Saturday, October 15, 2011
Halftime analysis: Texas A&M 24, Baylor 14
By David Ubben
COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Weird end to the half when Robert Griffin III appeared to throw what would have been a game-changing pick-six, but the ball hit the ground before it was kicked.
Griffin delivered a big hit at the end of the play, but the Bears were fortunate and only trail 24-14 at halftime. The Bears have plenty of offense for a comeback, and we all know Texas A&M's history in the second half this season.
Now, for a little analysis:
Turning point: Ryan Tannehill hit Ryan Swope for a 68-yard touchdown pass that started a string of scoring and turned the game into a stereotypical Big 12 track meet. Baylor answered and Texas A&M did the same, and we saw three touchdowns in less than two minutes, and the Aggies had two of them to take control of the game.
Stat of the half: Baylor is averaging just over two yards per carry (20 carries, 42 yards), compared to 5.6 (18 carries, 101 yards) for Texas A&M. The Aggies have essentially reduced Baylor's offense to one with a single dimension in the first half. Running back Terrance Ganaway had 200 yards and three scores against Iowa State last week. Stopping Griffin is one of the most difficult tasks in college football, but if you're going to do it, that's a great place to start.
Best player in the half: Griffin III. I'll include a nod to Texas A&M's offensive line and Swope, but outside of one overthrown deep ball to Kendall Wright, Griffin has been outstanding. He's completed 17-of-22 passes for 223 yards and two scores. The first was a pinpoint TD with a tiny hole in the defense to Wright. The second was a 77-yard rainbow to Terrance Williams for a score.
What Baylor needs to do: Keep trying to establish the run game. The Bears offensive line is solid, and they have a pair of good backs in Ganaway and Jarred Salubi. Baylor can't let the Aggies, who had the second-most sacks (21) in FBS, tee off with their pass rushers throughout the second half. Baylor can't win this game without balance.
What Texas A&M needs to do: Don't let the foot off the gas. I don't think that approach happened or was to blame for Texas A&M's past second-half disasters, but the Aggies have to continue to open up the offense, test a suspect Bears secondary deep and give the ball to Cyrus Gray and Christine Michael. Texas A&M has used a lot of misdirection, and Gray has his spin move working. The Aggies can't go conservative on offense. Baylor is fully capable of scoring a ton of points in a hurry, just like Oklahoma State did when it erased a 17-point halftime lead before the third quarter had even ended.