Big 12: Michael Goodson
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- There's his new body, rippled with muscles and more than 20 pounds heavier than last season.
A year of dedicated work with the Aggies' strength staff has emboldened Cyrus Gray's confidence.
But as much as anything else, the Texas A&M sophomore running back said the total makeover of his running style came after he took a critical look at his freshman season and determined specific areas that needed to be enhanced.
"I really made a major effort this summer to change my running style," Gray said. "I watched a lot of film and after last season I saw how I wasn't decisive on my cuts. I've changed and I want to run downhill on every play. It's been a mindset I've had at every practice this season."
That new bruising attitude has made him one of the biggest surprises in Texas A&M's preseason practice so far. Gray has emerged as a definite challenger for a starting position for the Aggies' Sept. 5 opener against New Mexico.
Gray, who played at 182 pounds last season, was more of a scatback who tried to avoid defenders because of his lack of bulk as a freshman.
But as he now weighs more than 200 pounds, Gray has developed confidence that he can attack tacklers and blast through holes and tacklers rather than around them.
"Cyrus is a totally different runner this year than last year," Texas A&M coach Mike Sherman said. "He was a little bit hesitant and maybe didn't read his holes as well. This year he has not made a bad read or cut any time he has touched the ball."
"I keep waiting for that first time he makes a bad read so I can coach him, but I haven't been able to say anything to him yet. I guess the good ones are the ones you don't have to coach much."
Gray rushed for 363 yards on 75 carries and averaged 4.8 yards per carry as a freshman. He was one of the few bright spots of the Aggies' rushing game that was expected to be a team strength with the return of proven ball-carriers like Jorvorskie Lane and Michael Goodson.
But instead, the Aggies sputtered with their experienced backs and a struggling offensive line. They finished 114th nationally in rushing, last in the Big 12 and ahead of only five other teams nationally.
Gray was one of the few bright spots late in the season, sparking late victories over Iowa State and Colorado by running for team-high totals in both victories - A&M's final triumphs of the 2008 season.
The Aggies have vowed to be more physical this season, not only in the backfield but also across the offensive front. That growth will be critical as the Aggies attempt to avoid the pitfalls of last season's 4-8 team that finished tied for last place in the Big 12 South with Baylor.
"In order for us to have any kind of success, we're going to have to run the ball much better than we did last season," Sherman told the San Antonio Express-News earlier in training camp.
Gray has been involved in a continuing battle for playing time with heralded freshman running back Christine Michael and sophomore Bradley Stephens, who have both shown flashes as potential contenders for playing time in the Aggies' backfield.
That competition has helped spur Gray's recent dramatic surge.
"Our running back corps wants to challenge everybody every day in practice," Gray said. "There's competition and it makes us all better."
That growth is a big reason why Gray believes the Aggies will be better than the naysayers who are predicting they are doomed to finish in the South cellar again this season.
"We're going to shock some people," Gray said. "There's no doubt in my mind about that."
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
It's fitting and somewhat understandable that the NFL draft will have a distinctly Big 12 tinge Saturday as the early part of the first round plays out.
Keep an eye for Big 12 players to be very conspicuous in ESPN's broadcast of the draft. Four Big 12 players have been invited to watch the proceedings from the "Green Room" for Saturday's first day of the draft.
Baylor tackle Jason Smith, Texas Tech wide receiver Michael Crabtree, Kansas State quarterback Josh Freeman and Texas defensive end Brian Orakpo all will be at Radio City Music Hall in New York City for the draft.
Smith, Crabtree and Orakpo all could be taken among the draft's 10 or 15 picks. But Freeman, who could go as high as the middle of the first round or drop to the second round, could provide the most compelling drama of the draft's broadcast. Does anybody remember Brady Quinn or Aaron Rodgers in recent years?
The draft undoubtedly will showcase the Big 12's collection of talent that was continually highlighted last season.
