Thursday, November 24, 2011
Halftime analysis: Texas A&M 16, Texas 7
By David Ubben
COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Texas games look quite a bit different than the rest in the Big 12. That's not necessarily a good thing. The Longhorns have a solid defense, but a limping and inexperienced offense. The result: A brand of football not often seen in the Big 12.
Quite the half. The Aggies lead 16-7. Time for a bit of analysis.
Turning point: Dustin Harris let a punt hit him and the Longhorns recovered. A trick play later, the Longhorns cut the Aggies' lead to 13-7 when Jaxon Shipley hit Blaine Irby for a 41-yard touchdown pass. Before that, Texas' offense hardly had a pulse. Funny how one play can produce so much confidence. The Longhorns looked much better moving forward from that point, which came at the 9:19 mark in the second quarter.
Stat of the half: The two teams combined to convert 2 of 17 first downs. Ouch.
Best player in the half: Randy Bullock, K, Texas A&M. Bullock's been money for the Aggies, banging home kicks of 49, 52 and 29 yards to become the school's single-season record-holder for made field goals with 24. He's also got 124 points, four short of the single-season school record set back in 1927.
Best call: Bryan Harsin's double pass. It was pretty obvious that nothing the Longhorns did was working. They needed a bit of misdirection or something that could rip off a chunk of yardage. It came at the perfect time, caught the Aggies off-guard and pushed Texas back into contention in a game that, early on, looked like it had no business being in.
What Texas needs to do: Keep mixing in some misdirection plays and tricky stuff as needed. The Longhorns don't look capable of moving the ball using their traditional offense. Case McCoy hasn't been able to stretch the field. Receivers haven't been getting open often. The holes haven't been there for Malcolm Brown. The Longhorns need big plays from the defense, special teams or offense. Without them, adding a couple more touchdowns in the second half to come back and win this is going to be extremely difficult.
What Texas A&M needs to do: Look at the scoreboard. Texas has seven points. It came off the Aggies' biggest mistake. Quit making big mistakes. Take what the Longhorns' defense gives them. Prevent the big play. Make Texas string together completions to move the ball. There's not much evidence to suggest the Longhorns can do it. Check all those things off the list and Texas A&M gets the last shot at Texas on the way to the SEC.