Ags and Pokes have something to prove

Texas A&M and Oklahoma State will both try to get back on track this weekend when they face off in a Big 12 South matchup on the gridiron at Kyle Field in College Station on Saturday. The Aggies and Cowboys have both struggled with frustrating seasons so far.

The teams: Oklahoma State (3-2, 0-2 Big 12) at Texas A&M (3-2, 1-1 Big 12)

When: Saturday, October 15, 2005, 2:30 p.m. (CST)

Location: Kyle Field (82,600 capacity) • College Station, Texas

Radio: Texas A&M Sports Network

Series: Saturday's game marks the 21st contest on the gridiron between Texas A&M and Oklahoma State, dating back to the first meeting in 1913. The Aggies hold a 14-6 advantage over the Cowboys. The two teams squared off last season in Stillwater where the Aggies crashed the party, winning the OSU homecoming game 36-20.

Walking Wounded: In addition to bouncing back from last Saturday's crushing loss to Colorado, the Aggies are now dealing with some key injuries. Senior linebacker Lee Foliaki broke his right arm during the Colorado game and is likely out for the season. Sophomore strong safety Japhus Brown tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee last week during practice and is gone for the year. Receivers L' Tydrick Riley, Earvin Taylor and Keith Dickerson are also out for the season.

Battle of the worst: Oklahoma State and Texas A&M have found themselves at the bottom of two Big 12 lists. The Cowboy offense against the Aggie defense statistically matches up two of the worst units in the country. OSU ranks 11th in the conference in total offense, averaging 300.4 yards per game (100th out of 117 teams in Division I-A). The Aggies have allowed a league-high 40 third down conversions in 82 opportunities (48.8 percent), dead last in the Big 12.

Keeping it under wraps: Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy will not reveal who will start at quarterback for the Cowboys on Saturday. Starter Bobby Reid suffered a foot injury in the fourth quarter of OSU's 38-31 loss to Missouri and has been wearing a protective boot. Sophomore backup quarterback Al Pena, more of a drop-back passer, is available to replace Reid, the more athletic of the two QBs. "If they knew who we were playing at quarterback, it could be a serious advantage for them in preparation in the plays they work on," Gundy said.

Bright spot: Despite disappointing struggles over the past few weeks, Texas A&M boasts one of the top offensives in the country. Led by senior quarterback Reggie McNeal, the Aggies are averaging 206 rushing yards per game (22nd), 450 total yards per game (18th), and 34 points per game (25th). McNeal is averaging 71 yards rushing per game, and his passing efficiency rating of 143.91 is fourth in the league and 30th in the country.

Carter the Star: Aggie senior receiver Jason Carter is having a stand-out season. Carter is averaging 101.8 yards per game, first in the Big 12.

Mike Gundy on Reggie McNeal: "Reggie is a good player. He is a very dangerous player. When you play a guy who throws the deep ball as accurately as he does and can take off and run the ball for 15 or 20 yards at anytime, he is a dangerous player. He is a good football player."

Dennis Franchione on disappointing season: "We're trying to solve things as best we can with the means we have available and the things we can do. Sometimes there is not much you can always do other than to just keep working. We have three winnable games this month. We have two at home. You have to feel like in this month that if we can get going, stay healthy and play that we can come out OK."
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