ending the streak over Kentucky. No doubt the slick-haired, orange pants wearing Dooley had to take over a difficult situation but it's still Tennessee. There are players there and the defense isn't too bad with Justin Wilcox running things but there has been zero consistency.
The losses are one thing for Dooley but the lack of wins might be the most concerning part if you're a Vols fan. He's never beaten a ranked team and has no signature victory that he can hold his hat on. You can understand why they're clamoring for his head in Knoxville.
It was a slightly different scene in College Station - except for the clamoring for the head coach's head part.
It was once again a second half to forget for Texas A&M, as they ended their final scheduled game with Texas by falling on their face. There was plenty of optimism coming in that the Aggies would get the last laugh before leaving for the SEC but it was the Longhorn players who had no problem starting up an "S-E-C!" chant following the victory.
"Sports can be really cruel," Mack Brown said. "I think it was a time tonight where both teams deserved to win."
After 118 meetings, it was pretty cruel for things to end that way. Kyle Field had erupted following Ryan Tannehill's pass to Jeff Fuller for a 16 yard touchdown to take the lead but was silent after Justin Tucker's 40 yard field goal sailed through the uprights.
"They played their hearts out tonight," Tucker said. "But sending them off to the SEC with a sour taste in their mouth feels pretty good."
Nothing like beating a rival.
Stat of the week
In 26 games among BCS AQ schools or ranked non-AQ schools on Saturday, just two were within seven points and the average margin of victory was 20 points.
Stats of week
- Alabama held Auburn to a 3-and-out on 7-of-10 drives and now has 72 3-and-outs in 143 opponent drives (50.3%)
- Since 2007, Tennessee and Kentucky are both 33-31. The Wildcats beat the Vols for the first time in 26 games, a span of 9,863 days. Tennessee finishes the year with consecutive losing records for the first time since 1910-11.
- Texas A&M was outscored 76-7 in the third quarter of their losses.
- Via the AP, Nebraska has nine or more wins for the 38th time in 42 seasons (90%).
- LSU's secondary has scored as many touchdowns (6) as they've allowed.
- Not sure if Trent Richardson helped win the Heisman with his career-high 203 yards in the Iron Bowl but he did nothing but bolster his resume. Remarkably the score at halftime was the same (24-7) as it was a year ago when some guy named Cam wiped out the deficit on the way to a championship. There would be no comeback from the Tigers this time thanks in large part to the suffocating Tide defense that allowed just 140 yards of offense. The lone bright spot for the home team was Onterio McCalebb's 83-yard kick return (the first ever in Iron Bowl history) that seemed to give the team some hope before Alabama quickly closed the door. All in all, a dominating effort for a team that has well over a month to prepare for their rematch with LSU.
- Impressive season for Louisville's Charlie Strong, who has done one of the best coaching jobs in the country by clinching at least a share of the Big East title with a win 34-24 over South Florida. Early losses, including one to FIU, seemed to show that the team was at least a year away from being in contention in the league but Strong righted the ship and freshman quarterback Teddy Bridgewater has really come on as of late, passing for three touchdowns against USF. Amazingly, the win snapped a 16-game losing streak in the state of Florida during the regular season. That the Cardinals are in contention for a BCS bowl berth boggles the mind if you watched this team early in the year.
- You would not have expected Rex Burkhead to play against Iowa if you saw him on Monday when he had his foot in a walking boot. He shredded the boot by Saturday however and had no issues pounding away at the Hawkeyes defense, rushing for 160 yards and a touchdown in Nebraska's 20-7 win. Surprisingly, his 38 carries were a school-record and came just a week after one of his worst games of his career against Michigan. It was just part of a punishing offensive attack against Iowa that gave the team an amazing 16 minute time of possession advantage. You can tell why Bo Pellini decided to keep things on the ground after Taylor Martinez tossed a few arm punts early in the game.
- Andrew Luck's final home game ended on a high note as he passed John Elway's school record for career touchdown passes and gave Heisman voters some more to think about. Beating a marquee opponent like Notre Dame on national television helps too, as the Cardinal jumped out to a 21-0 lead at halftime and never really lost control of the game.
