Kyle Field, Thanksgiving Day, the third ranked Texas Longhorns play for their first leg of three to win the National Championship. Entering 2009, the Longhorn's top priority was to play each game as a championship game. This weeks victim:Texas A&M.
Their arch rival Texas A&M Aggies have been out of the national spotlight for over a decade, and are simply hoping they can play spoiler to Texas' national title hopes—a goal they set at the beginning of the season.
As history would suggest, this game plays into the hands of the Aggies, especially since Colt McCoy's career mark is 1-2 against A&M.
Can Colt McCoy continue his rampage against the Aggies?
The Aggies are strong offensively, touting the seventh ranked offense nationally. Signal caller Jerrod Johnson has had moments of brilliance in a season of agony, and will need to limit his mistakes against a Texas secondary full of ball hawks. To do so Johnson has to take what the defense gives him.
The Aggies have good depth at running back with Christine Michael and Cyrus Gray. Time of possession will be critical, as the Aggies look to tire the Texas defense as the the game progresses. If (a big IF) they can run the ball then they'll keep the aggressive Texas secondary off balance, which can open up some opportunities for Johnson downfield.
Texas enters the game with the nations third ranked total defense. The scrappy Longhorns have the nations top run defense, giving up only 50.9 yards per game. To put in perspective how good the Longhorns are against the run, the second ranked run defense is Alabama; giving up 70.55 yards per game. That's not even close. The Longhorn's take pride in shutting down the run, which forces Johnson to convert third and long situations. Just when Texas defensive coordinator Will Muschamp likes to dial up combo blitzes from all angles.
Thus far, it seems like we may have a game on our hands. Then the Longhorns really separate themselves from the Aggies, who enter the game ranked 100th (of 120) in total defense. The Aggie defense starts and stops with LB/DE Von Miller who has to get pressure on McCoy to buy time for his thin secondary, which could be too much to ask from just one player.
With a potential Heisman trophy on the line, it would be hard to imagine Texas playing incredibly conservative. No doubt the Longhorns will air it out against the 110th ranked pass efficiency defense. Colt McCoy has been on an absolute rampage in his last five games; completing 77% of his passes for 1487 yards, 12 TD's, and 2 INT's, which suggests that it is going to be a long day in Aggie Land.
With everyone's attention on Thanksgiving Day, McCoy looks to even the score against his arch rival Texas A&M. After all, there's nothing the Aggies would be more thankful for than tripping the Longhorn's march to Pasadena.
That's what a rivalry game is all about—playing for all the marbles.