November 26, 2006

Aggies make the grade

The game of football has progressed through the years from a rough and tumble game of attrition and power in the early days, to a game of speed, skill, complex formations and strategy. In the day of spread formations, playmaking receivers and gun slinging quarterbacks, Texas A&M's 12-7 win over No. 11 Texas on Friday proved that going back to the basics of power football is still an effective key to victory.

In a shocking display of physical dominance, the under-recruited and undermanned Aggies simply manhandled the Longhorns in every aspect of the game, controlling the line on both sides of the ball.

The score may have been close, but the statistics show that A&M brought the hammer early and often on the previously rated No. 1 rush defense. The Aggies rushed for 244 yards, some 202 yards over Texas' season average. And while Longhorn fans made excuses for last year's 277 yards given up to the Aggies on the ground, there were no excuses this year.

On the other side of the ball, the A&M defense allowed only 70 yards rushing and a paltry 2.8 yards per carry versus A&M's 4.8 yards per attempt. Texas' longest run from scrimmage was just nine yards.

The Aggies once again controlled the clock, holding the ball for 36 minutes versus 24 minutes for the Longhorns. A&M continued its torrid rate of third down conversions converting on 10 of 16 opportunities. On the other hand, Texas could manage only two successful third and fourth down conversions out of 10 attempts.

Finally, A&M won the turnover differential, 4-1.

But the bottom line is that A&M came into Austin and defeated the defending national champion on their terms - power football. Now, the question is whether coach Dennis Franchione can translate this statement on the field into recruiting success over Mack Brown in the living rooms of Texas high school blue chips next year. If he can, then A&M fans may finally get what they've been searching for - championships.

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