Most mock drafts expect the Big 12 will have five or six first-round draft picks. Likely players to be selected include Orakpo, Smith, Missouri wide receiver Jeremy Maclin, Oklahoma State tight end Brandon Pettigrew, Freeman and Crabtree.
Look for the Big 12's burgeoning reputation as being on the cutting edge in terms of passing to be showcased this weekend. Most mock drafts have Crabtree and Maclin ranked as the top two receivers available. And Pettigrew is the top tight end on most draft boards.
If six Big 12 players are selected in the first round, it would match the league's previous high of six first-round selections set in 2003.
The most interesting potential selection will be Smith, a lightly-regarded recruit after a high-school career as a tight end. He blossomed after adding nearly 80 pounds of muscle over his college career.
Smith will become the Bears' first first-round draft selection since defensive tackle Daryl Gardener was picked by the Miami Dolphins in 1996.
Most prognosticators expect Smith will be picked among the first three picks in the draft. That would be the earliest a Baylor player has been chosen since quarterback Adrian Burk was the second pick in the draft by Baltimore in 1950.
The exposure for the Baylor program will be immense, according to Baylor coach Art Briles.
"We could get the smartest marketers in Texas and ask them how we could best market Baylor University, and they couldn't come up with a better scenario than what's going to happen Saturday in New York," Briles said. "Jason is a great person, and it's been nothing but positive for Baylor. We just have to take that and continue to climb as a football program."
Freeman is poised to become only the second quarterback in Big 12 history to be selected in the first round. He would join Vince Young, who was picked third by Tennessee in the 2006 draft.
Freeman also would be Kansas State's first first-round pick since Terence Newman was picked fifth in the first round by Dallas in 2003. He will also become the Wildcats' highest-selected quarterback, bettering the previous selection of Lynn Dickey, who was picked with the fourth pick in the third round by Green Bay in 1971.
Freeman's size (6-6, 250 pounds) and his rocket arm are his two biggest attributes, despite his lack of extended success in college. His abilities were clear to Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy and OSU coaches.
"The first time we saw Josh, because of his size, stature, the way he carried himself, and then his arm strength, we knew he had a chance to play," Gundy said. "He's just kind of arrived nationally -- people are just now starting to find out about him -- but we knew in our staff room that we was going to be first-round pick.
"You just don't find guys that are 6-6, 250, that can throw it and are as accurate as he is, and he's seemed to be very durable. We were impressed with him from day one."
Crabtree will become Tech's first first-round draft selection of the Big 12 era and the Red Raiders' first first-round pick since Gabe Rivera was picked with the 21st pick by Pittsburgh in 1983.
He will become the highest-selected Texas Tech wide receiver since Dave Parks was the first pick of the 1964 draft by San Francisco and the first one of Mike Leach's players to be picked on the first day of the draft.
Orakpo is poised to continue Texas' recent development as a factory for first-round selections.
Despite missing out last season, the Longhorns produced eight first-round picks in the previous four seasons and 13 over Mack Brown's coaching tenure.
In the process, Orakpo is hoping to counter-balance the so-called "Texas factor" that several analysts have mentioned this week to explain why some Longhorns have been disappointments once they started their NFL careers.
Brown angrily refuted those charges earlier this week.
"People can be more critical of us because we've had as many, or more, than anybody else in the draft," Brown told the Austin American-Statesman. "I don't really pay attention to (that), and I talk to enough general managers, coaches and scouts to know they don't either."
Maclin will become the first Missouri player selected in the first round since Justin Smith was picked by Cincinnati with the fourth pick of the draft in 2001. And Maclin also is poised to become the first Missouri wide receiver ever taken in the first round.
Here's my unofficial pegging of Big 12 draft status during the weekend draft.
