Thursday, November 25, 2010
Instant analysis: Texas A&M 24, Texas 17
By David Ubben
I'd say that's about what most expected, no? Texas A&M finished off a red-hot stretch with a 24-17 victory to end its regular season, and is now in great position for a big-time bowl game.
Here's some instant analysis:
How the game was won: Texas A&M (9-3) shook off a slow start offensively, and rode Cyrus Gray to a win for a second consecutive week. The Longhorns (5-7) had a final chance late, but Von Miller intercepted a tipped ball from Garrett Gilbert to seal the game. Texas recovered a muffed punt and blocked another to produce 10 second-half points, but it wasn't enough to overcome Gray's career-best night. After a first-quarter touchdown drive that featured two completions of longer than 30 yards, the Longhorns offense didn't reach the end zone again.
Texas A&M running back Cyrus Gray rushed for 223 yards and two touchdowns against Texas.
Player of the game: Cyrus Gray, RB, Texas A&M. Gray finished with a career-high 223 yards on 27 carries and scored on runs of 84 and 48 yards. The first tied the game at seven in the second quarter, and the second run gave the Aggies a 24-14 lead on the first play of the possession after Texas got within three in the third quarter.
Stat of the game: Yards per carry.Texas' time of possession advantage of nearly eight minutes doesn't count for much. A big reason for that advantage was Cyrus Gray's big runs. Texas A&M runners averaged 6.6 yards per carry. Texas averaged 3.7.
Unsung hero of the game: Texas A&M's offensive line. Gray played well, but he wasn't exactly bowling over multiple defenders on his touchdown runs. Texas' defensive line features big talents in Sam Acho and Kheeston Randall, but the Aggies' improving offensive line, featuring two freshman tackles in Jake Matthews and Luke Joeckel, dominated them up front and gave Gray big holes to burst through.
What it means for Texas: Texas will most likely be home for the holidays for the first time since 1997. There are 64 bowl-eligible teams in America, and 70 slots for bowl teams. Eleven more teams will play over the weekend to achieve bowl eligibility. Want to keep an eye on your fate, Longhorns? Here are the remaining teams playing for bowl eligibility this week: Colorado, Louisville, Houston, Western Michigan, Oregon State, California, Tennessee, Georgia, Troy, Florida International and Louisiana-Monroe.
What it means for Texas A&M: Texas A&M finishes their regular season on a six-game winning streak in Big 12 play that featured two road wins and two wins over top 10 teams. If Oklahoma beats Oklahoma State on Saturday, the Aggies will be in a three-way tie for first in the Big 12 South. Here's more on how that tiebreaker will be settled. The Aggies aren't completely eliminated, but in all likelihood, the winner of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State on Thursday will advance to the Big 12 title game next Saturday at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
Record performance: Cyrus Gray was the first Texas A&M player to top 200 yards rushing since Leeland McElroy in 1995. That's the fifth-best performance in Texas A&M history.