Rumors had swirled over the weekend that information was going to be released about head coach Dennis Franchione's VIP Connection list serve at Texas A&M's football media luncheon on Tuesday. The sports information staff even sent out an email on Monday, alerting the media that the conference would once again be moved to the Hagner Auditorium. Everyone seemed to think that something was up.
But one after another, coaches and players filed through the press conference without a single comment on the issue. It seemed like a pretty boring press conference.
A&M running back Jorvorskie Lane was surrounded by members of the print media. He talked about his deep pass to Kerry Franks against Oklahoma State. He talked about hitting the OSU defensive back and knocking him back several yards.
Then, without any warning, it happened.
One writer asked the 270-pound running back about the Aggies' 14-year losing streak in Lubbock and Lane gave copy desk editors across the state their headline for Wednesday's papers.
"We're going to win in 2007, that's a guarantee," Land said. "I promise you."
Several writers who had already turned off their recorders did a 180-degree turn and jumped back into the barrage of reporters, cornering Lane for an explanation.
"Our team's chemistry is so strong right now, nothing can break us," Lane explained. "After what we went through with that situation with Coach Fran and (being) down 17 points last week (against OSU), it's just a real big motivation thing right now. We're just going to go play."
When asked if he was worried about Franchione cringing at the comment, Lane said, "I'm a man. I can say whatever I want to say. I'm sure they're saying the same things in Lubbock."
It was a bold statement, maybe even cocky, but the Aggies could use a little bit of swagger. And if anyone on the A&M squad has a reputation of putting his money where his mouth is, it's Lane.
Last year he was given the ball 29 times on third or fourth down. On 26 of those carries he gained enough yards for a first down or touchdown.
Prior to this season, when asked if anyone in the country could stop him in short-yardage situations, he simply said, "no."
So far this year, he's right.
This year, he's 14-for-15 on third down with 12 first downs and four touchdowns. When the Aggies are in fourth-down situations, Lane may or may not get the ball, but when he does, it's an automatic first down. Lane is a perfect three-for-three on fourth down conversions this year with one touchdown.
That ability to punch it in on short yardage situations is also the reason he's only five rushing touchdowns away from tying Darren Lewis' 17-year old school record of 44.
In addition to rewriting the A&M record books, Lane has consistently ranked as one of the top scorers in the NCAA over the past year and a half.
He's tied with Michigan senior Michael Hart—who made a similar predictions that paid off for his team earlier this season—for the No. 2 spot among active players for rushing touchdowns in the nation. The two are just eight shy of West Virginia's junior running back Steve Slaton and are one ahead of Ohio State's Kalvin McRae and Rutgers' Ray Rice.
That's pretty good company.
Lane is also No. 7 in the nation in scoring, averaging nearly two touchdowns per game this year (11.33 points), and is second in the Big 12 behind Texas Tech wide receiver Michael Crabtree. Crabtree leads the nation in scoring, averaging nearly three touchdowns per game (17.00 points per game).
Despite the fact that he's walked the walk on the field, A&M senior offensive lineman Kirk Elder was not really surprised to hear about Lane's bold prediction, but refused to follow Lane's lead.
"Good for Jorvorskie," Elder joked, knowing that he had disappointed the media by not providing more headlines. "I like his enthusiasm, but I'm not going to guarantee a win. I will guarantee that we're going to have a good week of preparation."
Lane had better be extra prepared now, both on and off the field.
After talking the talk on Tuesday, Lane will have the opportunity to once again walk the walk on Saturday in Lubbock—something the Aggies have not done much of since 1993. If he doesn't, there will be a lot of Red Raiders doing the talking on Saturday night.
Visit "The Tailgate" for all of the scoop from Tuesday's media luncheon.
Lane: "We will win. That's a guarantee."
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