2011 Predictions & Game Story
Week 7 - Baylor at Texas A&M
Big 12 Fearless Predictions &
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Oct. 15 at Texas A&M 55 … Baylor 28
CFN Analysis: Texas A&M looked like it was about to buckle again. The Aggies gave up a late third quarter touchdown to Terrance Ganaway to make it 34-28 A&M, and then a funny thing happened; A&M didn’t gag. Instead, Ryan Tannehill answered with a 68-yard touchdown pass to Ryan Swope to kickoff a run of 21 unanswered points for the win. Tannehill threw for six scores, Swope went ballistic with four scoring grabs, and A&M got the win in the shootout with 681 yards of total offense. Basically, A&M outbombed the Bears, and it should be able to do that against Iowa State and Missouri, but it won’t be able to against Oklahoma in three weeks.
Robert Griffin doesn’t have a defense to help the cause, and while he was able to keep up the pace for a while, the 430 yards and three scores just weren’t enough. Baylor usually relies on the running game to help balance things out and control the clock and the game, but there wasn’t any room to move and nothing worked, averaging 1.6 yards per carry. The ten penalties were too many, the pass defense was a disaster, and for the second time in three weeks, Griffin’s special day was wasted.
(AP) COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Ryan Tannehill threw for 415 yards and a career-high six touchdown passes and Ryan Swope caught four of them to lead No. 21 Texas A&M to a 55-28 win over No. 20 Baylor on Saturday.
The Bears got within six points after a touchdown run by Terrance Ganaway in third quarter, but the Aggies scored 21 straight to take a 55-28 lead with about six minutes remaining in the game.
Swope's fourth touchdown -- his second 68-yard reception of the game -- was the first in that span. He finished with 206 yards receiving and also had a 68-yard TD reception in the second quarter. He also scored on receptions of 8 and 5 yards.
Baylor star quarterback Robert Griffin III threw for a school-record 430 yards and three touchdowns, but the Bears had trouble running the ball and were outgained 266-50 on the ground. Griffin is the third quarterback this season to set a school record against the Aggies' worst-in-the-nation pass defense.
Texas A&M (4-2, 2-1 Big 12), has won three in a row over the Bears and the loss leaves Baylor (4-2, 1-2) without a win against its longtime rival at Kyle Field since 1984. The Bears may not get another chance for some time with the Aggies leaving for the Southeastern Conference in July.
Tannehill found a wide-open Uzoma Nwachukwu on a 47-yard TD reception after Swope's fourth touchdown and Christine Michael got his second on a 4-yard run later in the fourth quarter. He finished with 105 yards rushing.
Michael's score came after Griffin was intercepted for only the second time this season.
Trailing 41-28, the Bears got down to the Texas A&M 9 on a 50-yard reception by Tevin Reese on the last play of the third quarter. Baylor's offense stalled after that, though, and A&M got the ball back when Griffin threw an incomplete pass as he was being hit on fourth down.
Down 31-14 early in the third quarter, Baylor got a 49-yard kickoff return from Antwan Goodley and Griffin hit a wide open Tevin Reese for a 43-yard touchdown pass two plays later to cut A&M's lead to 31-21. Reese drew an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for mocking A&M's hand gesture by holding his thumb down to the crowd after the score.
Randy Bullock's 47-yard field goal stretched the A&M lead to 34-21 a couple of minutes later.
Baylor ran a 17-play drive that spanned through the first and second quarters, but came up empty when Griffin was sacked on third-down from A&M's 8-yard-line before a 30-yard field goal attempt by Aaron Jones sailed wide right.
The Aggies took their first lead of the game when Swope got in front of Sam Holl for a 68-yard touchdown catch to make it 10-7 in the second quarter.
Texas A&M wouldn't stay on top for long after Griffin hit Terrance Williams on a 77-yard touchdown pass on the first play of Baylor's next drive to make it 14-10. Williams wriggled out of an arm tackle by Coryell Judie with a spin move and dashed to the end zone.
Michael scored on a 7-yard reception from Tannehill to give A&M a 17-14 lead in the second quarter on a drive that was helped by 30 yards of penalties by Baylor.
The Aggies extended their lead to 24-14 when Swope caught his second touchdown pass, this one for 8 yards, less than a minute before halftime.
Tevin Elliott intercepted a pass by Tannehill that was deflected on Texas A&M's first drive. The Bears converted that turnover when Griffin found Wright on a 6-yard touchdown pass to give them a 7-0 lead.
Texas A&M cut the lead to 7-3 with a 35-yard field goal by Bullock later in the first quarter.
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Baylor (4-1) at Texas A&M (3-2) Oct. 15, 12:00, FX
Here’s The Deal … Texas A&M and Baylor aren’t out of the Big 12 title chase quite yet, but it’ll take something major to take the championship with each already losing a game, and with each still having to deal with Oklahoma. This week, the repercussions in the conference race don’t really matter, and for lovers of great defensive play, this will be torturous. For everyone else, welcome to college football eye-candy.
