December 29, 2007

PSU-A&M: Penn State wins the battle of the Alamodome

SAN ANTONIO, TX -- One of the major flaws of the bowl post-season system is that when you have two teams take five weeks off, then play a relatively meaningless contest, odds are pretty decent that you'll get a stinker of a game.

The 2007 Valero Alamo Bowl was anything but a stinker.

In front of a mostly-hostile Alamodome-record crowd, Penn State dug out of a 14-0 hole, then withstood two long Texas A&M drives to pull off a 24-17 classic in Joe Paterno's 500th game.

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PSU-A&M: Another epic drive comes up empty

SAN ANTONIO, TX -- Trailing 24-17, Texas A&M took the ball at their own one yard line, drove all the way to the Penn State two, rolled the dice on 4th-and-1, but came up snake eyes.

WIth under eight minutes remaining, Penn State leads 24-17.

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PSU-A&M: Penn State answers, pronto

SAN ANTONIO, TX -- That didn't take long.

Penn State quickly busted up the tie game with a 38-yard TD run by freshman Evan Royster.

At the end of three quarters, the Nittany Lions lead A&M 24-17.

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PSU-A&M: A&M bears down, ties it up

SAN ANTONIO, TX -- A&M just finished an epic drive (well as epic as a FG drive can be) and tied the game on a 38-yard FG by Matt Szymanski.

With about four minutes left in the third, Penn State and A&M are deadlocked at 17.

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PSU-A&M: Halftime History Lesson and Stats

SAN ANTONIO, TX -- At halftime, Penn State leads Texas A&M 17-14, and there are about 25 high school bands on the field right now, so this seems like a good time to toss out some randomness.

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PSU-A&M: Everything's normal for Penn State

SAN ANTONIO, TX -- Penn State's modus operandi for this season has been to start slow, then unleash with fury. The Coming into the game, the Lions' cumulative 1st quarter scoreboard read 72-72, but Penn State had dominated their opponents by a 114-21 mark in the second quarter.

Tonight has been no different -- Texas A&M led the game 14-0 after the first 15 minutes, but Penn State owned the second quarter and heads into half with a 17-14 lead.

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PSU-A&M: Shootout in San Antone

SAN ANTONIO, TX -- A&M scored touchdowns 12 seconds apart in the first quarter. Penn State has just answered with two TD's 2:04 apart to tie the game 14-14.

An incredible 30-yard TD catch by Deon Butler cut A&M's lead to 14-7, then after a Michael Goodson fumble, Daryll Clark flew in from 11 yards out to tie it.

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PSU-A&M: Whooping is contagious

SAN ANTONIO, TX -- Believe it or not, it's now 14-0 Aggies.

After Michael Goodson's 1-yard TD run, Penn State fumbled the ensuing kickoff. The fumble call was the latest I've ever seen, coming after both teams were leaving the field. The call was immediately reviewed and upheld, and it took A&M only one play to punch it in.

I mentioned in the preview that Goodson was suffering from a sophomore slump... well, slump over. On the first play after the turnover, Goodson busted through a big hole in the middle, then cut sharply to his right and outran everyone for a 16-yard TD, his second TD tonight, which matches his season total.

PSU-A&M: First shots fired at the Alamo Bowl

SAN ANTONIO, TX -- Texas A&M's Kyle Field has been called the loudest football stadium in the nation by some.

The Aggies have just scored to take a 7-0 lead, and with seemingly 90% of the sellout crowd wearing maroon and making strange whooping noises, the Alamodome is really rocking and rolling, too. And unlike Kyle Field, there's a roof to keep the sound in.

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PSU-A&M: Alamo Bowl Preview

SAN ANTONIO, TX -- The 2007 Valero Alamo Bowl brings us an interesting cross-sectional matchup that's full of contrasts. Penn State (8-4) makes a long trip to San Antonio to take on Texas A&M (7-5), which made the 170-mile drive from College Station to play before a partisan crowd that will be an Alamo Bowl record.