Sure first-round picks: Baylor OT Jason Smith, Texas Tech WR Michael Crabtree, Texas DE Brian Orakpo, Missouri WR Jeremy Maclin,
Likely first-round picks: Kansas State QB Josh Freeman
Maybe first-round picks: Missouri DT Evander "Ziggy" Hood, Oklahoma State TE Brandon Pettigrew
Likely picks inside the first five rounds: Texas A&M QB Stephen McGee, Texas Tech S Darcel McBath, Texas Tech DE Brandon Williams, Texas DT Roy Miller, Texas A&M RB Michael Goodson, Texas A&M DE Mi
chael Bennett, Oklahoma S-LB Nic Harris, Texas Tech G Louis Vasquez, Nebraska DE Zach Potter, Nebraska T Lydon Murtha.
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
Every team is green someplace. Here are the specific areas of the most inexperience for each Big 12 team.
Baylor offensive tackle: The Bears need to break in two new starters after losing Jason Smith and Dan Gay.
Colorado defensive line: Help is needed along the defensive front where the Buffaloes lose starting defensive end Maurice Lucas, starting defensive tackle George Hypolite and starting nose tackle Brandon Nicolas.
Iowa State defensive line: Coach Paul Rhoads desperately wants somebody to emerge on the defensive line where the Cyclones lose starting defensive tackle Michael Tate, starting defensive end Kurtis Taylor and top backup defensive back Travis Ferguson.
Kansas linebackers: Even as Mark Mangino is contemplating going to a two-linebacker base defense because of the Big 12's spread offenses, he still needs to find those two players. The Jayhawks lose starters James Holt, Mike Rivera and Joe Mortensen at the position from last season.
Kansas State quarterback: Josh Freeman departed for the NFL early, leaving Carson Coffman and junior college transfer Daniel Thomas to compete for the starting job. It's not a pleasant introduction back to football for returning KSU coach Bill Snyder.
Missouri skill-position players: The Tigers need a quick infusion of playmakers after losing quarterback Chase Daniel, wide receiver/kick returner Jeremy Maclin and tight end Chase Coffman. All of them arguably were the greatest players at their respective positions in Missouri history. Blake Gabbert will receive first look at quarterback and Andrew Jones will work at tight end. It could take several players to fill in for what Maclin did.
Nebraska quarterback: It will be tough for the Cornhuskers to replace all that Joe Ganz did for them, both as a playmaker and a leader at quarterback. Zac Lee will get the first shot, along with freshman Cody Green and redshirt freshman Kody Spano. Maybe the Cornhuskers really could use former Miami quarterback Robert Marve next season.
Oklahoma offensive line: The departure of starting center Jon Cooper, tackle Phil Loadholt and guards Duke Robinson and Brandon Walker means that Sam Bradford will have an inexperienced group protecting him next season. Trent Williams moves to left tackle and Bob Stoops likes his incoming talent, if not its early work habits.
Oklahoma State defensive tackles: The Cowboys ranked last in the conference in sacks last season and lost starting defensive tackles Tonga Tea and Jeray Chatham. It will mean that new defensive coordinator Bill Young will need somebody to step up in the trenches to help shore up that weakness.
Texas defensive line: The major question dogging the Longhorns' national title hopes will be rebuilding a defensive front that loses All-American defensive end Brian Orakpo, defensive tackle Roy Miller, defensive tackle Aaron Lewis and defensive end Henry Melton from last season.
Texas Tech offensive line: New quarterback Taylor Potts will be relying on a retooled offensive line protecting his blind side after left tackle Rylan Reed, left guard Louis Vasquez and center Stephen Hamby all departed from last year.
Texas A&M running backs: The Aggies' offensive backfield will need to restock players: Michael Goodson left school early to declare for the NFL draft and fullbacks Jorvorskie Lane and Nick LaMantia are gone. Look for Cyrus Gray to get most of the work this spring with heralded freshman Bradley Stephens arriving in the summer.
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
Despite struggling through a disappointing 4-8 season in 2008, Texas A&M's incoming recruiting class never wavered.
Most of the key players were added last spring and summer long before coach Mike Sherman's first season as the Aggies' head coach. But the arriving Aggie recruits remained resolute despite struggles that included losses to all five South Division foes for the first time in school history.
