SEC: Texas A&M football

DawgNation links: Gurley overshadowed

November, 20, 2012
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David Ching writes: Running back Todd Gurley is among the best freshmen in the history of the SEC, even if he’s likely to finish as runner-up to Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel for freshman of the year honors.

Kipp Adams writes: Defensive back Brendan Langley flips his commitment from South Carolina to Georgia, citing friend Quincy Mauger’s continued recruitment and a perceived greater interest from UGA in Langley playing two sports.

Adams Insider: Langley can help bolster a Bulldogs secondary that is bracing for several departures after this season.

Radi Nabulsi and Adams write Insider: Georgia, with a class of 28 commits, still has several top offensive talents on its wish list.

Ching Insider: Georgia Tech’s option attack is capable of creating headaches for Georgia as the Bulldogs try to keep their national title hopes alive.

Tide abandons run when it needed it most

November, 10, 2012
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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Alabama knocked on the door against Texas A&M, a chance at keeping its title hopes alive awaiting on the other side. All the No. 1-ranked Crimson Tide needed to do was run the final 6 yards to the end zone, stave off the upset and live to fight on.

Instead, Alabama threw it away. The Crimson Tide had four plays to score a game-winning touchdown, but chose to run the ball only once. On fourth down from the 2-yard line, AJ McCarron forced a pass and was intercepted. Texas A&M took the gift and ran out the clock for the upset, taking out Alabama 29-24 in Tuscaloosa.

Alabama's identity disappeared in the silence that wrapped Bryant-Denny Stadium in defeat. The usually strong-willed, overpowering Crimson Tide lost its purpose. The offensive line, regarded as the best in the country, stopped being the undertow that drowns defenses. Eddie Lacy and T.J. Yeldon stopped being the dynamic rushing combination that slowly chips away at opponents' will. Coach Nick Saban and offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier stopped using their greatest weapon when the game was on the line.

Click here for the rest of the story.

Instant analysis: LSU 24, Texas A&M 19

October, 20, 2012
10/20/12
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COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Maybe Johnny Manziel and his Texas A&M Aggies aren't quite ready for their SEC coming-out.

Even in a game they dominated.

Two second-quarter turnovers led to two touchdowns and helped No. 6 LSU erase a 12-point second-quarter deficit for a 24-19 SEC win at Kyle Field on Saturday. Despite a 410-316 yardage edge for the Aggies, No. 18 Texas A&M had five turnovers, including three interceptions for Manziel, who completed 29 of 56 passes for 276 yards.

It was over when: LSU running back Jeremy Hill took a power run 47 yards for a touchdown with 3:12 left. The play was eerily similar to his 50-yard touchdown that gave the Tigers a 23-21 win over South Carolina last week. Manziel was intercepted by LSU's Tharold Simon on the play before -- Manziel's third of the game, doubling his season total.

Game ball goes to: Hill, the LSU true freshman running back who rambled for 127 yards on 18 carries, again breaking out the big run when the game was on the line.

Key stat: 5-0. The turnover margin. After LSU gave up a first-quarter touchdown drive and a field goal drive, the Tigers figured out A&M's spread offense, harassed slippery Manziel and forced turnovers. Texas A&M jumped to a 9-0 first-quarter lead that increased to 12-0 in the second quarter, but it did not score another touchdown until the game's final two minutes.

Key play: Zach Mettenberger's 29-yard touchdown pass to Kadron Boone with 11 seconds left in the first half. After the Aggies had dominated the half, Boone made a nice double move, then a diving catch to give LSU a shocking 14-12 halftime lead.
The touchdown was set up by a Ben Malena fumble, forced by Ronald Martin and recovered by Lamin Barrow.

What it means: Ready or not, LSU (7-1, 3-1) has its showdown with No. 1 Alabama in two weeks, and the Tigers will have a lot to work on in their off week. The Tigers had triple-digit penalty yards and, as has often been the case, could not move the chains consistently.

Texas A&M (4-2, 2-2) is now 0-2 against the SEC powers, both close losses at home. The Aggies have shown they belong, but maybe aren't quite ready for prime time.

GeauxTigerNation links: Stop Manziel

October, 18, 2012
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Gary Laney writes: The LSU Tigers are banking on their experience so far this season against dual-threat QBs to help them contain Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel, one of the nation's most dangerous players.

Laney Insider: 5 storylines -- LSU vs. Texas A&M

GeauxTigerNation links: Stopping Moore

October, 16, 2012
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Gary Laney writes: If Texas A&M DL Damontre Moore was able to sack Robert Griffin III as a sophomore, what must LSU’s patchwork offensive line do to contain him?

