Guest column: A&M seeks consistency against OU
Saturday’s matchup was once heralded as the game that might decide the Big 12 champion. My goodness, has this matchup between A&M and Oklahoma lost its luster, and there’s no question the Aggies are to blame.
Yes, it’s the Aggies who can’t get out of their own way when it comes to capitalizing on a roster that, at least on paper, was supposed to be one of the conference’s best.
A&M’s inability to hold onto sizable halftime leads has become a national punch line. The Aggies stormed to mid-game leads of 17, 18 and 11 against the likes of No. 3 Oklahoma State, No. 7 Arkansas and Missouri, respectively.
Then came the second half.
In the final two quarters of these games, the Aggies were outscored 81-15. How this team surges out, only to collapse at the slightest hint of adversity is simply inexplicable, inexcusable and downright mind-boggling.
And yet, despite A&M’s inability to hold its end of the bargain, there’s no guarantee the Sooners leave Oklahoma Memorial Stadium with a victory.
True, the Aggies are still reeling from the losses of the Butkus Award-winning linebacker Von Miller and leading tackler Michael Hodges — the heart, soul and brains of last year’s defensive unit that denied OU at the goal line three times.
But the defense is not completely devoid of talent as it faces the likes of junior quarterback Landry Jones and senior wide receiver Ryan Broyles among the Sooners’ other potent weapons.
The Aggie offense is the unit that should garner OU’s attention.
As inconsistent as the offense has been during the season, it still ranks seventh in total offense and 12th in scoring offense. A&M’s senior quarterback Ryan Tannehill remains potent and the running back tandem of Christine Michael and Cyrus Gray stands among the nation’s best units with 1,515 combined yards on the ground. Junior wide receiver Ryan Swope, one of Tannehill’s favorite targets, is A&M’s most valuable playmaker. Period.
Simply put: if the Aggies come out swinging full-force as they did against the Cowboys and Razorbacks, but continue that level of play for most of four quarters, this game will be a dog fight to the very end.
But if A&M’s sorry alter ego saunters onto the field, even for a half, the Aggies will receive what they’ve been accustomed to getting much of the last decade in Norman: a good, old-fashioned butt whipping.
Chandler Smith is a sports columnist for The Battalion, the student newspaper at Texas A&M University.