December 29, 2006

Aggie defense not up to the task

What started out as a promising performance on an opening touchdown scoring drive and an early 7-0 lead ended in bitter disappointment as the talented California offense dominated the second half in route to a 45-10 Aggie loss.

To put this game performance in perspective, you have to look back at the 2006 season and recognize Texas A&M's recipe for success - controlling the offensive line of scrimmage and the clock with an opportunistic defense making enough stops to keep the team in the game into the fourth quarter when anything can happen.

The script seemed to be playing out just that way in the first half as the Bears turned the ball over on an interception and missed a field goal while the plodding offense controlled the clock and kept the game close at 14-10 going to the break.

However, that's when the plan unraveled. Cal realized that the A&M defense was willing to leave six men in the box and take its chances with All-PAC-10 running back Marshawn Lynch, and that proved deadly for the Aggies. In the second half the Bears ran the ball 21 of its 29 offensive plays, and those runs were extremely successful with both Lynch and back-up Justin Forsett combining for 239 yards rushing on only 28 attempts.

It was defensive coordinator Gary Darnell's decision to keep two safeties back in centerfield coverage in fear of all-American receiver DeShean Jackson and his game changing speed that opened the door for the Bears' rushing attack.

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