- Down the road in Los Angeles, Matt Barkley made his case to be invited to New York. In what could have been his final game in cardinal and gold, he passed for 423 yards and six touchdowns on a record setting night to throttle UCLA 50-0. "One more year" chants were heard throughout the game but it was a heck of a way for USC to end their bowl ban and put an exclamation point on what has been a terrific season under Lane Kiffin. Things aren't too pretty for the other side as the Bruins were not only humiliated at the Coliseum, but likely will be blitzed just as bad in the Pac-12 Championship game. The "gap" between the two programs that Rick Neuheisel talked about being closed appeared to have never been wider than it was Saturday night.
- Tulsa was supposed to represent Houston's stiffest test of the season but the trip to Oklahoma proved to be anything but as the Cougars rolled in the second half to secure Conference USA hosting duties. As good as Case Keenum was at quarterback, Patrick Edwards was the star of the show, grabbing four touchdowns and 181 yards to break the conference career record for receiving yards. The Golden Hurricanes had been undefeated in league play but Keenum found Edwards on 4th down in the 3rd quarter and it was away they go. Houston converted several 4th downs and built up style points as Keenum threw for 457 yards and a ho-hum five touchdowns before being pulled. Perhaps the biggest surprise was the Cougars defense, who held a normally high-scoring Tulsa attack to just 16 points.
- When Arkansas came into Baton Rouge, the Hogs represented the toughest passing attack LSU would see all season. Luckily the Tigers had the nation's best secondary and one player in particular - the Honey Badger. Tyrann Mathieu is simply a playmaker whenever his team needs it most and you could tell Friday when he returned a punt 92 yards for a touchdown that seemed to turn the tide just when it looked like Arkansas was making a game of it. The offense was pretty good too, with Kenny Hilliard, Spencer Ware and even Jordan Jefferson (despite a boneheaded play or two) causing the Razorbacks defense issues. The 21 third quarter points - keyed in part by Mathieu - might have pushed LSU ahead but it was the rushing attack in the 4th quarter that turned a solid win into a blowout. It's no surprise that plenty of people invoked the name Billy Cannon after the game considering that the last time there was a top-three match up in Death Valley, Cannon returned a punt for a score against Ole Miss. Of course it was Mathieu doing the honors this time as the Tigers kept their record perfect on the road to Atlanta and on to New Orleans.
- If you had to say a team was due before the year was up, Colorado was a good choice. The Buffaloes, despite their record, had a pretty decent offense but just couldn't perform on defense or on the road. Although Utah was at home and playing for a chance to go to the Pac-12 title game, the Buffs jumped out to an early lead and managed to hang on to beat the Utes 17-14. Normally reliable field goal kicker Coleman Petersen missed the final kick with seconds left to go 0-3 on the day and diminish Utah's hopes of a solid debut season in a BCS conference. What was billed as the start of a new rivalry between new conference foes turned out to be a historic win for Colorado, as the team ended a 23-game road losing streak. Utah was hampered by the loss of running back John White but there was no question that they should have won this game but a few breaks went the way of CU. Before the season head coach Jon Embree talked about putting up bricks to build a wall of success that the program had done in its glory days and on a chilly Friday afternoon, he added one more thanks to the upset on the road.
- The Countdown Clock on the Columbus Dispatch's website was probably already setup to change following Saturday's Ohio State-Michigan game. Things were closer than expected in the Wolverines 40-34 win at the Big House, a testament to just how hard the Buckeyes fought to keep their streak alive. Braxton Miller was great until his final play, an interception to seal the game, and out-played his counterpart Denard Robinson for much of the afternoon. UM got the last laugh when the gun sounded by ending a streak that had gone nearly 3,000 days but if there was one take away from the annual rivalry game, it's that Miller should be fun to watch in Urban Meyer's offense.
- Most impressive victory this weekend might have been Wisconsin throttling Penn State 45-7. The Nittany Lions have the best defense in the Big Ten but they were ran over by Montee Ball, who scored four touchdowns and has a chance at setting the NCAA single-season record. The rematch with Michigan State for a trip to the Rose Bowl just got a little more interesting.
