Aggies dealt crushing blow by Red Raiders

With 26 seconds left in the game, Texas Tech beat Texas A&M, 31-27 on Saturday in front of a sold-out crowd at Kyle Field in College Station. Aggie head coach Dennis Franchione talked with the media following the defeat.

On the overall game
"Tough game. The kids played really hard. I was really proud of our players. We need to try to make our field goals into touchdowns when we get down there. That would've made a difference, obviously. And take 30 more seconds off the clock at the end. They had two scoring drives – one right at the end of the half and one right at the end of the game. A great throw and catch there on their last touchdown. You have to give them credit for that. Good coverage too. They were right there. "

On the last Aggie drive that resulted in a field goal instead of a touchdown
"We called the play that we thought would make a first down. And that had been a play that had been really successful for us."

Is this one of the hardest losses that you've had?
"No, I couldn't say that. When you're far behind, it's a tougher loss sometimes. This was a tough loss, but we'll bounce back."

On the outcome of the game, with so much put into it
"It's always tough. It's tough to lose any game like this. But we've got eight conference games for a reason, and we've got seven more. They're all pivotal in this league. This team has a lot of character, and I think it'll come back ready to play next week. I was proud of the effort that they gave. Anytime you prepare and come up short, it hurts to lose. This one was certainly one that hurt."

On the Texas Tech touchdown and Texas A&M roughing penalty right before the half
"It was tough too. Obviously you look at your defense there. But offensively we could've done a little bit more to get out of the half too. You play off each other. In light of that though, I was really proud of the way we came back out in the third quarter. We struggled a little bit at the beginning of the third quarter offensively. And then we went 99 yards plus some for a touchdown drive to tie the game up. The two scores at the end of the half, you know, we play 60-minute games, but they were tough."

On what went into the decision for defense on the final Tech touchdown pass
"I listen to all the calls and I know what's going on. There wasn't any problem with the call. I think the call was a good call. It had been a very successful one all day long. It wasn't anything earth-shattering or anything like that. It was just a great throw and a great catch, and they did a good job, obviously."

On Texas Tech's passing success against Texas A&M DB Jordan Peterson
"I don't know if that was by design or not. But I've got a lot of confidence in that young man. I know our players do and our coaches do. If you asked me to go out and play that play one more time, and I get to pick the guy I put on that kid to cover that ball, I'd probably pick Jordan Peterson."

On the emotional swing at the end of the game
"It's always tough to lose in the last minute. There's certainly no doubt about that. Guys, I've coached thirty-four years. I've had a lot of good wins and a lot of tough losses. You keep doing this long enough, you're going to. Anytime you win one in the last minute it's euphoric, and anytime you lose one in the last minute it's deflating."

On A&M's ground game in the second half
"I think it was more how the game evolved a little bit. At some point in time, it became very successful for us. It kept us in possession of the ball. Thirty-seven minutes of possession time to twenty-two is a formula you'd like to have when you play somebody like this. We needed 37:48 [minutes] instead of 37:18."

On A&M's long-play drives, as compared to Texas Tech's short drives
"Believe me, I'd take one-play drives for a touchdown. Points are still the number one criteria. If you could design what you wanted, you'd take … we had three fourteen-play drives for scores, I think, today. That's about the right kind of formula you'd like to have. Certainly we would've liked to have scored more and scored quicker, and turn a couple of our field goal drives into touchdowns."

On this game establishing an identity for the team
"I don't know if we made [a statement] today anymore than we have. This team two weeks ago threw it a great deal. I think the mark of this team is they'll do what needs to be done on offense, whether it's run or pass, or both, to move the football. You know, we're not as good at throwing it as some people; we're not as good at running it as some people. But we're pretty good at both. We didn't throw it as well today as we have in the past, but I really like the spirit of this team and how they've fought, how they've prepared for five weeks. I think they'll continue that with the leadership we have."

On the team bouncing back against Kansas next week
"I think as a coach you spend about 90 percent of your time worrying about ten percent of things that actually happen. But that's what your job is. I wouldn't be honest with you if I didn't say, ‘Well, sure you have to be concerned about that.' But even as I say that, I'm pretty confident that this team will do what it needs to do. There's just a different spirit about this team. There's a different attitude about this team. They've showed that many times. They've met adversity head-on already and responded well to it. This game is not the end-all, wherewithal, whether we had won the game or lost the game. There are more critical, important games to play."

On where quarterback Stephen McGee is with his passing
"Tech is good against the pass. You have to give them credit. They defend it against each other all the time, so that's going to be one of their strengths. I don't know if Stephen was as sharp as he has been today. I'm not sure we need to put it all on Stephen either, in that regard. I think he flushed a couple of times early today that he didn't need to. But still, the young man put us into a position to win the game. It just wasn't a pretty throwing day for us."

On putting enough pressure on Texas Tech quarterback Graham Harrell
"I think anytime you play these guys you're going to talk about pressure. You have to identify what pressure is. I think we'd all like to say, ‘Pressure is a lot of sacks.' They're a hard team to sack. I think they only had eight or nine last year. You don't get a lot of sacks on this ball club. I thought in the first half we hit him a lot. We made him move and throw a little out of rhythm some. Sometimes those are as pivotal. Their quarterbacks are great at not taking a sack, at throwing the ball away. That's the challenge in the game – is to get pressure with your front. I don't know if we expected it. You hope to get it. You know that it's going to be a challenge to put pressure on their quarterback. "
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