Texas A&M 45 … at Texas Tech 40

Posted Oct 8, 2011

Week 6 CFN Fearless Prediction & Game Story - Texas A&M at Texas Tech

2011 Predictions & Game Story 

Week 6 - Texas A&M at Texas Tech

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Oct. 8 Texas A&M 45 … at Texas Tech 40
CFN Analysis: It was close, but Texas A&M finally held on in the second half. The secondary continues to be a complete and utter disaster as Texas Tech fired away in the second half and made it very, very interesting in the final moments. Like the two collapses against Oklahoma State and Arkansas, the running game should've been able to close out the game with ease. Cyrus Gray was running well, and Christine Michael pounded away for a tough 52 yards, but the offense couldn't get control of the game. There's way too much talent and way too much explosion to only come up with one touchdown in the second half against a defense as lousy as Texas Tech's – the other second half touchdown came from the special teams on a blocked field goal. With Baylor up next, the Aggies had better come up with a huge first half cushion, and it needs to do even more to come up with big plays through the air. Jeff Fuller can't just catch one pass for 12 yards.

Texas Tech wouldn't give up. Seth Doege threw it 66 times, and while he didn't get red hot until late, he kept the pressure on and he managed to get the offense within an onside kick of pulling off the comeback, but he and the offense came up short. Tech has lived off of winning the turnover battle, and while it didn't give the ball away, it didn't come up with any takeaways and it suffered a turnover-like breakdown on special teams getting a field goal blocked for a score. The Red Raiders are good, but they're not talented enough to beat the better teams without forcing a slew of mistakes.

(AP) LUBBOCK, Texas -- Texas A&M coach Mike Sherman brought out some film from the last couple of seasons this past week to remind his players how it feels to win.

The No. 24 Aggies had lost two straight after holding double-digits leads at halftime when they came into Lubbock.

They led again at halftime, 30-21 against Texas Tech on Saturday night. This time the Aggies prevailed.

"It seems like it's been forever since we've had this feeling," Sherman said after the 45-40 win. "We went back down memory lane a little bit and relieved some of those feelings. And we had that same feeling in there today."

Ryan Tannehill ran for two touchdowns and threw for another for the Aggies.

"That feeling in the locker room makes it all worth it," Tannehill said. "You're in there with your closest brothers, and you're having a good time. To me that's the best feeling you have."

Texas A&M finally put together four quarters, despite being outscored 20-14 in the second half.

The Aggies (3-2, 1-1) ran for 205 yards on 46 carries.

Seth Doege threw for three touchdowns and 391 yards to lead Texas Tech (4-1, 1-1). Eric Stephens injured his knee late in the third quarter and had 122 yards on 22 carries.

"We hate to lose Eric Stephens," Tuberville said. "It doesn't look good."

Cyrus Gray and Christine Michael each ran for a score for Texas A&M.

Tannehill found Michael Lamothe early in the fourth quarter for a 5-yard TD to put the Aggies up 45-30.

Sherman said he weighted his game plan toward the run. There were 46 rushing plays and 16 passes.

"I didn't want this to be a throw-fest out there," Sherman said. "I wanted to have some balance in running the football. It worked for us so we stayed with it."

Tannehill's pass to Lamothe proved crucial. Doege came back and found Alex Torres on a 20-yard TD pass with 31 seconds remaining in the game to pull within 45-40.

"We gave ourselves a chance at the end but made too many mistakes," Texas Tech coach Tommy Tuberville said. "We couldn't stop their run. We played much better but didn't get anything going offensively in the third quarter."

The game's momentum turned on a blocked field goal by the Aggies in the third quarter. Terrence Frederick put A&M up 38-23 when he picked up the ball and ran 63 yards untouched along the near sideline for the touchdown. Dustin Harris was the Aggie who got his hand on the 50-yard attempt by Donnie Carona.

That score took the air out of the Red Raiders and their fans.

A roughing the kicker penalty on the Aggies earlier in the third quarter gave Texas Tech another shot at scoring. The Red Raiders got only a field goal, though, to pull within 31-23. Steven Terrell appeared to have be pushed into Red Raiders punter Ryan Erxleben on fourth-and-10 from Texas Tech's 35.

Doege found a wide open Torres for a 22-yard gain and then was sacked for a 7-yard loss. Donnie Carona finished the drive with a 49-yard field goal -- his second from that distance as the Red Raiders had to settle for 3-pointers throughout the game.

"We had to kick too many field goals and too much time ran off the clock," Tuberville said. "We're a much better team than we were on the first of September."

Both offenses played fast and the defenses struggled to get to the line in time.

Stephens scored on a 4-yard run to pull Tech within 24-20 late in the first half. Texas Tech got big help on the scoring drive from back-to-back pass interference penalties.

Tannehill did it all in the first half. He completed 12 of 16 passes for 156 yards. He also rushed for 55 yards and the two rushing touchdowns.

Texas Tech keep pace until settling for a 27-yard field goal to trail 17-13.

The day started poorly for Texas A&M. The Aggies found their team buses were vandalized overnight Friday. Bus drivers found manure inside and outside the four vehicles.