- If you haven't been able to watch Luke Kuechly play linebacker at Boston College, you missed out on one of the hardest working players in the game. Don't worry, he'll probably be a 10+ year vet in the NFL so there should be plenty of chances to see him in the future though. Surprisingly, Kuechly didn't reach the double-digit tackles plateau for the first time since his freshman year but he did run back an interception for a touchdown and made life tough for Miami in a 24-17 upset. The talented 'backer also became the school's all-time tackles leader and showed why he could be a potential first round pick if he decides to leave school early. On the flip side, Jacory Harris - after perhaps his best season - reverted to the Harris of old by tossing four interceptions in his final college game. While there were not many people watching (in the stands or on TV), the result was overshadowed by the news of the day as Miami announced head coach Al Golden had agreed to a four-year extension that would keep in in Coral Gables until 2020.
- In a/the Backyard Brawl, all rules are off. The intense series between Pitt and West Virginia faced an uncertain future with both moving to different conferences but on the field in 2011 the two had no problem giving everybody a compelling game. The Panthers had jumped out to a 17-7 half-time lead but were simply shut down by a swarming Mountaineers defense in the second half that kept things close enough that the sputtering WVU offense could eventually cash-in a game-winning touchdown. It was a wild ending in a series full of them but Dana Holgorsen's squad managed to pull things out. Pitt quarterback Tino Sunseri had a rough night, being sacked 10 (!) times, four of which came on a crazy final drive.
- If you want to know why Dennis Erickson was shown the door at Arizona State, look no further than the late night showdown against an improving California team. It was in many ways it was young (Bears) against and the old (Sun Devils). Erickson's squad was trying to salvage the season and his job, Jeff Tedford's group was trying to build upon the second half of their season. It was a defense-optional shootout like the Pac-10 days of old but Cal managed to force four turnovers that likely ended up as the deciding factor. Credit to Tedford who helped his cause while Erickson killed his, this was a fun game but defense - surprisingly - decided things and that ended up in Cal's favor.
- In terms of surprises, Virginia Tech shutting out a hot Virginia team at home might be highly ranked on the list. It was the Cavaliers first home shutout loss since 1984 and they had zero ground game to speak of (30 yards on 26 carries). It was likely the Hokies best win of the season to date and continued a strong run by quarterback Logan Thomas.
Tweet of the week
"USC card stunts say "We run LA." Based on how poorly the city is run, I would not brag about that.
- Chris Huston, The Hesiman Pundit
3. Oklahoma State
7. Boise State
10. Virginia Tech
Where we'll be this week
I draw the early assignment and will head up Eugene for the Pac-12 Championship game with Oregon and UCLA on Friday. Eye on College Football bloggers Chip Patterson and Adam Jacobi will head to the ACC and Big Ten Championships respectively. Brett McMurphy makes the trip to see Bedlam between Oklahoma and Oklahoma State while Dennis Dodd joins Tony Barnhart in Atlanta for the SEC Championship.
Leaning this way
Georgia vs. LSU
Do the Bulldogs have a chance? No, not really. Even if they did, it appears the Tigers are locked into a trip to the BCS National Championship game in New Orleans either way. Les Miles' secondary already took care of the best quarterback in the SEC West last week and will do pretty much the same to the best quarterback in the SEC East down in Atlanta.
Oklahoma at Oklahoma State
Don't let the loss to Iowa State fool you, Oklahoma State is still a very good team and their opportunistic defense should enjoy playing Landry Jones on the road. The Sooners haven't really been the same team they were earlier in the season thanks to several injuries - their top running back and wide receiver among them - and they've had their troubles at Boone Pickens Stadium before. Expect it to be close but ultimately the Cowboys will win the game and the Big 12.
Wisconsin vs. Michigan State
These teams are so evenly matched that it took a hail mary for the Spartans to beat the Badgers the first time. That pass isn't something that Wisconsin players forgot about and have a chance to avenge it for a trip to the Rose Bowl. The offense has been rolling the past couple of weeks behind Montee Ball and Russell Wilson so look for them to do some damage against Michigan State the second time around.
