October 23, 2006

McGee leads A&M in comeback victory at OSU

The Texas A&M offense scored when they had to, and found a way to win a 34-33 overtime game on the road. Quarterback Stephen McGee and the A&M offense showed great poise moving down the field in the final three minutes in a hostile environment to tie the game in regulation, and then promptly scored what turned out to be the winning touchdown and extra point.

OSU's strategy was to take away Jorvorskie Lane and the inside running game, forcing A&M to the outside and to the air. That's why Mike Goodson has become so important to this offense. He gives the running game an extra dimension of pure outside speed that spreads the field horizontally. The Aggies took advantage of it, with McGee and Goodson racking up a combined 156 yards on the ground.

At some point, A&M fans still hope that the offense will try to consistently stretch the field vertically with talented receivers like Kerry Franks and Howard Morrow, but they will also take two consecutive road conference wins, a 7-1 season record and a No. 22 national ranking any way they can get it.

Quarterback: B+

Give McGee credit. He's now engineered two fourth quarter drives that saved two crucial Big 12 contests on the road. That point can't be overstated. A signal caller with less leadership and the Aggies would be trying to salvage the remains of this season at 5-3. As it stands now, A&M is 7-1, nationally ranked and controls its own destiny to a conference title with four regular season games remaining.

And while many observers believe McGee throws the ball away too quickly in scramble mode and doesn't pick up receivers downfield when leaving the pocket, he certainly did that when he vacated the pocket and hung in there as long as possible before he was tripped. Yet he still found Joey Thomas in the end zone with just three seconds left.

A minute earlier on fourth and 13 he was again flushed from the pocket and found Lane dragging across the field for a first down. Those were two critical plays that McGee made with everything to lose, and most college quarterbacks can't handle that. McGee proved that he can.

With that said, McGee did have a critical fumble late in the third quarter that resulted in OSU's second touchdown of the half. A&M had started that drive at its own seven and was building on a nice drive when McGee fumbled at the end of an eight yard run.

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