"We didn't have a defection that I can recall during the course of the season," Sherman said. "Obviously as a coach, you worry about everything and that certainly crossed my mind a number of times. I would call these kids on Mondays and Tuesdays and they'd be picking me up. 'Hey coach, we'll be okay. Just hang in there.' They were giving me a pep talk."
Texas A&M's key recruit will be running back Christine Michael of Beaumont (Texas) West Brook, who was ranked as the nation's fourth-best running back by Scouts Inc. and the No. 35 prospect on the ESPNU 150.
"I expect no more from him than anybody else, but he is someone that has tremendous talent," Sherman said. "I think he's a player that we'll accelerate the learning curve for him and get him on the field."
The Aggies lost Michael Goodson and Jorvorskie Lane after last season, providing an immediate chance for Michael to see action.
"As evident during last season, we need more explosive plays," Sherman said. "And I think that player [Michael] can get those for us."
Other specific needs addressed in the 28-man recruiting class included help along the offensive line and at linebacker.
Sherman said he expects several players from his recruiting class to immediately challenge for playing time. And he's already braced players currently on the Aggies' roster to expect some stiff battles for starting positions once the freshman class arrives.
"With the influx of this group of young men, there will be a lot of competition," Sherman said. "We had seven or eight freshmen starters last year. There's a good chance we'll have an equal number this year. If anything else, the thing that excites me is that competition. You can only get better if someone is breathing down your neck and trying to take your job."
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
Here's the official list of 41 Big 12 players who have been invited to the NFL combine Feb. 18 through Feb. 24 in Indianapolis.
Oklahoma led all Big 12 teams with eight players invited to the combine, followed by Texas, Missouri and Nebraska with six players each and Texas Tech with five players.
All Big 12 schools were represented with the exception of Colorado, Iowa State and Kansas.
All players are expected to attend with the exception of Texas wide receiver Jordan Shipley, who was granted an extra season of eligibility and will remain in college. Shipley recently underwent shoulder surgery and will not be able to participate when spring practice begins for the Longhorns later this week.
NFL officials have calculated that players invited to the NFL combine typically are drafted 64 percent of the time. So these players would appear to have the best chance of being picked among eligible players from the Big 12.
Here's a list of invited players listed by their schools.
Baylor: T Dan Gay, T Jason Smith.
Iowa State: None.
Kansas State: QB Josh Freeman, DE-LB Ian Campbell.
Nebraska: LB Cody Glenn, RB Marlon Lucky, T Lydon Murtha, DE Zach Potter, G Matt Slauson, WR Nathan Swift.
Oklahoma: C Jon Cooper, S Nic Harris, S Lendy Holmes, WR Juaquan Iglesias, WR Manuel Johnson, T Phil Loadholt, G Duke Robinson, G Brandon Walker.
Oklahoma State: P Matt Fodge, TE Brandon Pettigrew.
Texas A&M: DE Michael Bennett, P Justin Brantly, RB Michael Goodson, QB Stephen McGee.
* Note: Shipley has elected to stay for a sixth season of eligibility with Texas. He will be available for the 2010 draft.
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
Texas A&M running back Michael Goodson has declared for the NFL draft, pushing aside an option to potentially return to college to play with another school.
Goodson, who announced he would be leaving the Texas A&M program last month, becomes the fifth Big 12 player on the NFL's official list, which was released earlier today.
The Big 12 is tied for third among the FBS conferences with automatic BCS bowl bids with five players. The Southeastern Conference leads with 14 early declarations, followed by 10 players from the Big Ten. The ACC and Big Ten are tied for third with five NFL declarations while the Big East is tied for fifth with the Pac-10 with four players apiece. Among the non-BCS affiliated conferences, the Mid-American has two players and Conference USA and the Western Athletic Conference.
The five Big 12 players to declare early include Texas Tech wide receiver Michael Crabtree, Kansas State quarterback Josh Freeman, Missouri kick returner/wide receiver Jeremy Maclin, Goodson and Texas Tech defensive end Brandon Williams.