Tags: Adam Jacobi, Al Golden, Alabama, Andrew Luck, Arizona State, Arkansas, Auburn, Backyard Brawl, Bedlam, Big East, Big House, Billy Cannon, Bo Pellini, Boise State, Boone Pickens Stadium, Boston College, Braxton Miller, Brett McMurphy, Bryan Fischer, California, Cam Newton, Case Keenum, Charlie Strong, Chip Patterson, Chris Huston, Coleman Petersen, Colorado, Conference USA, Denard Robinson, Dennis Dodd, Dennis Erickson, Derek Dooley, FIU, Georgia, Heisman, Heisman Trophy, Houston, Iowa, Iowa State, Iron Bowl, Jacory Harris, Jeff Fuller, Jeff Tedford, John Elway, Joker Phillips, Jon Embree, Jordan Jefferson, Justin Tucker, Justin Wilcox, Kenny Hilliard, Kentucky, Kyle Field, Landry Jones, Lane Kiffin, Les Miles, Logan Thomas, Louisville, LSU, Luke Kuechly, Mack Brown, Matt Barkley, Miami, Michigan, Michigan, MIchigan State, Mitch Barnhart, NCAA, Nebraska, NFL, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Ole Miss, Onterio McCalebb, Oregon, Pac-10, Pac-12 Championship Game, Patrick Edwards, Penn State, Pitt, Rex Burkhead, Rick Neuheisel, Rose Bowl, Russell Wilson, Ryan Tannehill, SEC, South Florida, Spencer Ware, Taylor Martinez, Teddy Bridgewater, Tennessee, Texas, Texas A&M, Tino Sunseri, Tony Barnhart, Trent Richardson, Tulsa, Tyrann Mathieu, UCLA, Urban Meyer, USC, Utah, Vanderbilt, Virginia, Virginia Tech, West Virginia, Wisconsin
Posted on: November 27, 2011 1:13 am
Posted by Tom Fornelli
A handy recap of who really won and who really lost that you won't find in the box score.
WINNER: Texas Fight
"Texas Fight! Texas Fight! And it's goodbye to A&M." The opening lyrics to the Texas fight song took on a whole new meaning this weekend as Texas and Texas A&M may have met for the final time in the regular season as the Aggies prepare to join the SEC in 2012. While Texas A&M claims it would like to continue the rivalry, Texas doesn't seem as willing to do so, and the Longhorns said goodbye to their hated rival in a rather unfriendly fashion on Thursday night, coming back in the second half and winning the game on a Justin Tucker field goal as time expired. Will this game ever be reborn? I'd like to think so, but at the moment the Aggies will have to deal with being on the wrong end of the scoreboard indefinitely.
LOSER: Mike Sherman
The Aggies finish the 2011 regular season with a record of 6-6 after beginning the season ranked in the top ten of both major polls. In those six losses the Aggies found themselves outscored 83-0 in the third quarter of those games. Something that reflects incredibly poorly on the coaching staff, with Mike Sherman being the main target. On Friday morning there was an open thread for the day's games on A&M blog I Am The 12th Man with the title of "Who Should Replace Coach Sherman?" We can't be sure if Sherman is going to lose his job, but it seems pretty obvious what the fans want to see, and with the Aggies starting anew in the SEC, the school may feel it's time for a fresh start in the coaching staff as well.
WINNER: Nick Florence
I can't lie. When the second half of Baylor's game against Texas Tech began with the Bears up 31-28 and I found out that Robert Griffin was going to miss the rest of the game I didn't like Baylor's chances. Well, Florence proved me wrong rather quickly, throwing for 2 long touchdowns in the third quarter and rushing for a third in the fourth. It was Florence's first game-action of the season and first time on the field since mop-up duty against Kansas in 2010. Still, by the way he played, you'd think he'd been starting for the Bears the last three years. Now Baylor fans have to think that if Griffin leaves for the NFL after this season they won't be in very bad shape with Florence around.
