Big 12: Cowboys-Aggies-092411

Forde: Texas A&M not ready for primetime

September, 24, 2011
COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- These people are not ready for the Southeastern Conference.

Texas A&M's ghastly collapse against Oklahoma State on Saturday was not greeted with shrieks of outrage from the 87,358 fans in Kyle Field. From field level at the final gun, there was no visible rending of garments or gnashing of teeth -- to the contrary, the Aggies fans politely clapped for their players as they jogged to the locker room. I didn't hear a single call to fire the coach, fire the coordinators, fire the athletic director, yank anyone's scholarship or waterboard the officials.

That lack of murderous intent is not going to get it done in the SEC, Aggies.

For Pat Forde's full story, click here.

OSU takes the next step among the elite

September, 24, 2011

COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- This was what Texas A&M and Oklahoma State do. They blow games.

Penalties stymied No. 7 Oklahoma State's high-flying offense during the first half, and the Cowboys trailed by 17 points. Oklahoma State's fans had seen that before. Then No. 8 Texas A&M blew the lead in less than a quarter, and for the game's final 18 minutes before losing to the Cowboys, 30-29.

Games involving two top-10 teams don't often come to College Station -- which has not hosted one since 1975 -- or Stillwater.

Wins in those games for those programs? Even rarer.

But with both teams in the top 10, with a possible top-five ranking, and maybe a Big 12 (and national?) championship run, somebody had to walk through the door. Just like last year's classic, when both teams were unranked, both teams took a punch in the gut.

[+] EnlargeOklahoma State's Justin Blackmon
Brett Davis/US PRESSWIREJustin Blackmon caught 11 passes for 121 yards and a score. He also fumbled a sure touchdown through the end zone for a touchback.
Oklahoma State absorbed the hit and erased that deficit for a program-defining win. Coach Mike Gundy, now in his seventh season with the program, called the victory the most satisfying of his tenure as Cowboy-in-chief. He walked around his locker room at halftime and liked what he saw. No fingers being pointed. No angry or sad faces. He saw confidence and players assessing what went wrong and how to fix it.

"I heard the players saying we've been here before," Gundy said.

Added his quarterback Brandon Weeden, who called it his biggest win: "It felt like déjà vu. ... This was the exact same situation we were in last year."

Weeden broke his own school records for completions (47) and passing yards (438) for the second time in three weeks.

Gundy felt confident his team could come back. The problems were penalties that at one point had OSU backed up into a third-and-43, and numerous missed tackles that allowed Texas A&M to run for 147 yards on 19 carries in the first half. But OSU gave up only 15 rushing yards on eight carries in the second half against arguably the best 1-2 punch at running back in the nation: Cyrus Gray and Christine Michael.

"Three or four years ago when we were in that situation, they didn't look the same in their faces," Gundy said of his team at halftime. "It takes time to develop [resolve] like that. You've got to win. They've got to prove to themselves they can do it."

This will be a big one.

Just like Oklahoma State's landmark win over Missouri in 2008, this game was sealed with an interception off one of the nation's best quarterbacks, Ryan Tannehill. The turnover set off an explosion of hip bumps and hugs on the Oklahoma State sideline, while the Kyle Field crowd could only shake their heads and sadly hold their "12th Man" towels, which they swung so vigorously throughout the first half.

This time though, it was hardly an upset.

Weeden said this win reminded him of that game against Missouri, but OSU "thought" it had a good team back then. It now believes it does, and with good reason after last year's school-record 11-win season.

Oklahoma State may walk into every game the rest of its season a favorite until a showdown against No. 1 Oklahoma on Dec. 3. Bedlam in Stillwater as a national semifinal? Don't rule it out.

But Texas A&M had to know this was coming.

Rumors persisted throughout the weekend that the Aggies' SEC announcement was impending, crashing the first Big 12 conference game of the season. Texas A&M insisted that an official announcement was coming "shortly," after the SEC announced that its presidents had accepted it as the conference's 13th member earlier this month.

An A&M official said the chances of Texas A&M changing its mind and returning to the Big 12 was about the same as former Texas A&M star Von Miller's chances of playing another game at Kyle Field as an Aggie.

They've insisted they'll shrug off new interim commissioner Chuck Neinas' pleas for them to stay. But if there ever was a reason to listen, Saturday's game provided it.

When the final seconds ticked off the clock, a contingent of Oklahoma State fans serenaded the fourth-largest crowd in Kyle Field history with a "Big 12" chant, a play off the "S-E-C" refrain the nation heard after the conference won the past five national titles.

"You can't go anywhere without people talking about it," Gundy said of realignment.

