“I guess [I’ll start by saying] congratulations to Coach Sherman, his staff,” said OU head coach Bob Stoops. “Again, Texas A&M played an excellent football game, a hard-fought football game, and, you know, really, in the end, did the things necessary to win.”
After trailing 12-0 at halftime and giving up a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown to Texas A&M Aggie return man Coryell Judie to open the second half, though, the Sooners mounted a furious comeback.
Running back DeMarco Murray capped a 15-play, 71-yard drive with a 1-yard scamper to get OU on the board.
Less than three minutes later after cornerback Jamell Fleming picked off a Ryan Tannehill pass, place kicker Patrick O’Hara cut the lead to 19-10 with a 45-yard field goal.
OU moved within two points as quarterback Landry Jones escaped to the right out of the pocket and found wide receiver Trey Franks in the right corner of the end zone.
“I really felt good at half that it was only 12-0,” Stoops said. “We came out in the third quarter and played well.”
But in three chances, they never quite could take the lead.
The closest of those was a fake field goal pass attempt from the 32-yard line that holder and third string quarterback John Nimmo placed perfectly out there but tight end James Hanna dropped.
“We had another opportunity with the fake field goal,” Stoops said. “And, you know, those guys are good kids. They play hard. It just wasn’t meant to be on that, and I thought that was a big momentum switch right there.”
A couple minutes later, running back Cyrus Gray cashed in a momentum-changing 23-yard touchdown run to make it 26-17.
Tannehill connected with wide receiver Ryan Swope for a 64-yard two minutes after that to boost the lead to 33-17.
“At the end of the game it was a couple score game and we just didn’t make them work for it,” said defensive coordinator Brent Venables. “That’s what was frustrating, basic fundamental breakdowns gave them huge chunks of yards, field position, points and momentum when it counted the most.”
The Sooners blocked a late punt, cutting the deficit to 33-19, but they couldn’t score from the 2-yard line on fourth-and-goal on the ensuing possession, the third such time they were stopped there on the day.
Just like the Missouri game, the Sooners shot themselves in the foot early in the contest.
After running back DeMarco Murray picked up a personal foul penalty on the opening kickoff, center Ben Habern snapped the first play from scrimmage past quarterback Landry Jones and into the end zone for a safety and 2-0 A&M lead.
Minutes later, the Aggies grabbed a two-score lead as quarterback Ryan Tannehill hit tight end Hutson Prioleau for a 1-yard touchdown pass and 9-0 advantage.
That’s when it became a defensive struggle, in large part because OU couldn’t punch it in with four opportunities inside the A&M 4-yard line, including a pair of plays inside the one, early in the second quarter.
“They just stopped us on the goal line,” Jones said of the three times it happened on the day. “We expect to score every time we get the ball. Once you get down there and they stuff you there’s not much you can do about it.”
OU had another chance inside the 25-yard line but threw a screen pass for a loss, and Jones was sacked a play later, taking them out of field goal range.
A&M added a 27-yard field goal late in the half to grab a double digit lead at intermission.
It marked the first time since the Iowa State game in 2007 that the Sooners were shutout in the first 30 minutes.
The Sooners were outgained by the Aggies 382-362 but had 29 first downs to only 17 for A&M.
Jones finished the day 36-of-59 for 290 yards and a touchdown, with an interception, while the Aggies’ Tannehill was 19-for-32 for 225 yards and two touchdowns along with two picks.
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