LOSER: Robert Griffin's Heisman chances
With Trent Richardson having a monster game for Alabama as the Tide seemingly locked up a berth in the title game and Andrew Luck throwing for 4 touchdowns on Saturday night, Griffin missing the entire second half -- and possibly next week's game against Texas depending on the severity of the injury -- against Texas Tech had to be an end to his Heisman chances. He'll probably still appear on enough ballots to warrant an invite to New York for the ceremony, but I just don't see how he'll be able to win now.
WINNER: The Norman Wind
I don't know if you can fully credit the gusts of wind blowing through Norman on Saturday morning for how the game turned out, but if it wasn't the most consistent factor at Oklahoma Memorial Stadium then I don't know what was. The game saw 8 turnovers and both team's quarterbacks combine to complete 35 of 73 (48%) of their passes. It was not pretty.
LOSER: Oklahoma State
The Cowboys had the weekend off, but that didn't stop them from possibly losing ground in the BCS this weekend. There were a lot of things that Oklahoma State needed to happen, but not enough of them did. Yes, Oklahoma beat Iowa State which means that a win over the Sooners will mean a lot more in the eyes of the pollsters if it happens next week, but Alabama and Stanford also managed to win on Saturday, with Alabama winning the Iron Bowl in a rout. Something that may have clinched a trip to New Orleans for the Tide. At this point the Fiesta Bowl and a Big 12 title may be all Oklahoma State has left to play for, not that accomplishing that would be a disappointment, but it's still not a title shot.
WINNER: Big 12 football in general
There's not much argument from around the country that the SEC is the best conference in all of college football. That's what tends to happen when the last five national champions call one conference home, but that doesn't mean the Big 12 isn't pretty damn good. We already know the BCS computers love the conference, and there's a reason for it. At the moment it's entirely possible that four Big 12 teams (Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, Baylor, and Kansas State) could finish the season with 10 wins. The only other conferences that can do that this season are the SEC (which already has 5) and the Big Ten. The difference of course being that the SEC and Big Ten have 12 teams and the Big 12 only has 10.
LOSER: Big 12 fans
I already talked about the death of the Lonestar Showdown earlier in this post, but that wasn't the only rivalry that came to an end in the Big 12 this week as Missouri and Kansas wrapped up their Border War rivalry on Saturday in Kansas City. That's a combined 238 years of history going out the window this weekend. Which, to be frank, sucks.
At the moment both rivalries seem dead, but I hope that as a few years pass and cooler heads prevail against the anger that exists between these schools and is currently feuling their "divorces." The sport of college football is just better off with these rivalries in the long run, because not everybody can play for a BCS bowl or a national championship every season, and these games tend to serve as those for many fan bases around the country.
Tags: Alabama, Andrew Luck, Baylor, Big 12, Big 12 Winners and Losers, Iowa State, Justin Tucker, Kansas, Kansas State, Mike Sherman, Missouri, Nick Florence, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Robert Griffin, Stanford, Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, The Border War, The Lonestar Showdown, Tom Fornelli, Trent Richardson, Winners And Losers, Winners and Losers Week 13
Posted on: November 25, 2011 2:05 am
Edited on: November 25, 2011 11:57 am
Posted by Bryan Fischer
COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- It said it all.
Texas' band spelled out 'Thanks aTm" and played Thanks for the Memories as the Kyle Field crowd politely applauded. It was in many ways the warmest moment the two schools had in months, if not years.
For Longhorns and Aggies alike, the memory of the 118th and final scheduled time the two schools play will last.
It will hurt for some and be the source of bragging rights for others.
Texas' come back victory on Thanksgiving night was anything but a line in the record books that reads "Texas 27, Texas A&M 25."
The pain - the anguish - that typically lingers from every game will last a bit longer for the maroon side after Thursday. The pride - the jubilation - will last even longer for the burnt orange side.
"Sports can be really cruel," head coach Mack Brown said. "It was a great college football game. I don't think you can call either team a team that loses. We're the ones that had more points on the board."
