Aggies hope to stop Symons, loss streak in rival matchup

Updated: October 3, 2003, 3:15 PM ET

LUBBOCK, Texas -- Texas A&M is hoping to stop a few trends Saturday night against Texas Tech.

The Aggies (2-2) have lost two straight games and haven't beaten Tech (3-1) in Lubbock since 1993. There's also that Red Raiders' streak of four straight games over 300 yards passing.

"You don't go into this game expecting to shut these guys out," Aggies coach Dennis Franchione said. "You hope to get them to miss some turns, to get out of rhythm and to keep them out of the end zone."

That hasn't happened the past few weeks. B.J. Symons set a Big 12 record with 661 passing yards in last week's 49-45 win over Mississippi, breaking the mark of 586 he set the week before in a 49-21 loss to North Carolina State.

"They believe in what they do," Franchione said. "They have a quarterback who I think everybody at the beginning of the year wondered how he was going to be and he looks like he's been back there for three or four years."

In College Station last year, Symons, who leads the nation in passing yards (1,962), only watched from the sideline as Kliff Kingsbury led his team with 24 fourth-quarter points in a 48-47 overtime victory.

"Even though I wasn't playing, it was a lot fun being over on the sideline when that comeback came and we won at Kyle Field," Symons said. "That was a great feeling to hear all those people quiet."

It should be far from quiet Saturday, as a sellout crowd was expected for the 9 p.m. start. Tech officials, wary of the late start, said additional police officers will be watchful for intoxicated fans.

Two years ago, Tech fans stormed the field after a 12-0 win over the Aggies. They tore down the goalposts and rammed them into a portion of the stands where some Aggies fans remained, and a melee ensued.

The matchup is now a seething rivalry.

"For me, it kind of excites me to walk out there and people are screaming and throwing drinks at us and stuff," A&M tackle Alan Reuber said. "It revs me up and upsets me a little to go out and play that much harder, and I think for most guys it's like that. It's something and you don't want to be surprised."

Tech safety Ryan Aycock has a similar view.

"It's an adrenaline rush as soon as you step out onto the field, just the atmosphere," he said. "I get more boosted up for this game than any game. All you have to say is, 'Texas A&M Aggies."

It won't be Franchione's first trip to Lubbock. In 1994 his New Mexico team lost 37-31 to Tech. During the game, Tech's mascot horse got spooked, threw its rider and ran into a wall.

"That was my one experience in Lubbock, the day the horse died," he said.

Tech coach Mike Leach says he knows what to expect from the Aggies, who are coming off losses to Pittsburgh (37-26) and Virginia Tech (53-19).

"Franchione runs the ball quite a bit and likes to get the quarterback involved into it. It's just a good overall offense," Leach said. "Defensively, just a good hard, tough defense with some blitzes mixed in and a lot of times play zone over the top."

Though it's first season at A&M's helm, Franchione understands the importance of rivalries. When he was at Alabama, the adversary was Tennessee or Auburn.

"I haven't been through this one," he said. "The first year after the Auburn game I learned a little bit and the second year I learned a little more, and I was on both sides of the scores."

"Aggies expect to win, and that's one we haven't won lately and they want to win that game."

This story is from's automated news wire. Wire index