David Helman writes Insider: In addition to last winter’s recruiting haul at linebacker, LSU is focusing on the position again for 2014 -- including its first commit for the class, Kain Daub.

Laney: Sam Montgomery’s 8.5 tackles for loss lead the stout LSU defense and keep him in the running for Bednarik, Lombardi and Nagurski awards.

GatorNation links: Driskel right choice at QB

September, 9, 2012
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Michael DiRocco writes: Insider A sophomore quarterback making his first start, on the road, in a charged atmosphere, in a nationally televised game, Jeff Driskel stared all of those things down and turned in a rock-solid performance.

DiRocco: Insider Analysis of three key plays in Florida’s 20-17 victory over Texas A&M on Saturday -- A&M QB Johnny Manziel’s 11-yard TD run, UF RB Mike Gillislee’s 12-yard TD run and UF QB Jeff Driskel’s 39-yard pass to Omarius Hines.

DiRocco: Three good points, three bad from UF’s win.

DiRocco: Insider Among five observations from UF’s win Saturday, offensive coordinator Brent Pease called a good game.

GatorNation links: No Aggies film

September, 6, 2012
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Michael DiRocco writes: Without film of Texas A&M under new coach Kevin Sumlin, the Florida Gators have been forced to study extra film from 2011 of the Aggies, the Houston Cougars and USF Bulls.

DiRocco/Sam Khan Jr.: 5 storylines Insider -- Florida ... Texas A&M

DiRocco/Khan: Florida vs. Texas A&M preview

DiRocco: Despite owning a school record, Florida’s Andre Debose is running out of time to be the all-around big-impact receiver former coach Urban Meyer pegged him to be.

Derek Tyson writes Insider: Recruiting mailbag
Editor's note: RecruitingNation is taking a look at the state of each team's brand.

COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Football was at the heart of Texas A&M's motivation for moving to the SEC, but it wasn't the only thing, nor was it everything.

Joining the country's premier football conference, one that has produced the last six BCS champions, was of great appeal, as was the tremendous media-rights revenue that comes with being an SEC member. But it was also an opportunity for the Aggies, at every step, to ensure that it turns into an opportunity for brand expansion.

"It's interesting that part of our deliberations in the conference move, we never did talk about what our football record was going to be in 2012," said Jason Cook, Texas A&M's vice president for marketing and communications. "This was truly a brand move for Texas A&M. Just like the University of Texas wants the Longhorn Network to expand their brand, we believe that the move to the SEC provides the opportunity to expand the Texas A&M brand on a national level."

And the effect has already been seen in Aggieland and beyond. Cook said that licensing revenues are up 23 percent in the last year. Texas A&M has become part of the national football discussion because of its move to the SEC, and that could be seen at SEC media days when the Aggies had the chance to introduce themselves.

"Texas A&M is part of the national conversation right now," Cook said. "We're coming off a 7-6 season, but if you look back, Texas A&M has been part of the national dialogue in the sports world for over a year now. Obviously, sometimes we stub our toe, and it's national news now. But that's what being a national brand is all about. So we're part of the media dialogue, the SEC media days was a tremendous platform for us to introduce Texas A&M to a new part of the country and a new group of media outlets, so you can look at it from a media attention standpoint and also from a collegiate licensing area."

Cook said Texas A&M is using the SEC move as a chance to "wipe the slate clean" and introduce Texas A&M to the rest of the country.

"A lot of people are interested in Texas A&M, they're wanting to learn about Texas A&M, yet not a lot of people understand that we have 50,000 students, that we are one of the top 20 universities in the country, that we have over $700 million in research that happens on our campus every year," Cook said. "They're wanting to find out more about us and sometimes they don't have the context of our traditions and our spirit and our sense of family that we have.

"But that's where we see the SEC move as a great opportunity to really wipe the slate clean and introduce people to the true Texas A&M brand without it being filtered by some of the other institutions here in the state of Texas."

Cook also said that Texas A&M works hard to ensure the brand stays consistent between athletics and the university, rather than the two being separate identities.

"Here at Texas A&M we have a completely different approach in that we truly have a one-brand approach," Cook said. "If you look at the logo on the side of our football helmets, it's the same logo for the academic side and we work in a very integrated manner, not only athletics but across marketing, communications and social media and then our licensing program as well. So we're a little unique in that manner. We have this one brand approach and a coordinated effort."

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