The poignant thank you from the band at halftime might have been the final 'good' memory for Aggies as members of the Big 12 conference, witnessing yet another second half collapse in a season full of them.
"it seems like it's the same comment," coach Mike Sherman said. "This is a devastating loss for out team.
"I take nothing away from Texas, they played well, but it's a game we should have won and didn't."
Same old story for the Aggies, who once again said "Gag'em" after a first half full of "Gig'ems."
The third quarter was A&M's achilies heel, as Texas capitalized on turnovers to swing a 7-16 deficit into a 24-16 lead. Despite a double-digit lead for the 11th time this season, the Aggies squandered it with two Ryan Tannehill interceptions - one returned for a touchdown - and mistake after mistake.
The team fell to 6-6 on the season thanks to flipping the switch to 'off' during halfitime, A&M outscored 86-0 in the third quarter alone in each loss.
"Well I think if you look at the games, we definitely have turned the ball over too many times," Sherman said. "We have to make the plays we have to make."
The Aggies didn't, the Horns did, the story of the series that Texas now leads 76-37-5. Tannehill's pick-six made it a two-point game. A punt on the next drive resulted in a 81-yard Quandre Diggs return and an eventual field goal to take the lead. Yet another interception put the Longhorns in business deep in A&M territory before senior Cody Johnson punched it in for a one-yard touchdown.
All it took was 13 plays and 27 offensive yards to completely snatch momentum away in a game that the Aggies didn't need to win as much as they couldn't lose.
"It was an emotional night," quarterback Case McCoy said. "We didn't play well at all the first half but our defense got us back in it. I'm proud of how hard we fought."
Case was the latest McCoy to torment Texas A&M. After what looked to be a game winning drive following Jeff Fuller's 16 yard catch and run to muscle into the end zone, McCoy took over an offense that had struggled all night. But he made the play of the game on a 25-yard scramble right up the middle to set up Justin Tucker's game-winning 40-yard field goal.
"What a great feeling to end this rivalry and celebrate Thanksgiving," McCoy said, minutes after sharing an emotional hug with offensive coordinator Major Applewhite, who was 3-1 against A&M himself.
The Aggies end their football tenure in the Big 12 with a loss, closing the book on an era in which they won just one conference title. The first line of the fight song late in the game was perhaps the saddest, most painful of all the Lone Star Showdowns because it meant far more than 'we'll see you in 365.'
"Goodbye Texas University…" the Kyle Field crowd sang in unison, swaying in different directions for the final time in 2011. The third-longest rivalry in major college football was, suddenly, over.
"It's Texas but...," A&M running back Ben Malena, the lone bright spot on the night with 93 all-purpose yards, "We're going to the SEC, we have bigger and better things to worry about."
"It's one of the great traditions we have in college athletics," athletic director Bill Byrne remarked. "But it's just part of the change".
"It takes two to sign a contract. We've expressed sincere interest in every sport to continue the relationship. So far we've had no takers. The question doesn't need to be asked of me, it needs to be asked of (Texas AD DeLoss) Dodds."
The Longhorns seem to want no part of it. As soon as Tucker's field goal went through the uprights, they ran straight to the 'Lone Star Showdown' logo and jumped with joy. Players started an "S-E-C" chant. The Longhorn Network's twitter account provided the final salt in the wounds however.
"Goodbye and Good Luck."
As the Longhorns left Kyle Field for what could be the last time in decades, they did so with as satisfying a win as ever. The only team Texas A&M has lost to from the state in two years: the University of Texas.
Thanks for the memories indeed.
Posted on: November 25, 2011 12:22 am
Edited on: November 25, 2011 12:22 am
Posted by Tom Fornelli
TEXAS WON. A rivalry that has gone on for 118 years may have come to an end on Thursday night, and there may not have been a better way to put an end to it than the game we got. Particularly if you're a Texas fan. Following a formula that's become all too familiar for Texas A&M this season, the Longhorns came back from a 16-7 deficit at halftime by outscoring the Aggies 17-0 in the third quarter. However, this time the Aggies would battle back and retake the lead with 1:48 to go after Ryan Tannehill hit Jeff Fuller for a 16-yard touchdown pass to give A&M a 25-24 lead.