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November 10, 2007

Missouri Outlasts Texas A&M

COLUMBIA, Mo. - Texas A&M tested Missouri. But the Tigers and their offense were too strong in the fourth quarter for the Aggies, outlasting A&M 40-26 for a historic victory.

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Texas A&M Hanging Around

COLUMBIA, Mo. - Stay tuned. The Aggies should be in this until the end. They just answered a Tigers' touchdown and trail 31-26.

They are exploiting a Tigers' defense that's getting worn down and isn't tackling well. On a key 3rd-and-6 conversion, A&M quarterback Stephen McGee found tight end Martellus Bennett across the middle. Bennett then spun out of safety Del Howard's tackle and ran 42 yards for a touchdown.

Aggies Dominating, But Not Capitalizing on Chances

COLUMBIA, Mo. - Texas A&M has squandered several chances in the red zone against Missouri. It will have do more if it wants to regain the lead. The Aggies trail 24-19.

In the third quarter, the Aggies had 3rd-and-goal from the MU 3-yard line, but the Tigers forced them to kick a 22-yard field goal.

At the start of the fourth quarter, the Aggies had another time-consuming drive into the red zone. But again, the drive stalled, and A&M kicker Matt Szymanski missed a 36-yarder. The Aggies will be forced to shut down the MU offense again, which could light up at any moment.

With Touchdown and Turnover, A&M Regains Hope

COLUMBIA, Mo. - Texas A&M is back in it against Missouri. But the Aggies need to capitalize on a Tigers' turnover. Otherwise, the momentum will be lost.

They took the opening kickoff and scored, getting lucky when a deflected pass was tipped directly to A&M running back Mike Goodson, who ran 43 yards into the red zone. Four plays later, A&M running back Jorvorskie Lane ran it in from 2 yards.

A&M strong safety Alton Dixon forced a fumble, hitting quarterback Chase Daniel on a blitz and recovering it himself. The call was upheld after a challenge.

Using Maclin's Speed, Missouri leads

COLUMBIA, Mo. - Missouri wide receiver Jeremy Maclin showed why he's one of the top freshmen in the country by showing off his blazing speed against Texas A&M. The Tigers lead 24-9 at halftime.

After MU safety William Moore picked off A&M quarterback Stephen McGee, MU quarterback Chase Daniel found Maclin wide open on the right side of the field. MU wide receiver Will Franklin blocked the only defender Maclin needed to beat, and Maclin streaked down the sideline to score an 82-yard touchdown. It was the longest pass of Daniel's career.

For A&M to regain momentum and have any chance to come back, it will have to take the opening drive and score, going for it on fourth down if necessary.

The Aggies also need to continue to stretch the field and take shots down the field, even though McGee has one interception. That's the only way they will keep the Tigers honest and score enough points to keep up with them. They also need to stop making stupid penalties, such as false starts. They got seven for 44 yards in the first half.

If the Tigers can continue to hold the Aggies and control the clock by running the ball effectively, they should be able to hold the lead and get the victory. Except for one sack, Daniel has had plenty of time to find holes in the Aggies' pass defense and continue his Heisman Trophy campaign.

Aggies Fighting Back

COLUMBIA, Mo. - Texas A&M has answered Missouri. The crowd clad in black at Faurot Field is silent. The momentum is with the Aggies, who are down 14-9 midway through the second quarter.

After a long MU touchdown drive, the Aggies finally threw the ball downfield, and it worked. Quarterback Stephen McGee found Kerry Franks for a 60-yard gain. A&M scored three plays later on tight end Martellus Bennett's 6-yard touchdown catch.

On MU's ensuing drive, the Aggies stuffed tailback Tony Temple and sacked quarterback Chase Daniel on successive plays to force a punt.

Stalemate Broken by Long Missouri Drive

COLUMBIA, Mo. - After some sloppy play, Missouri has put together a methodical drive to go up 14-2 against Texas A&M.