A&M athletic director Bill Byrne said Saturday manure went "from one end to the other" inside one bus that couldn't be locked. The others had manure along the exterior. He tweeted that the outsides of all the buses had vulgarities "spray painted" on them.

"Classy," ended his first tweet.

The team was accompanied school security and a Texas Department of Public Safety trooper and no official report was made to the agency, an email from Aggies spokesman Brad Marquardt stated.

Texas Tech AD Kirby Hocutt called the vandalism "unfortunate" and that it doesn't "represent who we are as a group."

Texas A&M (2-2) at Texas Tech (4-0) Oct. 8, 7:00, FX

Here's The Deal … Of all the rivalry games that'll likely take a hit once Texas A&M bolts for greener SEC pastures, this is one that'll probably fizzle out the fastest.

A segment of the A&M world will never want to lose the rivalry date with Texas, just like Florida has Florida State, South Carolina has Clemson, and Georgia has Georgia Tech, as an SEC end-of-year capper. Texas Tech, though, might have to be phased out to make room for creamier puffs early on the Aggie slate before diving head-first into a nightmarish SEC slate.

Tech knows all about taking it easy in non-conference games, but it can't be blamed this year for Nevada being mediocre. Wins over Texas State and New Mexico weren't exactly scintillating, but a late rally to get by the Wolf Pack followed up by a breathtaking run in the second half to beat Kansas last week in Lawrence has Tommy Tuberville's squad at 4-0 and with three home games in the next four. A home win is a must with away dates at Oklahoma, Texas, and Missouri still to deal with, along with a neutral site day against Baylor, but Texas A&M might come out roaring.

The Aggies should've beaten Oklahoma State, and could've beaten Arkansas, but both games lasted longer than 35 minutes. The Cowboys roared with 21 third quarter points and 27 in the second half before holding on for a 30-29 win, while Arkansas overcame a 35-17 halftime deficit with 25 second half points for a 42-38 victory.

Head coach Mike Sherman is demanding that everyone go back to the drawing board to figure out why the team keeps collapsing, but the offensive firepower is there to beat everyone left on the slate to win the Big 12 title. Tech might not have enough talent to take a piece of the championship, but it's proving to be good enough offensively to keep up the pace when needed.

And the pace should be fast with Texas Tech ranking fourth in the nation in scoring offense, and 102nd in total defense, and A&M ranking ninth in the nation in total offense and 82nd in total defense. If this isn't the highest scoring game of the weekend, it'll be up there.

Why Texas A&M Might Win: The truly strange part about Texas A&M's second half gags and major problems against the pass is that the pass rush continues to work. With four sacks against Arkansas and three against Oklahoma State, the Aggies were in the backfield on a regular basis, but they didn't throw off the timing of the respective offenses. The difference this week is Texas Tech's receiving corps; it's not nearly as good as OSU's or Arkansas'.

The Red Raiders haven't really played anyone yet, needing everything in the bag to get by Nevada and needing a second half comeback to survive Kansas. The defense has been tested a bit on the ground but the secondary hasn't faced a quarterback that can throw. That changes this week with Ryan Tannehill and A&M about to expose a shaky Tech defensive backfield.

Giving up 427 yards per game and 229 on the ground in shootouts might not seem that bad, but Texas State, New Mexico, Nevada, and Kansas aren't exactly knocking on the door for New Orleans.

Why Texas Tech Might Win: Again, even though A&M is generating tremendous pressure, it doesn't seem to matter. Oklahoma State's Brandon Weeden chucked for 438 yards and two touchdowns, and Arkansas' Tyler Wilson threw for 510 yards and three scores. Texas Tech's line has done a decent job so far in pass protection, and quarterback Seth Doege is terrific at getting the ball out of his hands in a hurry. It's a tremendous passing game going against a miserable pass defense; the Red Raiders should be able to control the ball.

The two teams have been the opposites in the second half. While A&M collapsed over the last two weeks, Tech rallied with 28 second half points against Nevada, and put Kansas away with 21 points in the third quarter. If A&M gets up in the first half, don't tune out. The second half might be a whole different ballgame.

What To Watch Out For: Seth Doege is one big game against one big name team away from getting some national recognition. Texas Tech quarterbacks never get much respect because of the offense they play in, but Doege is handling the work extremely well with 14 touchdown passes and just one pick in a nearly flawless start. He threw for 366 yards against KU, and scrambled for 83 against Nevada, all the while showing good decision making ability and spreading the ball around to the hot hand in the receiving corps.

A&M got a huge day from Christine Michael on the ground against Arkansas, and Jeff Fuller is the NFL star of the receiving corps he's supposed to be, but junior Ryan Swope has been the team's most dynamic playmaker. Now only is he leading the team with 26 catches for 380 yards and two scores, but he's making things happen whenever he has the ball in his hands with 190 of his yards coming after the catch.

What Will Happen: Enjoy the shootout. Texas Tech and Doege will pick apart the Aggie secondary for over 350 yards, but A&M will get a great balance while getting over their second half blues by pounding Michael and Cyrus Gray over and over and over again to take control of the game. Tech will have its second half moments to create it's-happening-again fear, but A&M will hold on this time.

CFN Prediction: Texas A&M 41 … Texas Tech 26
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