His own school looked like it might head to the Pac-12 earlier this week, before recommitting to the Big 12 during a league conference call Wednesday. He left the conference sour grapes to the "people in chat rooms," and enjoyed his "satisfying" win, entertaining his team with some dance moves during a wild celebration in the locker room.

Just don't expect Gundy to teach anybody how to Dougie.

"That would be way better than what he does," Weeden said.

Oklahoma State's game was not without characteristic gaffes -- mistakes that have earned A&M and OSU their "little brother" status, as Texas and Oklahoma collected Big 12 titles and BCS bowls.

On what could have been a game-changing touchdown, Biletnikoff-winning receiver Justin Blackmon inexplicably fumbled into the end zone and out of bounds for a touchback. Instead of a 31-20 lead late in the third quarter, Texas A&M now had the ball trailing by only four.

Blackmon thought a defender was closer and was preparing to dive before he made the 87,358 people in attendance gasp with his goof.

No chastising necessary. Weeden and Gundy didn't mention it to the offense's top playmaker on the sidelines.

"Nobody feels worse than him about it if we don't come home with a win," said offensive coordinator Todd Monken.

The Cowboys' defense turned what could have been a season-changing mistake into a minor blip on what could be a historic season.

This is a different Oklahoma State team, and for now, the same old Aggies.

"Every year, we get better players, we get better disciplined, just everything. All the pieces are falling into place," Weeden said. "[Gundy's] won a lot of big games, and he's turned this program into something special."

Video: Oklahoma State QB Brandon Weeden

September, 24, 2011

David Ubben talks to Oklahoma State Cowboys quarterback Brandon Weeden after the Cowboys' win over A&M.

Video: Cowboys' rally sinks Aggies

September, 24, 2011

Matt Millen and Sean McDonough break down what went wrong for Texas A&M in the second half of its loss to Oklahoma State.

Final: Oklahoma State 30, Texas A&M 29

September, 24, 2011
Down 20-3 at halftime, No. 7 Oklahoma State scored 27 consecutive points in the third and fourth quarters to beat No. 8 Texas A&M 30-29 in College Station, Texas, on Saturday.

Oklahoma state quarterback Brandon Weeden completed 47 of 60 passes for 437 yards and two touchdowns. The Aggies turned the ball over three times during the third quarter when the Cowboys outscored them 21-0. They also turned it over on their final drive of the game.

More to come later.
COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- We won't forget that play any time soon.

Oklahoma State looked poised to take an easy 11-point lead after trailing by 17 at halftime.

Receiver Justin Blackmon trotted into the end zone but the ball inexplicably squirted out of his hands and out of bounds after it crossed the goal line. The Cowboys' lead jumped back to 27-20 early in the fourth quarter after turning an interception into a field goal.

Ryan Tannehill looked to hit Jeff Fuller on a deep ball on the play after Blackmon's quizzical fumble, but later in the drive, handed it back with an interception into triple coverage after being pressured.

Texas A&M tried to ride the momentum off the fortunate play, but couldn't do it. Is another big play coming?

Momentum has clearly turned, and the Aggies have to try and get it back. Their season might depend on it.

OSU silences the 12th Man with comeback

September, 24, 2011
COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Kyle Field was rocking through halftime. Texas A&M looked dominant and the 12th Man towels were furiously waving.

All of a sudden, the stands have gotten very uncomfortable for the Aggies, who trail 24-20 late in the third quarter after leading by 17 at halftime.

OSU has scored 21 points on its first three drives of the half, while A&M handed the ball back to OSU on a fumble after a long catch by Kenric McNeal. Safety Daytawion Lowe forced the fumble, and cornerback Justin Gilbert recovered.

Quarterback Brandon Weeden took the lead when he found Tracy Moore in the back of the end zone for a four-yard score.

Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill turned it over with an interception on the following possession when Brodrick Brown cut off an out route.

The A&M defense suddenly looks like it badly misses cornerback Coryell Judie after a strong first half.

It's reminiscent of last year's game, but this one is far from over. Both of these offenses can put up a lot of points. Should be a classic finish.


Good news, bad news for Oklahoma State

September, 24, 2011
COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Just like last year, Oklahoma State's offense has come alive in the second half. The pace is up, and so is scoring.

OSU scored 10 points on its first two drives of the half and cut a 17-point deficit at half to just 20-17 midway through the third quarter.

What looked like a blowout now looks like a ballgame after Texas A&M's offense failed to reach midfield on its opening drive of the half.

Texas A&M led 21-7 at the half last year before trailing 35-21, tying the game late and losing on a last-second field goal.

