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Oklahoma State 30 … at Texas A&M 29
Oklahoma State QB Brandon Weeden
Oklahoma State QB Brandon Weeden
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Sep 24, 2011


Week 4 CFN Fearless Prediction & Game Story - Oklahoma State at Texas A&M


2011 Predictions & Game Story 

Week 4 - OSU at Texas A&M

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Sept. 24 Oklahoma State 30 … at Texas A&M 29
CFN Analysis: Oklahoma State didn’t panic, Brandon Weeden found his groove, and the team came up with a huge second half to pull off one of the biggest wins in school history. Weeden finished with 438 yards and two scores completing 47-of-60 passes doing a great job of spreading the ball around with Josh Cooper and Justin Blackmon each catching 11 passes and Hubert Anyiam making ten grabs. The offense was cool, calm, and collected as it started to roll in the second half, while the defense stuffed everything up front and forced the Aggies to abandon the run. The 11 penalties were way too many, and the first half really was a disaster, but OSU got the win, and the national title dream is still alive.

Just when A&M needed to get the running game going to turn the momentum back around, it couldn’t do it. Ryan Tannehill tore off 65 of the team’s 162 rushing yards in the first 1:01, and then Oklahoma State dominated up front for most of the rest of the game. The mistakes were the big problem, turning it over four times and with ten penalties for 82 yards, but even with all the errors and even with all the problems, there were still chances to pull off the win. Tannehill threw well, the defense was fine against the run, and the banged up secondary tried to gut it out. It’s a very, very, very long Big 12 season, but confidence might be a problem with Arkansas up next before the date at Texas Tech.

(AP) COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Oklahoma State didn't panic when it was down by 17 points to eighth-ranked Texas A&M at halftime on Saturday.

It wasn't anything new to the seventh-ranked Cowboys, after they bounced back from a big first-half deficit last year to beat the Aggies.

Brandon Weeden threw for a school-record 438 yards and two scores and Justin Blackmon and Josh Cooper combined for 244 yards receiving as Oklahoma State rallied for a 30-29 win over Texas A&M.

"We came out confident in the second half," Blackmon said. "We knew we could come back if we played our game and executed the game plan (and) that's what we did."

The Aggies built a 20-3 halftime lead before the Cowboys (4-0, 1-0 Big 12) took advantage of three Texas A&M turnovers and numerous penalties to reel off 27 straight points to take a 30-20 lead.

"The way they handled that situation was beautiful," Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy said of his team's second half. "And the win makes it's special. The way they fought back as a group shows a lot about their character and who they are."

Jeff Fuller caught a 4-yard touchdown pass with 2:20 remaining for A&M's first score since the second quarter to get A&M within 30-27.

A&M's defense forced a punt and the Aggies (2-1, 0-1) got the ball back with almost two minutes remaining, but Ryan Tannehill threw his third interception to seal the Cowboys' win.

Blackmon ran 39 yards into A&M's end zone for a safety as time expired to finish off the victory.

Oklahoma State won its fourth straight in the series and its seventh overall on the road in the first top 10 matchup at Kyle Field since 1975. It marks the first time the Cowboys have won consecutive games in College Station.

It could be the last time these teams meet in conference play with the Aggies likely headed to the Southeastern Conference next season. It was a fact not lost on the few Oklahoma State fans in attendance who chanted, "Big 12, Big 12" as the final seconds of the game ticked away.

The matchup was oddly similar to last year's matchup between these teams when A&M led 21-7 at halftime before errors led to a 38-35 Oklahoma State win in Stillwater.

The Aggies talked about what happened last year in hopes that they wouldn't suffer the same fate on Saturday. It didn't help.

"We gave the game away," Aggies safety Hunter said. "We didn't step up and play with the same passion we did in the first half. We weren't going out with that same fire and we weren't ready to fight. Regardless of what they did in the second half ... we just didn't go out and want to win."

Texas A&M kept Oklahoma State's high-powered offense in check through the first two quarters, but looked frazzled and tired dealing with its frenetic pace after halftime.