An errant snap cost the Tigers two points in the first quarter. Punter Adam Crossett ran down Steven Blair's errant snap in the end zone and knocked it out for a safety. Later in the quarter, MU safety William Moore dropped an interception.

But quarterback Chase Daniel responded by leading the Tigers on their longest drive of the season, a 17-play, 87-yard march ending with Chase Coffman's 5-yard touchdown reception.

MU tailback Tony Temple is looking like he's fully healed from the right ankle he sprained against Nebraska a month ago. He had a nifty run on the touchdown drive, spinning away from three A&M defenders in the backfield to pick up a 5-yard gain.

Tigers Pounce Early

COLUMBIA, Mo. — The high-powered Missouri offense needed only five plays to take a 7-0 lead against Texas A&M, scoring on tailback Tony Temple's 44-yard dash off tackle. It was the Tigers' longest run of the season. The Aggies need to answer quickly, or this game could be over early.

Missouri Looks to Keep Pace with Kansas

COLUMBIA, Mo. — While Missouri is trying to keep pace with surprising, undefeated Kansas, Texas A&M is looking to salvage its season by playing for its embattled coach, Dennis Franchione.

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November 03, 2007

The Aggies are finished in Norman

NORMAN, Okla. - From my seat, the story is defense. Not that it jumps right out at you.

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Fans losing interest

NORMAN, Okla. — Likely, it wasn't the fact that Texas A&M's offense could go back in time about 80 years and feel right at home. Nor was it the fact that the Sooner defense lost the bagel when Stephen McGee found Martellus Bennett from 23 yards to finally put the Aggies on the scoreboard. What is it then?

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You've gone and made them mad

NORMAN, Okla. - It's 35-0 now. Jermaine Gresham has caught two passes since the last update, though his catch-to-touchdown ration, for the game anyway, suffered. Only one of the catches was for points. And that's not all.

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Goodson in the game

NORMAN, Okla. - One apparent fact tht came to light was Texas A&M running back Mike Goodson had skipped a practice over the week and considered leaving the team. He was known to be in Norman, though he carried the ball not once in the first half. Well, he's back.

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You'd think they'd get it right

NORMAN, Okla. - Here at the half, Oklahoma leads Texas A&M 21-0.
Perhaps, though, it should only be 14-0. Or 14-7.
Put it this way. OU finally got a review, even if it shouldn't have.

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All he does is catch touchdowns

NORMAN, Okla. - Still, Oklahoma can't run the ball, even with three very good running backs. On the other hand . . .

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It took a turnover

NORMAN, Okla. - Well, Oklahoma has taken the lead, but it's unclear if there's more where that came from.

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Where's the protection?

NORMAN, Okla. - Thus far, nothing much but the possible beginning of a very disturbing trend.

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The place is buzzing

NORMAN, Okla -A half hour before the kick it's a mix of disbelief and knowing nods in the Owen Field Press Box where Oklahoma and Texas A&M will soon meet.

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October 27, 2007

KU-A&M: Still unbeaten!

COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- The Kansas basketball team opens their season Tuesday with an exhibition game against Pittsburg State, but for perhaps the first time since James Naismith nailed up the peach baskets, the hoopsters won't be the talk of the town.

The Kansas football team withstood a late Texas A&M rally, including a couple of Hail Mary attempts, to pull off their 8th win of the season, 19-11.

The win puts Kansas at 8-0 for the first time since 1909. Yes, 1909!

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KU-A&M: Too little, too late?

COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- A&M is finally on the scoreboard!

The Aggies got a 21-yard FG to make it 19-3, although much of the crowd groaned/booed when the kicker trotter onto the field.

Unfortunately for A&M, the 78-yard drive was very time-consuming, and only 7:20 remains in the game.

KU-A&M: Aggie nightmare

COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Aggies pride themselves in never booing and never leaving a game early, but this fan base has been beaten down enough that both are happening right now.

Kansas just punched in another TD to make it 19-0.

