OU-Texas A&M Preview

Sooners know they will need their best effort to beat a talented A&M team Saturday at Kyle Field. The last time OU went to Kyle Field in 2000 it took a Torrance Marshall (pictured left) 32-yard interception return in the fourth quarter to propel the Sooners to a 35-31 win. Kick-off is scheduled for 2:30 pm and will be televised regionally by ABC.

Despite the Aggies recent problems, the Sooners are not overlooking Texas A&M and have given them their full attention this week at practice.

"Offensively, Texas A&M is one of the most improved football teams I have seen this year," said Mike Stoops. "The fact they are throwing the football downfield is a major change in their thinking and it is working for them. Yet, they can still run the ball. They have outstanding athletes and good speed at wide receiver.

"(Dustin) Long is a heck of a quarterback and he runs their offense very well. From what I read people are unhappy with their season, but they have been in every football game, but just haven't always gotten the breaks. We know that it will take our best effort to win on Saturday and anything else will bring disappointment for us."

Where the Aggies seem to be struggling is on defense. In the last three games the Wrecking Crew defense has given up 22 points to lowly Kansas, 38 to Nebraska and 28 to Oklahoma State. Against Nebraska the Aggies blew an 18 point lead.

"I know they have given up some points recently, but it's not because they don't have talent on defense," said Sooner Offensive Coordinator Chuck Long following Wednesday's practice. "They are big, strong and very quick on defense. Texas A&M will be one of the most physical defenses we will play. They have sound schemes and they are well coached. Sometimes a big play or two can really turn a game around and I feel that is what has happened to Texas A&M in the last game or so. They are still a very good defensive football team and they will be a very tough team for us to move the ball against."

The bottom line is while the Sooners are favored in every way against Texas A&M, the OU coaches and players aren't buying into it their 10 point favorite status. Sure, they are confident they are a better football team and they feel they will win the game, but the Sooners realize that just two years ago they had to rely on some Sooner magic to pull out a 35-31 win in College Station.

"That football game was certainly one of the wildest games we have ever been involved in and fortunately for us it worked out," said Mike Stoops. "Torrance Marshall made a great play and Rocky (Calmus) made a great block. Josh (Heupel) and the offense came up with some key offensive drives in the second half and then we made a great goal-line stand at the end."

"I remember that it was a great environment down there. To play in great places like Kyle Field is why you come to Oklahoma. It's fun to go on the road and play at great places, to experience the traditions at other schools across the country. Texas A&M is one of the best and our team is looking forward to going back down there at playing in that environment again."

In talking to Texas A&M coaches and officials this week it is apparent they still believe they are a winning football team. They have circled the wagons this weekend and they can straighten out this season this weekend by upsetting top-ranked OU.

The Sooners are a better football team in every way, but this is the Aggies opportunity to right all that is wrong with their program. It is a huge game for Head Coach R.C. Slocum, who his getting pressure from the huge Aggie fan base. They are a better football team than their record indicates and they will play lights out. The Aggies have lost four games this year and they had a chance to win each and every one.

OU will be in a dogfight from start to finish. The Aggies will be in the game, but once again they will be disappointed at the end. OU 31-27.

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