But then Case McCoy went Colt McCoy. A Longhorns offense that struggled all night got things together on a final drive, one that featured a 25-yard scramble from McCoy that put the Longhorns in field goal position. Of course, the drive also featured a questionable personal foul call against Texas A&M, so you can be sure you'll hear a lot of conspiracy theories coming from College Station in the next few days. Then it all ended with Justin Tucker splitting the uprights with a 40-yard field goal as time expired to give the Longhorns what could be their last victory over Texas A&M for a long time.
WHY TEXAS WON. It's defense and special teams did the job. This was not a pretty game offensively on either side of the ball, as the two teams combined for only 565 yards of total offense, went 9-for-34 on third down and committed 6 turnovers between them. However, the Texas defense put the clamps down on A&M in the third quarter, causing three turnovers, one of which was an interception returned for a touchdown by Carrington Byndom. A few minutes later Quandre Diggs had an 81-yard punt return to set Texas up with a first and goal. The Longhorns only got a field goal out of that drive, but another Tannehill interception a few plays later set up another Longhorns touchdown. It was that 15-minute stretch that ultimately sealed the fate of both teams in this contest.
WHEN TEXAS WON. Aside from that third quarter completely turning this game around, things weren't official until Justin Tucker's 40-yard field goal went through as time expired. A remarkable feat for Tucker considering how tired his leg had to be after punting 11 times on the night.
WHAT TEXAS WON. Not only does this win get Texas to 7 wins on the year, but let's be real, what this game really won Texas is perhaps the final bragging rights over Texas A&M. The Aggies won't be getting a chance for revenge anytime soon, and may not ever get that chance if Texas continues to get its way.
WHAT TEXAS A&M LOST: This is another terrible loss for the Aggies. Another blown lead, and now a season that began with so much promise sees the Aggies finish the regular season at 6-6. Also, it's not like Mike Sherman wasn't already sitting on a hot seat coming into this game, this loss sure isn't going to help cool it off, and then there's the fact that it's Texas and this could be the final meeting for both schools. What I'm saying is, this was a terrible night for the Aggies.
THAT WAS CRAZY: In it's 6 losses this season, Texas A&M has been outscored 83-0 in the third quarter. You don't need to look past that number to know how the Aggies lost those games. Still, what's crazier than anything is that this rivalry is coming to an end. It's one of the best rivalries in college football, and it's going away. I mean, I grew up in Chicago and I'm having a hard time imagining a season in which Texas and Texas A&M aren't a part of my Thanksgiving tradition. I can only hope that cooler heads prevail sooner rather than later, and these teams meet again on the gridiron.
Posted on: November 6, 2011 1:13 am
Edited on: November 6, 2011 1:26 am
Posted by Tom Fornelli
A handy recap of who really won and who really lost that you won't find in the box score.
WINNER: Oklahoma State's BCS title dreams
This was here last week as well, but that doesn't change the fact that it's true. Though Kansas State gave Oklahoma State just about everything it could handle on Saturday night the Cowboys still emerged from the scorched earth and rumbling fault line that was Boone Pickens Stadium with a win. Now the Cowboys are 9-0 on the season and will move up in the BCS standings to the second spot after Alabama's loss to LSU.
So as long as Oklahoma State keeps winning -- and there are still three games to go, so nothing is guaranteed -- then it's going to end up in New Orleans. There is no Big 12 title game to get in the way, though a game against Oklahoma will serve as the Big 12 championship, but at least it's played in Stillwater and not Jerry World.
WINNER: Brandon Weeden's Heisman hopes
With Alabama losing that hurts Trent Richardson's chances because voters tend to vote for the best players on the best teams, and since Alabama has a loss now, they won't be considered one of the best teams. It's stupid, but it's reality. Now, Weeden likely won't be able to pass Andrew Luck without Stanford suffering a loss, but he's still the quarterback of the #2 team in the country. That alone is enough to get you consideration these days, let alone the fact that Weeden's now thrown for 3,212 yards this season and 26 touchdowns on one of the best offenses in the country.