The Jayhawks went 43 yards in four plays, scoring on a 3-yard TD run by Brandon McAnderson. McAnderson, who also had a 40-yard run on the drive, now has 152 yards and two TDs on 15 carries.

A&M set up Kansas with a short field thanks to more offensive ineptness. After getting their first first down of the half, the Aggies turned the ball over on a fumble. With Stephen McGee in the shotgun, Mike Goodson was coming in motion to receive an inside handoff, but a low snap threw off the timing of the play, and the handoff bounced off Goodson's thighs and was recovered by DE John Larson.

KU-A&M: Jayhawks take control

COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Kansas has added a TD and another FG and leads Texas A&M 13-0 at the end of the 3rd quarter.

Kansas' second drive of the half ended with a TD on a 6-yard run by Brandon McAnderson.The drive went 54 yards in 6 plays, with Todd Reesing completing passes for 14 and 15 yards to soften up the defense against the run.

The Jayhawks' third drive went 44 yards in 8 plays and culminated with a 33-yard FG by Scott Webb. Reesing is now 21-30 for 180 yards.

A&M went 3-and-out for the third consecutive time this half, and went backwards for the second consecutive drive.

I heard a smattering of boos after a 2-yard pass on 3rd-and-13, and I'll bet another 3-and-out will really bring out the boo birds.

No one has supported Dennis Franchione more than QB Stephen McGee, the leader of the team, but the Aggie offense has been completely ineffective because the KU defense is daring A&M to throw and they can't. It's time to try someone else.

A&M's offense officially had -9 yards in the quarter, and the Aggies have been outgained tonight 318-127.


COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- It's only a FG, but YAY POINTS! (Yes, I'm honestly just rooting for points.)

Kansas leads 3-0 on a 31-yard FG by Scott Webb.

After Texas A&M went 3-and-out on the first possession of the second half, Kansas marched the ball 51 yards in 10 plays, converting two third downs on the drive.

Maybe that will be an icebreaker for the A&M offense...

KU-A&M: Spirit of Aggieland

COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- If you ever hit the lottery and decide to spend the fall heading to a different football game each Saturday, seeing the best stadiums, sights, and players the nation has to offer, I think a visit to College Station has to be on that list. (And I say that even though I collect a paycheck from the University of Texas in my other life.)

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KU-A&M: Would you believe a scoreless half?

COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Believe it.

At halftime, Texas A&M and undefeated Kansas have yet to dent the scoreboard.

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KU-A&M: Not what you'd expect

COLLEGE STATION, Tex. -- At the end of a quarter, Texas A&M and Kansas are still scoreless.

But things aren't going as expected here.

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KU-A&M: Leaders of the Pack

COLLEGE STATION, Tex. -- A couple of months ago, I sat down with the Big XII schedule and put a big circle around October 27th, because that was the day the top team in the North would visit the top team in the South.

Technically, I was correct. Honestly though, I was off by about a hundred miles. While Texas and Nebraska have hit serious ruts in the road, Texas A&M is an unlikely co-leader in the South, and Kansas is not only looking to go 8-0 for the first time since 1909 (1909?!?!?!), they're also ranked ninth in the BCS. What in the name of Phog Allen is going on here?

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September 21, 2007

'Canes throttle Aggies 34-17

MIAMI - A couple of late scores couldn't pull Dennis Franchione's Texas A&M Aggies out of the hole they dug themselves in the first half, falling to a resurgent Miami Hurricanes 34-17.

An offensive explosion, uncharacteristic of the 'Canes (3-1), helped them control the game, as A&M (3-1) never really got out of the gate, falling behind 24-0 at the half.

"That was a big victory for us," said Miami Head Coach Randy Shannon. "It was an opportunity to bounce back from earlier this season and play a good opponent in Texas A&M."

The Aggies, known as an offensive team, were outgained 402-240 in total yards, and most of that came late in the second half. A&M had only 38 yards of offense at the half.

"Kyle did a good job giving us the best opportunity to win, but it was a team effort," Shannon said.

