Longhorns fall to Aggies, 7-12
AUSTIN, Texas -- Stephen McGee had taken so many hard hits, he was throwing up. But yard by yard, McGee and the Texas A&M Aggies were pounding out six years of frustration in their rivalry with Texas.
With a stingy defense and two long scoring drives in the first and fourth quarters, the Aggies finally got past the Longhorns with a 12-7 victory Friday that they hope signals their return to prominence in the Big 12.
McGee, battered by the heat and the beating he was taking while running the option, punched in the winning touchdown with an 8-yard run with 2:32 to play.
"I looked those guys in the eye," in the huddle, McGee said. "And if I can't do it, I don't expect them to do it."
The Aggies churned out 244 yards on the ground against the nation's top rush defense. They snapped a six-game losing streak to the Longhorns and won in Austin for the first time since 1994.
"People have said this rivalry was dead," said Aggie offensive lineman Kirk Elder. "It feels great to get it going again."
The Longhorns struggled with only 230 total yards and quarterback Colt McCoy was intercepted three times in his worst game of the season.
The redshirt freshman was also carted off the field with 20 seconds left after taking a hit on pass and it appeared that his head whipped to the ground. He raised his left hand to the crowd of 89,102 as he left the field. Team officials said McCoy had use of all his extremities and was taken to the hospital for observation.
Texas coach Mack Brown said he didn't see the hit but noted the boos from the crowd.
"It sounded like 88,000 thought it was dirty," he said.
For fourth-year coach Dennis Franchione, it was the signature win he needed to get some of the hard-core Aggies critics off his back.
"Did I have any?" Franchione joked. "I know it's an important game to win. But, you know, I'm kind of secondary in all of this. The players have been everything that's mattered this year."
Franchione is 2-10 against Texas, Texas Tech and Oklahoma in the Big 12 South, but has guided the Aggies to their first nine-win season since they won 11 and the league title in 1998.
"This is going to change a lot of things for Texas A&M football," senior Aggie safety Melvin Bullitt said. "We beat the defending national champions at home."
Texas (9-3, 6-2) could have won the South division title with a victory but now needs Oklahoma to lose to Oklahoma State on Saturday. If the Sooners win, it will be OU playing Nebraska for the league crown on Dec. 2.
"I've gotten spoiled like everybody else," Brown said. "It's been a long time since we haven't won 10. It's disappointing for everyone."
McGee, who was 7-of-13 passing for 58 yards, ran for 95 yards on 18 carries. The Aggies drove into Texas territory only three times but chewed up yards and critical minutes in the fourth quarter.
Texas led 7-6 lead in the third on Jamaal Charles' 6-yard TD run and had the Aggies pinned at their own 12 after a punt early in the fourth.
Texas A&M converted four third downs on the winning drive, including a 14-yard run by McGee three plays before his touchdown run. The Aggies converted 10 of 16 on third down in the game.
"They methodically moved it down the field on that last drive," Texas co-defensive coordinator Gene Chizik said. "We just couldn't close the door on third down."
Texas looked like it could make easy work of the Aggies on its opening drive: McCoy was 5-for-5 and the Longhorns moved to the 9 before one tackle changed everything.
Texas sent 270-pound tailback Henry Melton into the line on fourth-and-1 and Aggie linebacker Mark Dodge met him head on, dropping him for no gain.
"To get that close and come away with zero," Texas offensive tackle Justin Blalock said, "it's deflating."
The Aggies then went to work with their inside-outside combination of McGee, Jorvorskie Lane and Mark Goodson, converting three third downs on their first drive.
Goodson, squirting outside behind a good block in the secondary, dashed 41 yards for a 6-0 lead after kicker Layne Neumann missed the extra point.
The Aggies covered all 91 yards in the drive on the ground. The Longhorns came in giving up 42 yards rushing per game.
Texas appeared to match the TD late in the second but Limas Sweed was penalized for offensive pass interference in the end zone. McCoy threw his fifth interception of the season on the next play.
A mistake by the Aggies set up Texas' only touchdown. A&M wide receiver Kerry Franks fumbled on a reverse and the Longhorns recovered on the A&M 34. A pass interference near the goal line set up Charles' TD.
"We didn't score like we usually do," Brown said. "I never thought we'd lose. I thought we still might make a play."