"They did a nice job of coming out in the second half and changing the tempo of the game and taking advantage of it," Texas A&M coach Mike Sherman said. "They kind of had us on our heels."

Several Texas A&M players had cramps and some had to receive IVs at halftime. Jeremy Smith ran untouched into the end zone on a 13-yard run that cut the lead to 20-10 early in the third quarter. Blackmon's TD catch got the Cowboys within three and they took a 24-20 lead when Weeden found Tracy Moore on a 4-yard pass after an A&M fumble.

Quinn Sharp added two short field goals in the fourth quarter to extend the lead.

Tannehill threw for 309 yards and two scores and ran for another touchdown and Ryan Swope had 105 yards receiving for A&M.

Cooper had 11 catches for 123 yards -- both career highs, Blackmon had 11 receptions for 121 yards, and Hubert Anyiam had 10 receptions for 92 yards. It was the first time in school history that three receivers had at least 10 catches in a game. Before Saturday, the Cowboys had never had more than one player with 10 catches in a game.

On Blackmon's score in the third quarter, Weeden found him in the corner of the end zone, but he dropped the ball well out of bounds and officials first said it was an incomplete pass. Blackmon yelled at an official that it was a touchdown as he walked away and after a review, the star receiver ended up being right. It was an 11-yard touchdown pass and Oklahoma was within 20-17.

The Cowboys were helped earlier in that drive when A&M's Jonathan Stewart hit Anyiam when he was out of bounds and the penalty tacked on 13 yards to the 9-yard reception.

Kenric McNeal caught a 33-yard pass from Tannehill on the second play of A&M's next drive, but fumbled, giving the Cowboys the ball right back.

They took advantage of the error and got their first lead of the game, 24-20, when Weeden hit Moore in the back of the end zone for the TD.

"At halftime we didn't change anything, we just started executing and things started going our way," said Weeden, who also set school records for his 47 completions and 60 attempts on Saturday. "Our guys did a great job up front. In the second half things started clicking."

On a repeat of their last drive, Texas A&M just got one play in before turning the ball over on the second. This time Tannehill was intercepted by Brodrick Brown.

The Aggies caught a break, though when Blackmon caught an 8-yard pass and was heading toward the end zone when he fumbled at the 2-yard line and the ball rolled out of the back of the end zone for a touchback.

But Texas A&M didn't get anything out of it when Tannehill threw another interception on the next drive which Oklahoma State converted into a short field goal that pushed the lead to 27-20 early in the fourth quarter.

Tannehill got A&M going on the fourth play of the game when he faked a handoff to Cyrus Gray and dashed 65 yards up the middle for a touchdown to make it 7-0.

The Aggies put together a 10-play, 86-yard drive capped by a 17-yard touchdown pass to Fuller to go up 17-3 early in the second quarter.

Oklahoma State (3-0) at Texas A&M (2-0)
Sept. 24, 3:30, ABC/ESPN2/ESPN3

Here’s The Deal … Over the last five years this has been one of the Big 12’s most entertaining rivalries, and it’s one of the league’s best kept secrets: it might be better right now than Oklahoma vs. Texas.

Oklahoma State has won the last three years, and while it blew away Texas A&M 56-28 in 2008, it came up in wins over the last two years by a total of eight points, while the Aggies won the 2006 and 2007 matchups by one point each. This year’s game should be just as close and entertaining as four of the last five, and now, it should have a say in the Big 12 title chase, a spot for a BCS game, and possibly, a lot more.

By far, this is the best Texas A&M team in years. The Aggies are loaded at the skill spots, the defensive front is a terror, and there’s speed and athleticism across the board to be able to not just come up with a win over an Oklahoma State, an Oklahoma, or a Texas, but beat all three of the big boys, and the rest of the smaller ones. This is a different team than the one that lost in Stillwater last year 38-35, going on a run of nine wins in its last ten games while playing with a different swagger and attitude than in the past. This is the test the program has to pass – after years of disappointing failures in the big moments – but it doesn’t stop here. Next week is a fun date against Arkansas, and then the rest of the Big 12 season kicks in. There might be games on the road against Texas Tech and Oklahoma ahead, but it all has to start with a win over the Cowboys.

