Thursday, December 24, 2009

Independence Bowl Preview: Texas A&M's 2009 Season Part 2

This is part 2 of a look at the season thus far for Georgia's Independence Bowl opponent, the Texas A&M Aggies.

Game 7 – Texas A&M 52, Texas Tech 30
Coming off three straight losses and facing a team that had blown Kansas State (who then blew out the Aggies), things did not look good to start the second half of the season. But running back Cyrus Gray was not about to let the Texas A&M season go down in flames. Gray rushed for four scores an Jerrod Johnson added two more (one passing and one running) as the Aggies cruised to a 22 pint victory over the Red Raiders. The Aggies were aided by 5 Texas Tech turnovers, including two interceptions of quarterback Taylor Potts.

Game 8 – Texas A&M 35, Iowa State 10

The Aggies got their second straight victory with an easy win over Big XII North foe, Iowa State. Efficiency was the name of the game for Texas A&M, as they converted 10 of 13 third downs and did not punt the entire game. The Aggies defense was able to battle Cyclones QB Jerome Tiller, who was making his first career start, into throwing two costly interceptions that helped lead to the Texas A&M victory.

Game 9 – Colorado 35, Texas A&M 34

Despite a relentless Aggies pass rush that sacked Buffaloes QB Tyler Hansen eight times, Colorado was able to squeak out a one point victory at home. Texas A&M built a 21-10 halftime lead after Cyrus Gray returned a kick-off 99 yards for a touchdown. Leading 34-28 with 3:59 to go, the Aggies kicked the ball to Colorado. The Buffaloes were able to drive the field in a little under two minutes and scored to take a one point lead. The Aggies were unable to set up a chance for the game winning field goal and their record fell to 5-4.
Game 10 – Oklahoma 65, Texas A&M 10
Facing an Oklahoma team struggling through its worse season in years, A&M hoped to beat the Sooners to get bowl eligible. What happened was their third major blow out loss of the season (third time they lost by at least 4 touchdowns). Landry Jones and Demarco Murray had big days for Oklahoma as they racked up over 600 yards of offense. The Aggies’ only touchdown came on a Michael Hodges’ interception of Landry Jones late in the first half.

Game 11 – Texas A&M 38, Baylor 3

Paced by Christine Michael’s school record 97-yard touchdown run, the Aggies gained bowl eligibility with a 35 point thumping of in-state rival Baylor. The team rushed for a season high 375 yards on the Big XII’s worst rushing defense. QB Jerrod Johnson also became the school’s single season record holder for passing yards. This was Texas A&M’s ninth straight home victory over Baylor.

Game 12 – Texas 49, Texas A&M 39
Thanksgiving night was a showcase for two of the Big XII’s best passers, as Jerrod Johnson and Colt McCoy went head to head in an old fashioned shoot out. Johnson threw for 342 yards and 4 touchdowns and added 97 yards rushing. But McCoy was up to the task, as the Heisman finalist accounted for 5 total touchdowns (4 passing) and led the Longhorns to the win. While emotion fueled A&M against their biggest rival, the talent gap proved too much.

Final Assessment
The Aggies finished the second half the same way they did in the first half with a record of 3-3. This included 3 blow out victories where they won by at least 25 points in each game, but they also suffered their fourth loss of the season by at least 28 points. Close games against Colorado and Texas could have changed the season dramatically, but in the end they ended up where they should be. They beat the bad teams on their schedule and lost to the good ones and more likely than not, the final score was not close. While they are a threat on offense, they have too many holes on defense to stop talented offenses.

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