Texas Tech is one of eight schools with multiple players declaring with Crabtree and Williams electing to leave school. Ohio State, South Carolina and Georgia have three players apiece with three players, while Alabama, Auburn, Texas Tech, North Carolina and Penn State with two players apiece.
Here's the complete list of the 46 early declarations with Big 12 players highlighted in bold.
- Asher Allen, DB, Georgia
- Kenny Britt, WR, Rutgers
- Eben Britton, T, Arizona
- Donald Brown, RB, Connecticut
- Everette Brown, DE, Florida State
- Carson Butler, TE, Michigan
- Jairus Byrd, DB, Oregon
- James Casey, TE, Rice
- Jeremy Childs, WR, Boise State
- Glen Coffee, RB, Alabama
- Emanuel Cook, DB, South Carolina
- Jared Cook, TE, South Carolina
- Michael Crabtree, WR, Texas Tech
- Andrew Davie, TE, Arkansas
- Nate Davis, QB, Ball State
- Vontae Davis, DB, Illinois
- Maurice Evans, DE, Penn State
- Josh Freeman, QB, Kansas State
- Mike Goodson, RB, Texas A&M
- Shonn Greene, RB, Iowa
- Brian Hartline, WR, Ohio State
- Percy Harvin, WR, Florida
- Darrius Heyward-Bey, WR, Maryland
- P.J. Hill, RB, Wisconsin
- Greg Isdaner, G, West Virginia
- Ricky Jean-Francois, DT, Louisiana State
- Jeremy Maclin, WR, Missouri
- Sen'Derrick Marks, DT Auburn
- Aaron Maybin, DE, Penn State
- LeSean McCoy, RB, Pittsburgh
- Andrew Means, WR, Indiana
- D.J. Moore, DB, Vanderbilt
- Knowshon Moreno, RB, Georgia
- Cameron Morrah, TE, California
- Captain Munnerlyn, DB, South Carolina
- Hakeem Nicks, WR, North Carolina
- Kevin Ogletree, WR, Virginia
- Jerraud Powers, DB, Auburn
- Richard Quinn, TE, North Carolina
- Mark Sanchez, QB, Southern California
- Andre Smith, T, Alabama
- Sean Smith, DB, Utah
- Matt Stafford, QB, Georgia
- Donald Washington, DB, Ohio State
- Chris Wells, RB, Ohio State
- Brandon Williams, DE, Texas Tech
After the disappointments of the Dennis Franchione era, Mike Sherman was counted on to provide a healing nature that would unite all of the elements of the Texas A&M program.
That idea lasted less than one game. The Aggies' 18-14 season-opening loss to Arkansas State signaled that Sherman would be struggling through a lot of disappointments in his first season.
And he did as the Aggies limped home with a 4-8 record that marked the fourth time in seven seasons they have failed to make a bowl trip. In the process Texas A&M failed to beat any of its five South Division rivals for the first time in the school's Big 12 history.
Sherman did find some young skill players that will help him in the future. Sophomore quarterback Jerrod Johnson emerged as a capable quarterback after he was thrust into the lineup by two early injuries sustained by starter Stephen McGee. Freshmen receivers Ryan Tannehill and Jeff Fuller provide hope for the future. And running back/kick returner Cyrus Gray developed as the season continued.
The A&M defense was another story. The Aggies ranked no higher than 107th nationally in any of the four major defensive categories, bottoming out in a season-ending three-game losing streak where they were outscored by a combined margin of 156-58.
Offensive Most Valuable Player: QB Jerrod Johnson. Despite learning as he went, Johnson provided one of the biggest statistical seasons in school history, passing for a school-record 21 touchdowns and 2,435 yards. In the process, he also passed for a school-record 419 yards against Kansas State.
Defensive Most Valuable Player: DB/LB Alton Dixon. After arriving at the school as a defensive back, Dixon moved to linebacker midway through his senior season to shore up an area of need. He led the team with 94 tackles, notched two tackles for losses and broke up two passes.
