Thursday, November 24, 2011
Instant analysis: Texas 27, Texas A&M 25
By David Ubben
COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- The script was so familiar and all too painful for the Aggies.
Texas A&M wasn't perfect in the first half, but it played well enough to firmly be in control, just like it was in four of its earlier losses this season.
And then ... there went that third quarter again. Followed by some big-time fourth-quarter drama.
Time for some instant analysis:
How the game was won: Justin Tucker hit a 40-yard field goal as time expired to beat the Aggies 27-25. Texas A&M took the lead with 1:48 remaining, but the Longhorns' offense awakened with a huge drive, highlighted by a 25-yard scramble by Case McCoy.
Turning point: Texas got the ball back with 1:48 left and a fresh-faced quarterback. The Longhorns made a history-changing drive to seize control of the rivalry for who knows how long. So long to Texas University, indeed.
Stat of the game: Texas A&M QB Ryan Tannehill completed 20 of 49 passes for 224 yards and three interceptions. The normally solid, reliable senior had his worst career outing in a huge spot against a tough defense. His two turnovers helped swing the game in favor of the Longhorns as well.
Player of the game: Justin Tucker, K, Texas. He'll go down in history for that one. His 40-yard kick silenced the Kyle Field crowd and emptied the stands with amazing speed before being mobbed by his teammates as "The Eyes of Texas" blared through Aggieland.
Best call: Bryan Harsin's first-half trickery. The Longhorns had done almost nothing offensively through the first quarter and change. After a muffed punt, though, Harsin called a double pass and Jaxon Shipley found a wide-open Blaine Irby for a 41-yard touchdown pass that got the Longhorns on the board. A&M never saw it coming.
What Texas A&M learned: It still can't hang on to a second-half lead. It truly is unbelievable. Texas A&M has put itself in position to be 11-1 this season. Instead, it falls to 6-6 with five losses in which it held a double-digit lead. Four of those losses featured a second-half, double-digit lead, and the Aggies led by nine at the half against Texas Thursday night. The Aggies rallied for a huge late drive, but it didn't matter. Texas got the best of them again, and the rivalry stands 76-35-5.
What Texas learned: Even when its backed up in its own territory, the defense can make plays. The Aggies had better field position all game, but the Longhorns held strong and gave the offense a chance. The offense took advantage.
What it means: The eyes of Texas won't be upon Texas A&M for quite some time. The Aggies leave for the SEC with a 6-6 season and have standing wins over every FBS team in Texas except ... Texas.