Texas A&M has been bombed on over the last few weeks and is dead last in the nation in pass defense, but it has an offense loaded with as much NFL talent as any in America and can bomb away with anyone. The problem for the Aggies is an inability to close. There’s too much firepower and too much skill to not be able to power out wins in the second half, but it didn’t happen against Oklahoma State and Arkansas, and it took a late stop to get out alive against Texas Tech.
With three road games in the next four, including dates at Oklahoma and Kansas State, coming up with a home win over the Bears is not only expected, it’s a must. Everyone has owned Baylor in the Big 12 era, but before the program’s resurgence there were shocking wins over the Aggies in 2004 and 2008. That was about it for the fun over the last several decades as A&M went 17-0-1 from 1986 to 2003. But this is a far better Baylor team, and it’s a wee bit more explosive than the squad that 0-2-1 in three meetings with A&M in 1903.
Thanks to the play of Robert Griffin, the Bears have been phenomenal with the most efficient passing game in America and an attack that’s third in the nation in yards and fourth in scoring. The stunning loss to Kansas State hurt, but a bounceback win over Iowa State got things back on track before dealing with the toughest part of the slate going to A&M this week and to Oklahoma State in a few weeks. This is a flawed team, but Griffin is having a special sort of a season to make up for the problems.
Why Baylor Might Win: Texas A&M’s secondary has whiffed over the last three games, and now it’s going against the nation’s most effective passing attack.
To be fair, the Aggies have had to deal with three of the best passing games in the nation over the last three games, but they still weren’t even close despite a defensive front that leads the nation in sacks. Oklahoma State blew the doors off A&M in the second half comeback, throwing for 438 yards and two scores, only to be bettered by Arkansas QB Tyler Wilson, who threw for 510 yards and three touchdowns. Last week, Texas Tech’s Seth Doege threw 66 times for 391 yards and three touchdowns, but A&M was finally able to hold firm. Griffin is playing even better than Wilson, Doege, or OSU’s Brandon Weeden.
The big difference is mobility. The last three quarterbacks who picked apart the Aggies were relatively immobile compared to the world-class track star athleticism of Griffin. While Baylor’s offensive line gives up sacks, that’s partly because Griffin is able to dance around and buy time to make things happen down the field. It’ll be an aerial assault from the Bear offense, but ...
Why Texas A&M Might Win: The Baylor defense is about to get tagged.
The overall numbers don’t seem that bad – BU is second in the Big 12 in pass defense and fifth in total defense and scoring defense – but that’s because the D hasn’t faced an offense that can move the ball on a regular basis. That includes TCU, who went wild in comeback mode in the season opener and just barely missed out on the comeback win in a 50-48 loss. Iowa State’s offense isn’t without its charm, and Kansas State can run the ball, but they’re not in the same class as Arkansas, Oklahoma State, and Texas Tech offensively. They’re not Texas A&M, either.
The Aggies have too much firepower and too much balance not to be able to do anything they want against a mediocre Baylor defensive front and an untested secondary. The ground game and the 1-2 punch of Cyrus Gray and Christine Michael haven’t been used properly over the last few weeks, and they haven’t been able to put games away, but they should be in for huge games behind a terrific offensive line that’s having a great year. Baylor hasn’t faced a quarterback like Ryan Tannehill, who’s quickly growing into a hot NFL prospect and is getting time to work. Baylor can keep up with anyone in a shootout, but A&M has more talent.
What To Watch Out For: Jeff Fuller is a No. 1 NFL-caliber wide receiver who hasn’t been dominating like he should be. The A&M star is still trying to get past a hamstring problem, and last week he was knocked out against Texas Tech with a concussion suffered early on. The offense hasn’t exactly fallen off the map despite Fuller’s pedestrian numbers – 27 catches for 280 yards and two scores – and that’s because junior Ryan Swope, and others, have picked up the slack. Swope leads the team with 29 catches, but last week it was the ultra-athletic Uzoma Nwachukwu who came up big with four catches for 78 yards. Fuller is still trying to get back on the field, but at the very least, Tannehill will have to spread the ball around even more.
Lost in all the high-tech fun of the Baylor passing game has been a great start from Terrance Ganaway, a big, powerful back who tore off 200 yards and three touchdowns as the workhorse against Iowa State. The 6-0, 240-pounder isn’t just used in short yardage situations; he’s a good back who can stay on the field for three downs and can come up with the big run now and then when given the chance. He’ll get the chance against A&M.
What Will Happen: Texas Tech controlled the ball and the game by keeping A&M off the field. The problem for Baylor is that it’s a faster attack that doesn’t care about time of possession, ranking 113th in the nation holding on to the ball for just 26:45 a game. A&M will be too good offensively as it explodes on the Baylor defense that’ll be in for a rude awakening.
CFN Prediction: Texas A&M 45 … Baylor 31
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Texas A&M -9 O/U: 75
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