The bad news for Oklahoma State? It's time to exercise its depth at the offensive line. Last year's top unit in the Big 12 returned all five starters, but juco transfer Michael Bowie crashed the starting lineup.

Jonathan Rush went down with an injury, though, and his status is unknown. The league's top offensive lineman, Levy Adcock, moved from right tackle to left tackle after the injury, and picked up a false start on his first play. OSU converted a 3rd-and-15 to keep the drive alive, however, and scored on a touchdown pass from Brandon Weeden to Justin Blackmon that was overturned from an incompletion.

OSU has to keep the fast pace that has the Wrecking Crew flummoxed, but A&M's offense has to answer, too. Twenty points won't be enough in this one.

Halftime analysis: Texas A&M 20, OSU 3

September, 24, 2011
COLLEGE STATION, Texas--Very methodical half for Texas A&M, and surely a frustrating one for Oklahoma State. The Aggies lead, 20-3. The difference in this game coming in looked like A&M's defense, and the Wrecking Crew has been the X-factor so far on a good day for the offense.

Turning point: Texas A&M took control with an 86-yard, 10-play drive that stretched its lead to two possessions and had to be a nice boon for confidence. Aggies QB Ryan Tannehill finished the drive with a precise, 17-yard touchdown pass to Jeff Fuller, who snagged it in traffic.

Stat of the half: Texas A&M has run for 147 yards and passed for 154. Everyone knew this offense was balanced, but the Aggies are looking as advertised, amassing 301 yards of offense in the first half against an OSU defense that has looked helpless at times.

Best player in the half: Tannehill. OSU hasn't brought many blitzes to pressure him, instead electing to try and force him to make a high volume of plays. He's done it. Tannehill has completed 13-of-21 passes for 154 yards and a touchdown. He also got the crowd and momentum behind his team with a huge, 65-yard touchdown run on the game's opening drive.

What Oklahoma State needs to do: Find some way to stop the run and make Tannehill make pressure throws on third downs in the second half. OSU isn't strong in the interior of the line, so it may have to bring seven or eight players in the box and make Tannehill beat them over the top. It's a risky look, but OSU absolutely can't win if A&M continues to run the ball with such ease. It might come back if its secondary can force A&M into some mistakes.

What Texas A&M needs to do: Keep playing conservatively on defense, don't give up the big play and don't turn the ball over. Texas A&M's offense looks like it can't be stopped by OSU so far, and you have to think the Aggies are good for at least 10 more points in the second half. The only way they give up 27 to Oklahoma State is if the offense turns the ball over or the defense gives up an untimely bust.

Video: Texas A&M TD pass vs. Cowboys

September, 24, 2011

Texas A&M's Ryan Tannehill throws to Jeff Fuller for a 17-yard touchdown.

Video: Texas A&M-OSU highlights

September, 24, 2011

Ryan Tannehill rushes for 65 yards for a touchdown.


Joseph Randle rushes for 31 yards to the Texas A&M 29 for a first down.

Game speed getting to Wrecking Crew

September, 24, 2011
COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Oklahoma State runs a no-huddle with varying speeds. Against a defense as good as Texas A&M, you can expect the Cowboys to be moving at hyper speed.

The Aggies, though, didn't look prepared early.

I'd expect the Wrecking Crew to adjust, but the Aggies were flagged twice for illegal substitutions on the opening drive, which resulted in an OSU field goal. Texas A&M leads, 7-3, after OSU tried to convert a 3rd-and-11 in the red zone with a sweep to Joseph Randle.

Keep an eye on how A&M adjusts to that speed throughout the game.

What position does Ryan Tannehill play?

September, 24, 2011
COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Ryan Tannehill led Texas A&M in receiving his first two seasons.

He took over as the starting quarterback midway through last season and is 7-1 since.

But the Aggies' senior looked more like a running back on the opening drive, keeping the ball on a zone read-type play and going nearly untouched up the middle of the field for a 65-yard touchdown.

There will be plenty more points scored in this one, but you couldn't ask for a much better start for the near-90,000 faithful at Kyle Field.

Aggies missing CB/KR Coryell Judie

September, 24, 2011
COLLEGE STATION, Texas--Texas A&M's top cornerback and the league's best kick returner won't be playing on Saturday against Oklahoma State.

Coryell Judie is out with an injury. Texas A&M officials could not confirm the details of the injury.

Judie, a senior, has eight tackles, a sack and two pass breakups in his first two games of 2011. He's returned two kicks for an average of 28 yards each.

Video: Oklahoma State-Texas A&M preview

September, 24, 2011

David Ubben and Pat Forde preview Oklahoma State-Texas A&M from College Station, Texas.