Oklahoma State has been fantastic so far. The offense, even with former offensive coordinator off as the head coach was West Virginia, leads the nation in passing and is second in total yards behind Georgia Tech. The Cowboys embarrassed Arizona on a nationally televised Thursday night game, and followed it up with last week’s bizarre, weather-delayed marathon beating Tulsa 59-33 in a shootout that lasted until close to four in the morning. With road dates ahead at Texas, Missouri, and Texas Tech, there aren’t many breaks on the slate, but a win over A&M could mean a top five ranking in the near future.

Why Oklahoma State Might Win: Can A&M keep up the pace? The running game has been dominant, the balance has worked, and the passing game has done what it’s needed to do to put away two mediocre teams, but Oklahoma State is a machine. Everything is working at the highest of levels for the Cowboy attack, and if this gets into a shootout, as good and as loaded as the Aggies are, OSU does big offense better.

The A&M pass rush has been the big difference in the first two games, giving Idaho’s Brian Reader a hard time and screwing up the timing of the SMU attack, but the secondary has allowed plenty of yards and has been dinked and dunked on a bit. The linebackers struggled to wrap up and tackle SMU’s Zach Line, and OSU’s Joseph Randle is far slipperier and has quickly become unstoppable, running for 121 yards or more in each of the first three games, to go along with seven touchdowns and 117 receiving yards.

Why Texas A&M Might Win: The Cowboys will give up big plays. The defense isn’t as bad as the stats – with teams bombing away to try to keep up in blowouts – but there will be lapses when the long home runs start to come.

The game was out of reach, but Tulsa blew up with an 80-yard touchdown run and a 43-yard touchdown pass in the span of eight seconds last week, and it also came up with a 42-yard scoring dash late. Arizona’s offense sputtered, but Dan Buckner came up with a 54-yard touchdown, while Louisiana got its big plays on two pick-sixes from the defense. The OSU defensive back seven is good, but not great, and the Aggies have the playmakers to exploit a mediocre secondary.

Defensively, even without Von Miller, A&M’s pass rush has been dominant, destroying SMU and Idaho with 11 sacks and 16 tackles for loss. The front seven had a rough first half against the Mustangs against the run, but the pass rush was dialed in and has the athletes and the talent to camp out in the backfield The OSU offensive line has been good so far, but it has to be air tight or else immobile quarterback Brandon Weeden should have problems. A&M will disrupt him.

What To Watch Out For: Brandon Weeden isn’t the sexiest Heisman candidate, but he could jump to the lead of the pack with a huge performance. Second in the nation in total offense behind Houston’s Case Keenum, he’s spreading the ball around like a master throwing for 388 yards against Louisiana, 397 against Arizona, and 369 last week against Tulsa. While the six picks are a bit galling, and the 284 yards he put up last year against A&M was one of his worst outings of the season, no quarterback has been as consistent or as productive over the first three games this year.

While A&M is getting a good start to the season out of quarterback Ryan Tannehill, the running of Cyrus Gray and Christine Michael has taken over the offense. While there have been a few miscues and fumbles, the two have been rumbling with Gray ripping off two touchdown runs in each of his first two games, while going over the 100-yard mark in each, while Michael s back and healthy running for 116 yards and two scores. The more these two can control the ball and the clock, the more Weeden will be on the sidelines.

What Will Happen: The Texas A&M defense is fast and disruptive, and the offense is playing at a high level with balance and steady production, but Oklahoma State is even sharper. Weeden is on top of his game at the moment, working in perfect sync with Justin Blackmon and the loaded Cowboy receiving corps, while Randle has been a perfect complement to the passing attack. This will be yet another fun, close shootout between the two with lots of home runs and plenty of momentum shifts, and the team with the ball last will win. OSU will be a wee bit better because of Quinn Sharp. His punting will keep the field tilted to A&M's side, and Weeden will take advantage.

CFN Prediction: Oklahoma State 38 … Texas A&M 36
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