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Texas A&M vs. Texas

Betting Line: Texas -3 o/u 47

Thanksgiving Day 2010

 

Who would've thought going into the season finale that Texas would be 5-6 and Texas A&M would be 8-3. Oh, how things have changed. The Aggies started the 2010 season 3-3, but have really turned things on. Since then they have won 5 in a row with victories over Oklahoma, Baylor, and Nebraska. Texas on the other hand has dropped 5 of its last 6. They enter this game with a little bit of momentum after romping on Florida Atlantic by a score of 51-17. Can Mack Brown motivate the Longhorns to come in and play a big Thanksgiving game in front of the home crowd?

The Texas A&M Aggies could only muster 310 total yards against Nebraska, but they won 9-6 as defense ruled the day. Junior CB Trent Hunter led the way by recording 2 INTs. They held the potent Nebraska offense to 5 of 15 on third down attempts and 1 of 2 on fourth down attempts. Penalties played a big role, as the Huskers were penalized 16 times for 145 yards, and the Aggies were nailed just twice for a total of 10 yards.

It may have been against lowly Florida Atlantic, but Texas got back on track with a 51-17 win. Struggling QB Garrett Gilbert tossed 63 and 47 yard TD passes and ended the day with 263 yards and 2 TDs. He added another score on the ground and had 60 yards rushing. Junior Cody Johnson rushed for 124 yards and a TD. The defense looked solid as Emmanuel Acho returned an INT 57 yards for a TD.

Texas's offensive woes start with QB Garrett Gilbert. The sophomore showed poise against Alabama in the BCS Championship, but hasn't lived up to the hype in 2010. Against Kansas State he found the end zone only once, and tossed a whopping 5 INTs. The rest of the offense isn't making his life easier, but playing well has to start with him. The sophomore hasn't played a good game all year. Junior RB Cody Johnson has been solid with 120 carries for 485 yards and 6 TDs. It's clear the offense can't do much. If the Longhorns win this game it will be because of defense. 

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The Longhorns have played respectably on defense. The poor play of the offense has made them look much worse than they actually are. Early in the year they held Texas Tech to just 144 total yards. They allowed just 213 yards to Nebraska. They have 8 sacks in the last 4 games. The Aggies rank 11th in the nation in passing yards, but since QB Tanehill has taken over they have been much more effective rushing the ball. Mack Brown will focus on stopping Cyrus Gray.

The Aggies have been on a tear since benching QB Jerrod Johnson for Ryan Tanehill. Since they made that move they have won 5 in a row, including 2 wins over top 10 teams. RB Cyrus Gray has been a very large reason for their resurgence. The junior has 153 carries for 810 yards and 10 TDs this year. Sophomore Christine Michael has been solid too. He's got 126 carries for 631 yards and 4 TDs. They make for a very potent duo. QB Tanehill has 10 TDs and 3 INTs since gaining the starter role. His stats aren't overwhelming, but he gets the job done by cutting down on mistakes.

Mike Sherman's defense can play well when they want to. They put together a massive effort to hold Nebraska to a mere 6 points last week. They had 2 sacks in that game and came up with a few turnovers. On the flip side they allowed 516 total yards to Baylor the week before. If they come with the game they had last week Texas may not score a point.

The one glaring worry from a Texas A&M standpoint is the letdown.  Last weeks home game against Nebraska was extremely emotional. The atmosphere was electric and certainly helped the Aggies end up on the right side of the score. On the flip side, the Aggies could have had letdowns after beating Oklahoma, and even Texas Tech, but didn't.

Texas certainly owns some blow out wins in this series, however, it's worth noting that even in years in which Texas was very good, which is most years, A&M managed to compete at their level, even upsetting the Longhorns in 2006 and 2007. Here they have a double revenge angle working for them after losing 49-9 in 2008 and 49-39 last year.

The bottom line here is that, this year, Texas A&M is the better team. Something is wrong with Texas. We know the talent is there, which always makes betting against them dangerous, but we think the Aggies are the way to go here. Texas A&M 28 Texas 21 Texas A&M -3


 

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