Longhorns and Aggies
It ended as it should: Emotional, nail-biting, down to the last play. As rivalries go, Texas vs. Texas A&M delivered on their “last time ever to play” as the pre-game hype reminded us constantly.
For the Texas Longhorn football team, sheer emotion and toughness defined the game. They won, 27-25 when kicker Justin Tucker put through a 40-yard field goal with nothing but zeroes on the scoreboard clock.
The kick capped a game that lived up to the best the rivalry could offer, and a game that will live on in the lore of Texas and Texas A&M history. How else could it end except with a last minute field goal? Elation on the Longhorn side of the field, devastation for the Aggies.
For most of the game, the Texas Longhorn offense continued their funk after scoring only 18 points in their last two games; while the Texas defense again played lights out, after allowing season low points and yards against good opponents.
The on-going ill will is now firmly established after one the greatest games in the history of the rivalry and bragging rights sitting in Bevo’s lap.
The Longhorns managed to gain their fewest total yards in two years, only 237.
So with Texas offense continuing to swoon against a great Aggie defense, what’s a good defense to do? Win it yourself. And that’s exactly what they did.
The Texas Longhorn defense did everything they do so well, they stopped the run, they pressured Ryan Tannehill, and they took the ball away with three interceptions—two in the second half—one a 58-yard pick six for a touchdown—the first TD scored by the defense this season—the other setting up a touchdown.
Write down these names—Carrington Byndom and Quandre Diggs. In 10 years you’ll be talking about how you watched these great cornerbacks when they were in college playing for Texas.
Byndom, a sophomore, scored that defensive touchdown. He had the toughest job of the night, shadowing A&M’s best receiver, Jeff Fuller, one on one throughout the game. And while Fuller managed 7 catches and a touchdown, Byndom did not allow the big receiver to take over the game, something he is quite capable of. Byndom has done that every game.
Diggs, a true freshman, intercepted a pass as well, and ran back a punt 81 yards. Both Diggs and Byndom broke up 3 passes.
They weren’t the only defensive players to make waves. Emmanuel Acho had 14 tackles, the defensive line caused mayhem, and the defense, while giving up over 300 yards to the Aggies, didn’t allow big plays. The Aggies had to work for everything they got.
On offense, if your QB isn’t getting it done, you take the game out of his hands. That’s what Texas generally did. The ball went to the playmakers: Receiver Jaxon Shipley, his bum knee still obviously hurting, caught three passes and threw for a touchdown; tailback Malcolm Brown ran for a very tough 44 yards; and receiver Marquis Goodwin broke out with eight catches.
In general, the Texas QBs didn’t embarrass themselves. In fact, Case McCoy acquitted himself pretty well, throwing 27 times without an interception. That’s actually a huge improvement for Texas and McCoy now has a string of 107 passes without a pick.
And… when it really mattered, it was Case McCoy scrambling for 25 yards with just seconds left in the game, and setting up the game-winning field goal from Tucker.
Despite the McCoy heroics, Texas still has issues at quarterback. One moment said everything you need to know about Texas’ QB issues. At the end of the third quarter, Case McCoy took time to start changing the play, but the play clock was running out and forced Texas to call time out. Right guard, Mason Walters got into McCoy’s face, clearly unhappy. You couldn’t tell exactly what Walters said except you knew it wasn’t “you’re doing a great job Case.” Yes, Texas has a problem but it appears the coaches and the team finally get it in a big way, and McCoy shows signs of getting it too.
The Longhorns and Aggies now go their separate ways. The Aggies to the Southeast conference, the Longhorns to their TV network. The on-going ill will is now firmly established after one the greatest games in the history of the rivalry and bragging rights sitting in Bevo’s lap. The Texas faithful will certainly continue singing their fight song, perhaps with renewed meaning… “it’s goodbye to A&M.”