Aggies Used to Defying the Odds

It's nothing new for the Aggies to play the underdog to Texas' favorite. In fact, as recent history shows us, A&M players may prefer it like that. Websider takes a look at the recent contests of this traditional Thanksgiving Day matchup.

It's going to be a blowout. The Aggies have no chance. They'll be lucky if they can even keep it close. Have you seen their games this year? This is Texas, after all, and A&M just needs to thank its stars it is in the same conference.

Sound familiar? It should, because it has been a broken record for the last 4 years leading up to thanksgiving. In fact, not only is the criticism the same, but the circumstances are eerily similar in past years. A&M yet again comes into the contest well on their way to a very disappointing November month of football. There has been plenty of criticism surrounding the head coach, and one or more of the coordinators is rumored to be shown the door. A quarterback controversy is also in full bloom, fueled mainly by the unclear injury status of one of the players in the two-deep.

Meanwhile, Texas waltzes in having clinched or about to clinch yet another 10 win season. A National championship is definitely on their radar, and the Big 12 South is usually still up for grabs. The pre-game talk over at various horn message boards is mainly used to discuss which backups will get valuable experience for their imminent BCS bid. And once again, like an epic déjà vu, we find ourselves in the same situation for 2008. With this in mind, let's take a look at how these last three contests played out compared to how they were supposed to.

2005 – #2 Texas (10-0) at Texas A&M (5-5)
Line – Texas (-28)

In another déjà vu moment, the pregame talk leading to this game was how impossible it would be for one of the nation's worst defenses, Texas A&M's, to stop a dynamic offense led by a longhorn quarterback a shoe in for the Heisman ceremony in New York. On this day, it was Vince Young leading the charge for Texas, and according to bookies, fans, and pundits, this one was going to be a blowout.

However, as many fans remember, while the score reflected a double digit loss, this game in fact was much closer. The Aggies only trailed by 5 points entering the fourth quarter, but were unable to convert on some crucial third downs that would have spoiled the eventual National Champion's dreams. The AP story for the game even had this to say. "The Heisman Trophy candidate [Vince Young] wasn't even the best quarterback on the field against the Aggies… A&M freshman Stephen McGee made the plays and provided the inspirational leadership the Longhorns usually get from their quarterback." McGee rushed for 108 yards and 2 TD's, and came close to pulling off one of the biggest upsets in this rivalry. Luckily, he was only a freshman.

Final Score – Texas 40, Texas A&M 29
A&M Against the Spread: +17

2006 – #11 Texas (9-2) vs. Texas A&M (8-3)
Line – Texas (-13)

For once Texas came into this game having not already won 10 games, but with Texas A&M left on the schedule it was all but a foregone conclusion. The Longhorns had just been stunned by Kansas State two weeks prior, and with a week off to prepare for a home game against a struggling rival, they looked to be prime to take out their frustrations on the weaker Aggie team. In fact, it seemed that the defending national champions' biggest concern was whether freshman quarterback Colt McCoy could win the Heisman in his first year, having thrown for 29 touchdowns to only 4 interceptions. The Aggies had other plans.

The Aggie defense not only hammered Colt McCoy all day in the passing game but also picked him off three times, giving up only 230 total yards and effectively ruining Colt's chances at the trophy. The longhorn defense did their best to return the favor, knocking Aggie quarterback Stephen McGee with brutal hits of their own, and causing McGee to lose his lunch on the field on one occasion. The difference is that McGee was able to stay in. With little time left on the clock and while trailing 7-6, McGee engineered a 16 play, 88 yard drive that ate up most of the fourth quarter and culminated in an 8 yard touchdown run for the sophomore quarterback that put the Aggies in the lead for good.

Final Score – Texas A&M 12, Texas 7
A&M Against the Spread: +18

2007 - #13 Texas (9-2) at Texas A&M (6-5)
Line – Texas (-7)

It had been a rough year for the Aggies. This was the make or break year for Coach Franchione, and instead of impressive wins the team took a step back, and the offense had all year looked flat and predictable. Additionally, the game was overshadowed by the impending departure of Franchione, in part due to the now infamous VIP newsletter scandal. Meanwhile, most Longhorns were fairly certain they had this whole option thing figured out by now. Texas' run defense was once again solid, and there was no question what the Aggies would do.

Except of course, they were wrong. With much speculation as to why it happened, the Aggies nevertheless opened up their offensive playbook in a surprising display of aerial efficiency. Stephen McGee once again had a career day, throwing for a career high 362 yards and 3 touchdowns. He once again out-dueled Colt McCoy, who threw for only 229 yards and one touchdown. This game was never in doubt, as the Aggies scored the first 17 points of the game and were ahead 38-17 before the Longhorns scored two late touchdowns to make the score respectable. The Aggies were now beating the Longhorns in style.

Final Score – Texas A&M 38, Texas 30
A&M Against the Spread: +15

2008 - #2 Texas (10-1) vs. Texas A&M (4-7)
Line – Texas (-35)

Same song, different verse. The Aggies are again presented with a can't win situation, and on paper should not be in the same league as Texas. However, if recent history has showed us one thing, it is that this game is not played on paper, and that that is usually a good thing for Texas A&M.

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