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#3 Texas (11-0, 7-0 Big 12) at Texas A&M (6-5, 3-4 Big 12)
8:00 PM ESPN
Kyle Field (Natural Grass)
Sports.com Line: Texas -21, O/U 62.5
Hard to believe we’ve reached the end of another Thursday night season of college football. Seems like yesterday that we were kicking off the season with South Carolina and NC State and now we’re already at Thanksgiving.
It doesn’t seem hard to believe that this is Colt McCoy’s last season. After all, it feels like the Texas QB has been under center for the Longhorns for about 10 years now. That always appears to be the case when a player gets time as a freshman, as McCoy did.
The senior has certainly put together an impressive career as he is now the winningest quarterback in NCAA history after the win over Baylor last weekend. McCoy will suit up one more time against Texas A&M when the Longhorns travel to College Station this Thursday night.
For the first half of McCoy’s career, the Aggies were a real thorn in the side of the Longhorns. In 2006, the Aggies beat their bitter rivals 12-7 in a hard fought battle and then turned the trick again in 2007, besting Texas 38-30 in a shootout. McCoy certainly didn’t help the cause in those losses, completing 56.7 percent of his passes with one touchdown and four interceptions.
However, revenge was sweet in 2008 as Texas crushed A&M 49-9 in Austin, with McCoy throwing for over 300 yards and two touchdowns. That said, McCoy has yet to win at Kyle Field although Texas will enter this contest as a three touchdown favorite.
There is really nothing for Texas to play for as far as the Big 12 is concerned. The Longhorns are all set to face North Division champion Nebraska in the Big 12 Championship game at the brand new Cowboys Stadium in Arlington on Dec. 5.
That said, Texas has everything to play for from a national perspective. That’s because, with #1 Florida and #2 Alabama on a collision course in the SEC Championship, the #3 Longhorns will face the winner of that game in the BCS championship game if they can get by A&M and the Cornhuskers. With that in mind, you can best believe the Longhorns will give maximum effort this Thursday night.
And when teams have gotten the Longhorn’s best punch its often been a bloody ending. In all, nine of the 11 Texas wins have come by 21 points or more with Texas Tech (34-24) and Oklahoma (16-13) hanging around with McCoy and company.
On paper, this game has all the marking of another one that could be a first round knockout for Texas. The Aggies have the 110th ranked pass defense in the nation, allowing an average of 259 yards through the air. You can bet that McCoy, who is currently the nation's most accurate passer with a 73.0 completion percentage, is seeing lots of things he likes on film this week. McCoy’s main target is good buddy Jordan Shipley who has a school-record 1,204 receiving yards so far in 2009 and should add plenty to that this Thursday.
To have any chance, the Aggies are going to have to hope their offense can come up big. And with the 7th ranked total offense in the land at just over 450 yards a game, there is some reason for optimism. As is the case with Texas, the Aggies rely heavily on their QB to lead the team. Jerrod Johnson, a Houston native, has put up a monster season for coach Mike Sherman with a school record 241 pass completions for 2,875 yards, with 24 touchdown passes and four 300-yard games. With those stats you know the A&M defense must be bad if the Aggies are just 6-5.
That said, the 6-foot-5 junior will be making his first start against the Longhorns and with all due respect to his previous opponents, Johnson and the Aggies will be facing the best defense they have seen all season. The Longhorns rank third in the country in total defense, giving up an average of 238.7 yards and that’s after losing three defensive starters from last season in the first three rounds of the 2009 NFL draft.
Kyle Field will definitely be rocking and rolling for this game but will the home field advantage be enough to bridge the obvious gap in talent between these two teams?
Both the Longhorns and the Aggies have been 5-5 against the spread this season.