Turning point: After jumping to a 14-3 halftime lead against Arkansas State in the opener, the Aggies were shut out in the second half in the 18-14 loss. That loss showed that the Aggies wouldn't overmatch any opponent on their schedule and that Sherman's first season in the Big 12 would be a difficult adventure -- as it ended up being.
What's next: Sherman will face a huge rebuilding job in the nation's most difficult division. All of the other South teams are on upswings, which will make it difficult for the Aggies to return to relevance very quickly. And that's even with a strong core of young players headed by Johnson, Tannehill and Fuller. And the early departure of top running threat Michael Goodson makes it that much tougher.
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
Heralded freshman running back Sam McGuffie will be leaving Michigan and could surface at a Texas school after he transfers.
McGuffie played in 10 games for the Wolverines, and started six. He lost his starting job in mid-October to junior Brandon Minor.
McGuffie, a 5-foot-10, 185-pound native of Cypress, Texas, repeatedly struggled with injuries late in the season. He sustained two concussions, including one on a kickoff return which was his only touch in the Wolverines' final game against Ohio State.
He was the second-leading rusher on Michigan's team with 486 yards and also provided 19 receptions for 175 yards.
The Ann Arbor News reported that McGuffie has talked about transferring to a school in Texas or Oklahoma. A likely candidate might be Texas A&M, which recently lost Michael Goodson from next season's team.
McGuffie's injuries will be a concern and he will miss next season as his transfer year. But he should be able to contribute wherever he lands.
Now, the Longhorns will have to wait through the rest of the football weekend to see if they have done enough to claim a berth in next week's Big 12 title game.
The Longhorns' convincing victory over Texas A&M Thursday night enabled them to do no worse than clinch a share of the Big 12 South Division title. Quarterback Colt McCoy ran for two touchdowns and Cody Johnson added a pair of scores in the second half.
Brown appeared to give up the idea of posting any extra style points when he inserted backup quarterback John Chiles into the game for McCoy with 11:23 left in the fourth quarter.
I can't wait to hear Mack Brown's spin in the locker room on whether his team did enough to convince the pollsters.
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
It's why I think he deserves the Heisman Trophy as much as anybody in the country. And he's showing why tonight.
McCoy's grit was shown in a strong first-half performance as he directed the Longhorns to a 21-3 halftime advantage over Texas A&M.
The junior quarterback accounted for all Texas touchdowns, running for one score and passing for the other two in a vintage first-half effort.
It's wasn't always been pretty. McCoy has been hammered by a surprisingly strong A&M pass rush, including one play late in the first half when he was smashed by Von Miller that left him gasping for breath.
What did he do after that play? He rebounded to hit his final three passes of the first half, including a pair of dramatic improvisational plays capped with a 9-yard touchdown pass to Quan Cosby for Texas' last touchdown with 12 seconds left.
I don't know if Texas is showing that they deserve to play in the BCS championship game.
But McCoy, who completed 18 of 21 passes for 177 yards and rushed for 33 more yards, is making a convincing argument for the Heisman.
Some other things I've noticed in the first half:
- Bad field position has hampered A&M throughout the first half. The Aggies began their first four first-half possessions at their own 12, 20, 20 and 10 yard line. Their offensive struggles and that placement is the main reason why A&M didn't advance the ball into Texas territory until Stephen McGee hooked up with Michael Goodson on a 54-yard screen pass with 4:10 left in the first half.
- And speaking of that drive, was anybody else surprised that A&M coach Mike Sherman didn't try for a first down on a fourth-and-1? The Aggies are not going to a bowl game and have little to play for in this game other than pride. Shouldn't they have at least considered going for the first down in that situation?
- It hasn't been pretty, but Texas has dominated play in the first half. The most telling statistics are Texas' 260-74 edge in total yardage, a 46-17 edge in offensive plays and a 20:49-9:11 edge in time of possession.