The lack of performance by the Aggies was exacerbated by the sparkling performance of Miami's offense, that 420 yard output falling just short of the season high, 429 against Florida International.

Ultimately, the stats tell the story, the story of a game that many thought to be a blowout, but not in the way it wound up going. Miami gets the signature win they've been waiting two years for, and Texas A&M gets more questions about exactly what kind of program they are.

"We just got beat," said Franchione. "Got beat by a better team."

Kyle Wright - It'll be a new feeling for Wright, receiving accolades rather than criticism. But going 21-of-26 for 275 yards and two touchdowns will usually lead to a victory. His passes were sharp, and while some of his deep balls were underthrown, they connected, and it led the team to victory. Normally I would be harsh on the fumble caused by Wright's careless ballhandling, but the guy had a pretty good day, so I'll lay off...this time.

The fumbled kickoff return by Cody Wallace near the end of the first half. A squib kick by Miami, just trying to kill the clock, the offensive lineman returned the kick, and promptly coughed it up. While it only led to a Francesco Zampogna field goal, it was totally representative of A&M's ineptitude.


Miami (3-1) gets nine days off before hosting Duke (1-2), who just won their first game in over two years last weekend over Northwestern. Likely not heavy lifting, their first conference win if everything goes as planned.

Texas A&M (3-1) will welcome Baylor (2-1) to Kyle Field next Saturday, looking to improve their record and start their conference schedule on the right foot.

September 20, 2007

Off to the field...

MIAMI - I'm heading downstairs to gather quotes for the final recap, so stick around...I'll be right back!

Shameful playcalling by Franchione

MIAMI - Texas A&M is on the board, the score now 31-3. Yeah, they kicked a field goal down 31-0. How could Dennis Franchione make that play call? In the words of Herm Edwards, you play to win the game.

That move makes no one happy. 'Canes fans are upset because they wanted the shutout. Aggie fans are upset because their coach wussed out and cut the lead from 31 to 28. Franchione isn't doing anything to cool his seat off; in fact, he's just throwing gasoline on the fire.

Heading for the exits...

MIAMI - The rout has been on for a while now, but that last touchdown pass from Kyle Wright to Chris Zellner sealed it for a lot of A&M fans. That section of the stadium, opposite the student section, has emptied very quickly in the last five minutes.

They might have left for A&M's lone highlight; Aggies inside the five.

An interesting sight

MIAMI - I must admit that I took a short trip away from my computer just now, venturing down into the sea of humanity that is the student section.

I've been down there in that crowd before. I've cheered and stomped my feet as loud as anyone. But I must say that the section is crazier than I've ever seen it. It's like Mardi Gras down there. The fans are finally being rewarded with entertaining play.

Trust me, you can't begin to pick up the energy that is being admitted from that corner of the stadium. I thought I knew what it would be like; I had no Idea.

One wheel falls off...Two wheels fall off

MIAMI - The only accurate description for the mood at the Orange Bowl tonight is shock and elation. No one can remember when Miami has put up such a dominating performance. A shut-out of a great offense throughout the first half, a great aerial attack for the 'Canes, and turnover after turnover after turnover. Certainly not what I expected when I walked into the OB tonight.

All you need to know about this game:

TOTAL YARDS: Miami 190-Texas A&M 39

It's pretty clear-cut what both teams have to do for the second half. For A&M, they just have to stop screwing up. No more fumbles; it's not raining here yet. Try to get something going through the air. Stop Miami's offense.

For the 'Canes, just look at the first-half tape, and do that again. Save it, and watch it next week. And every week for the rest of the season. This is the kind of team Miami fans have been waiting for since a crushing loss at home against Georgia Tech in 2005. They look impeccable.

A passing game? What's that?

MIAMI - A three-yard run by Javarris James capped another impressive drive for the Hurricanes, with Kyle Wright going downfield, hitting Sam Shields for a 53-yard completion.