LOSER: Ryan Broyles
To be clear, there has never been an injury suffered by any player that I've enjoyed. Every single one of them stinks, but Ryan Broyles' torn ACL on Saturday made me sadder than most. This is a kid that has not only been a great player during his career at Oklahoma, but someone who passed up on the chance to become a millionaire in the NFL last spring so he could return to Norman and play for a national title. Now his season is over and his draft stock is going to plummet. This world has never been fair, but sometimes it's just downright cruel.
LOSER: Preseason expectations
Before this season started Texas A&M was ranked 8th in the AP poll and 9th in the Coaches poll. Well, just in case you needed any more evidence to see why preseason polls are absolutely ridiculous since we're offering opinions on teams before seeing a single down played, just look at Texas A&M. After getting beat soundly by Oklahoma on Saturday the Aggies are now 5-4 and 3-3 in the Big 12 staring at a date in the Alamo or Sun Bowl. Considering that the school is moving to the SEC next year, those preseason expectations may also end up costing Mike Sherman his job.
WINNER: Smashmouth football in Austin
Why should Bryan Harsin even bother calling a pass at this point? Over the last two weeks he's seen his offense rush for 880 yards and 11 touchdowns. After scoring 6 rushing touchdowns against Texas Tech it's the first time the Longhorns have run for at least 5 scores in consecutive games since 2005. Making things even more impressive, the Longhorns didn't even have Malcolm Brown available on Saturday. The combination of Brown and Joe Bergeron over the next few seasons, with some David Ash mixed in, is going to keep defensive coordinators up at night.
LOSER: Justin Tucker
Who is Justin Tucker? I'm glad you asked. Justin Tucker is Texas' punter. He's only had to punt once the last two weeks. Though I suppose that could just as easily make him a winner. Plus, at least he's also the placekicker and gets to kick field goals from time to time. Just to keep his leg from falling asleep.
WINNER: Baylor's offensive virility
Yes Baylor was able to put up a lot of yards in its last two games against Texas A&M and Oklahoma State, but it still wasn't able to put a lot of points on the scoreboard in either matchup. That changed on Saturday night against Missouri when the Bears not only scored 42 points to beat Missouri 42-39, but also picked up a school record of 697 yards of total offense in the process. Robert Griffin was responsible for 470 of those yards and 4 touchdowns while Terrence Ganaway rushed for 186 yards on only 12 carries. 15.5 yards per carry is a pretty good clip.
LOSER: Texas Tech
What the hell has happened, Raiders? Two weeks ago you were ahead of Oklahoma 31-7 in the second half, preparing to shock the world. Since then you've been outscored 124-37. I mean, you lost to Iowa State 41-7 last week and Iowa State was only able to beat Kansas 13-10 on Saturday night. Kansas!
WINNER: Speaking of Iowa State...
Hey, so it wasn't pretty, but the Cyclones picked up a 13-10 win against Kansas on Saturday night. The win improved Paul Rhoads' team to 5-4 on the season, which means it's only one win shy of bowl eligibility. That's great news for the program. Unfortunately, here's the bad news: Iowa State's last three games are against Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Kansas State.
LOSER: Kansas' chances of winning a Big 12 game in 2011
Listen, we all know Kansas is a bad football team. I'm not going to pile on the program even more, but the school's best chance of winning a Big 12 game this season was on Saturday night in Ames, and the Jayhawks fell short 13-10. Now the Jayhawks finish the year with Baylor, Texas A&M and Missouri. Three teams who aren't untouchable by any means, but I'm not liking Kansas' chances in any of them.
Tags: Alabama, Andrew Luck, Baylor, Big 12, Brandon Weeden, Bryan Harsin, David Ash, Iowa State, Joe Bergeron, Justin Tucker, Kansas, Kansas State, LSU, Malcolm Brown, Mike Sherman, Missouri, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Paul Rhoads, Robert Griffin, Ryan Broyles, Terrence Ganaway, Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Texas Tech, Tom Fornelli, Trent Richardson, Winners And Losers