- There's something wrong with the turf, even though there hasn't been a hint of rain yet. Maybe it's the humidity, but it seems that the slick conditions are affecting both teams. A couple of McCoy's sacks were helped along by him slipping to the turf. Even Texas defensive coordinator Will Muschamp slipped when he was trying to chest-bump one of his players after a play.
- It wasn't surprising that A&M inserted McGee into the lineup for a lift. But it didn't work -- at least initially. His first possession early in the second quarter resulted in a loss of 1 yard, a loss of 1 yard and an incomplete pass that easily could have been intentional grounding.
- Texas' kicking game -- usually a team strength -- bit them early in the second quarter when Ryan Bailey misfired on a 36-yard attempt early in the second quarter. Before that kick, the Longhorns were 9 of 11 on field-goal attempts for the season. After that miss, Hunter Lawrence provided the extra points after Texas' next two scoring drives.
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
AUSTIN -- Fans scattered across Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium are proudly flashing "45-35" signs to remind college football fans of Texas' earlier victory over Oklahoma.
The Longhorns have started with a workmanlike performance after one quarter, jumping to an early 7-0 lead over Texas A&M.
But it wasn't as easy some might have thought. Colt McCoy has already been sacked twice and roughed up on a couple of plays. Texas A&M's defense seems intent on making him earn anything he produces.
Texas' defense has started strongly, limiting the Aggies to one net yard after two possessions.
The most telling play of the quarter came on Texas' first possession. After an illegal motion penalty pushed the Longhorns into a third-and-11 situation, McCoy coolly hit Quan Cosby for a 20-yard gain that provided an early momentum surge.
Texas A&M came into the game ranked last in the nation with only 12 three-and-outs this season. And the Aggies are still looking for one tonight.
The turf appears to be slick because of the sticky conditions. It helped contribute to McCoy's and a couple of times that Michael Goodson slipped.
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
Texas players know their Bowl Championship Series hopes dangle precipitously as they prepare for old rival Texas A&M.
But their immediate chance for revenge supersedes even their postseason hopes.
|Wesley Hitt/Getty Images|
|Mike Goodson had 151 totals yards and two TDs in the Aggies' 38-30 upset win last year.|
Texas defensive end Brian Orakpo's memory of the Aggies is never far away. Each day before he leaves his locker he briefly glances at a picture of running back Michael Goodson streaking past him for a touchdown in last year's game that punctuated A&M's 38-30 upset victory in College Station.
"I know it's pretty big because they put it in their media guide," Orkapo said. "Obviously this is one of those games that have been on my mind for a long, long time."
Actually, Goodson's touchdown run is such a big part of Aggies lore that it's pictured twice in A&M's 2008 media guide. It's plays like that over the last two years that have the Aggies brimming with confidence despite a disappointing 4-7 season.
In 2006, the Aggies claimed a 12-7 victory in Austin, punctuating the victory with a dramatic 16-play, 88-yard drive where they converted five third-down plays in the process. There was high drama as A&M quarterback Stephen McGee was vomiting on the field throughout that game-winning drive. And Texas quarterback Colt McCoy had to be carted away after a devastating hit by A&M defensive end Michael Bennett.
But more importantly, that game kept the Longhorns from advancing to the Big 12 Championship Game. Instead, Texas went to the Alamo Bowl the season after winning the national championship.
And last season, the Longhorns again were in the mix for the Big 12 title game before the Aggies sprung the upset in what turned out to be Dennis Franchione's last game at A&M.
The Longhorns remember both of those losses and what resulted from them.
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
Here's a look at some of what's hot and what's not across the Big 12 this week.
Oklahoma's offensive line, which has allowed only one sack in the last three games.
Baylor's running game, which has rushed for a touchdown in 10 straight games -- the school's longest streak since a 14-game tear that stretched from the 1997 to 1998 season.
Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin, who hit 6 of 19 passes for a career-worst 71 yards against Texas last week.
