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Texas defense sets tone in win over Aggies

11/28/2008

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

AUSTIN -- Some wondered if Texas defensive coordinator Will Muschamp would cool his jets after earning the title of head coach designate last week.

His defense provided more fire than Muschamp needed Thursday simply by providing its best effort of the season. And the Texas head coach-to-be's most memorable sideline moment was when he slipped trying to chest bump defensive end Brian Orakpo.

"Rak pushed me," Muschamp said with a sheepish grin. "That was all it was."

Orakpo and his defensive mates did more than that to a beleaguered Texas A&M offense throughout a convincing 49-9 victory. The Longhorns limited Texas A&M to minus 24 yards rushing as they throttled the Aggies from the first possession.

In fact, the strong defensive effort by Texas may have been its most convincing argument to jump ahead in the BCS standings.

"They have really bought in and believed in what we are trying to do and I've been so impressed with the attitude and emotion they've played with," Muschamp said. "We certainly have some things that we can improve on, but that was a pretty complete performance."

The Longhorns have outscored opponents 84-16 in the last two games, limiting Kansas and Texas A&M to a touchdown apiece.

Muschamp's scheme Thursday night featured an assortment of cornerback blitzes that bamboozled A&M quarterbacks Jerrod Johnson and Stephen McGee. The Longhorns finished with six sacks and kept the heat on the A&M quarterbacks throughout the game.

"We hadn't involved the corner much since the first of the year and based on our full week of preparation we felt like we could get some advantage in it," Muschamp said. "We brought our corners quite a bit to build up five and six man pressures. It was something that we saw protection wise and something we felt we could take advantage of."

It also didn't hurt that A&M tried to battle them with a makeshift offensive line where two starters were injured. But the Longhorns pushed A&M from the start of the game, notching three-and-outs on their first three possessions.

That quick start was a marked contrast from the last two seasons, when Texas coaches believed that the Aggies had outhit their team and dominated them in the trenches. It led to a change in attitude with Coach Mack Brown before last year's bowl practice.

Since then, the Longhorns are 12-1. But beating the Aggies was especially sweet after what the Aggies had done to them in the last two seasons.

"It feels real good to physically do your opponent like that," Texas cornerback Ryan Palmer said. "They beat us up the last two years. We wanted them to come up and know the score wouldn't be close. We made it a physical game and won because of it."