Miami has looked more solid tonight than they have all seasn, including games against Marshall and Florida International. Still plenty of time for both teams, but A&M will want to make something happen on this drive, and stop stalling on the UM 40-yard line. Field goals are awfully long from that point.


...and they make something happen by thorwing in interception to Colin McCarthy. Not the right direction, fellas.

Miami draws first blood

MIAMI - An 18 play, 80 yards, 8:51 drive, capped off by a 7-yard direct snap run to Graig Cooper. The concensus in the press box? The best drive the 'Canes have had in years. That was a drive highlighted by big plays made by Kyle Wright. The run was pretty well wrapped up by A&M, Wright just made the plays when they were needed.

Questionable attendance

MIAMI - It's a little bit odd, the stadium is a lot more empty at this point (less than 10 minutes before kickoff), than I would have expected. It is important to remember that this is Miami, and people tend to run a little late, but even the A&M section is filled with odd holes.

The student section is also a little empty too, which is even more odd, because there's been more buzz for this game since the FSU game last year. I was expecting the section to fill very quickly, and while it's still jammed, some of the less choice seats are still available. Lets just assume for now everyone's still tailgating outside.

Just annonced, Martellus Bennet will be swinging over to the other side of the line when he lines up at tight end tonight. Not earth-shattering news.

Weather report for tonight's kickoff:
86 degrees
Partly Cloudy
52 percent relative humidity
Winds South 9 mph

The OB's the place to be

MIAMI - Greetings and salutatins football fans! It's good to have you here on Run and Shoot, as we're about to share one of the most unique experiences in college football; a night game at the Orange Bowl, as the Hurricanes welcome the Aggies of Texas A&M.

While the stadium and the team have seen better days, there's nothing quite like night games here. With the lovely skyline behind the east endzone, and a light breeze swirling in from that side, games here at night just always seem to have a little extra pizzazz. That's definitely something this team will miss with the move to Dolphin Stadium next year. The sunset over the Everglades is gorgeous, the humidity has given way, and it's exactly what Miami football should feel like.

But, the stadium doesn't play a snap for either team, so I'll stop blabbering about it and get to the breakdown. Shall we?

This is a match-up of two very similar teams. Teams who have the talent, but have always been tabbed as underperformers over the years. Some say A&M Head Coach Dennis Franchione's seat may be warming, as the Aggies are perrenially good, but not great. A prime-time non-conference win would go a long way in soothing the fan base.

For the 'Canes, it's a very odd time. Head Coach Randy Shannon will be at the helm for his fourth game tonight, hoping to keep Miami away from another 2-2 start. Shannon's position is completely opposite from Franchione's; new job, lowered expectations, and promise for the future. Fans are waiting for the big, "we're back," kind of win, a la UCLA in 1998.

Will it come tonight? Not if A&M's backfield has anything to do with it. The dynamic duo of Mike Goodson and Jorvorskie Lane have returned this year, and the dual threat of Stephen McGee's arm and legs will prove tricky for a Miami defense looking to recapture their magic.

Miami not without a thunder and lightning combination of its own, with sophomore Javarris James and freshman Graig Cooper bring electricity to the running game not seen at Miami since Frank Gore left for the pros. Ever since Cooper's first game against Marshall, where he ran for more than 100 yards, he's been the talk of the town.

The QB situation is Miami's prevailing weakness, as Kyle Wright will take the snaps, returning to his starting position after losing his job to junior Kirby Freeman coming out of camp. Freeman's completion percentage was near 40 percent during his time, and Wright quickly took his spot back. His performance has been marginally better, highlighted by an 80-yard pass play to Lance Leggett last week against FIU, adding some sparkle to an otherwise lackluster performance.

Despite being the favorite, Miami faces an uphill battle (they got three points from Vegas for playing at home; it's a pick-'em). If they want to win, they have to lock down in the secondary, rush using the tandem, and make some kind of magic through the air. If they don't, the Aggies will head back to College Station with a very valuable W.

Stay tuned for more updates and observations as they develop. Welcome to the OB, baby!


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