Texas Tech walk-on kicker Matt Williams, still going strong after 21 consecutive extra points.
Colorado kicker Aric Goodman, who has misfired on his last seven field-goal attempts since being placed on scholarship after a game-winning kick to beat West Virginia on Sept. 18.
Texas A&M running back Michael Goodson, who battled with a knee injury and produced 9 yards on seven carries for a career-low single-game rushing average of 1.29 yards per carry against Oklahoma. It marked the third game this season that Goodson was limited to less than a two-yards-per-carry average. In the previous 26 games of his career before this season, Goodson had never been limited to less than two yards per carry.
Colorado quarterback Cody Hawkins. Who needs practice? Hawkins received little work in the last two days before the Iowa State game. He responded by firing four touchdown passes in the second half to orchestrate the Buffaloes' comeback victory.
Kansas wide receiver Kerry Meier, who has caught only three passes in each of his last two games.
Oklahoma's offense, which needed only a combined 17:45 to jump in front of Nebraska and Texas A&M in its last two games by a combined score of 56-0.
Missouri safety William Moore, who tied for the national lead with eight interceptions last season. He has none this season.
Nebraska I-back Roy Helu, who has rushed for 272 yards in his last two games. Helu rushed for a total of 294 yards in the first eight games of his career.
Nebraska's defensive production. Despite Bo Pelini's reputation for coaching up teams to become turnover-producing machines, the Cornhuskers have notched only 10 turnovers this season -- seven interceptions and three fumble recoveries. His 2003 team at Nebraska when he served as defensive coordinator produced 47 turnovers, second nationally.
Kansas' offensive line, which allowed five sacks of quarterback Todd Reesing last week. The Jayhawks have allowed 13 sacks in their last four games.
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
|AP Photo/Dave Einsel|
|Jerrod Johnson threw three touchdown passes for Texas A&M, but two came after the game was out of reach for the Aggies.|
COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- As far as first tests go, Texas A&M quarterback Jerrod Johnson wasn't bewildered. He made enough plays and directed the offense in his initial start to give him confidence for the future.
Johnson's statistical line didn't look bad as far as a first game starter, completing 19 of 32 passes for 275 yards and three touchdowns. But he was sacked three times and fumbled five times - losing one of them -- as Miami pulled away to a 41-22 victory that sent the Aggies crashing to their second-straight home loss.
"One thing that our coaches preach, especially at the quarterback position, is not to turn the ball over," Johnson said. "I had a couple and that's the thing we can't have."
Perhaps most critical were two key turnovers during a 61-second span midway through the third quarter that enabled Miami to blow the game open. Even as Johnson tried to talk dispassionately about his mistakes, you could tell they still hurt as he relived them.
Under heavy pressure, Johnson threw an interception directly to Eric Moncur deep in his own territory. Miami wasted little time as quarterback Robert Marve hooked up with Kayne Farquharson on a 15-yard touchdown pass on the next play.
Johnson's struggles continued on the next series. He fumbled after failing to protect the ball under heavy Miami pressure and linebacker Glenn Cook pounced on the fumble for a 2-yard TD return that pushed the lead to 41-10.
"On the first turnover, I actually didn't see what happened," Johnson said. "And on the last one, I could have gotten the ball of quicker. I probably should have tucked it in or taken the sack. I'll take full credit for both of them."
That mistake sent many of the Kyle Field fans scurrying for the exits -- a huge contrast from a spectacular start that had them chanting his name earlier in the day.
Johnson had thrilled them with a 62-yard screen pass to Michael Goodson on A&M's first play from scrimmage that gave the Aggies a huge early surge of momentum.
He later added two more touchdown passes in garbage time that will give him something to build on. But there are some others that merit his attention as well.
"When you play a young quarterback, you're going to get the good with the bad," A&M coach Mike Sherman said. "That was the balance there. He had the great play to start the game. There were a couple of other great plays. And then some others that we will learn from. He'll learn from those mistakes as we go on."