Orangebloods - Horns take care of business, hammer AM 26-13
football Edit

Horns take care of business, hammer AM 26-13

AUSTIN – It is now officially out of their hands. It is now up to games yet to be played, to the computers, and to the pollsters around the country.
The No. 5 ranked University of Texas Longhorns did its part on Friday afternoon in the State Farm Lone Star Showdown, rallying from a halftime deficit for the third straight game, defeating No. 22 Texas A&M, 26-13, in front of 83,891 fans at Darrel K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium, the third largest crowd in school history.
With the win, the Longhorns finish the regular season at 10-1 (7-1 Big 12), while the Aggies fall to 7-4 (5-3 Big 12). And UT kept its hopes for a BCS bid alive as they await results from other games with BCS implications, and how those results affect both the BCS computers and poll voters.
The Longhorns got big efforts from all three units – offense, defense, and special teams – especially in the second half when Texas rallied for the win.
Senior running back Cedric Benson, playing his final home game, led the Longhorns on offense, carrying the ball 33 times for 165 yards and a touchdown, while sophomore quarterback Vince Young also scored, while rushing for 93 yards on 19 carries.
Defensively, the UT defense allowed only one offensive touchdown, and swarmed Texas A&M junior quarterback Reggie McNeal, sacking him eight times, and holding the Aggies to 94 total yards of offense in the second half,
And despite missing a pair of extra points, the first misses of his career, UT senior kicker Dusty Mangum came up big when it mattered, drilling a pair of third quarter field goals to break a 13-13 tie, giving UT a 19-13 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
Which is fitting because it was the Texas special teams that helped UT tie this game just after halftime with its second blocked kick of the game.
Trailing 13-6, UT's defense forced a three-and-out from the Aggies on the first possession of the second half. Longhorn sophomore Michael Griffin blocked a punt by the Aggies' Jacob Young and in the scrum for the ball, freshman safety Bobby Tatum recovered the ball in the end zone for the Texas touchdown.
Due to a bad snap, Mangum missed his second extra point of the game, but UT would still tie the game. Off of the missed kick, Texas A&M recovered the ball, but fumbled into the end zone where the Aggies were tackled, giving UT a rare one-point safety, tying the game at 13 just over a minute into the second half.
The Texas defense maintained the momentum on the next series, forcing another A&M punt. Even though Young kicked it cleanly, the wind knocked it down, giving the Longhorns its first possession of the second half at its own 43.
Sticking mainly to the ground, the Longhorns moved 30 yards on nine plays, before the drive stalled at the A&M 27. Kicking with the wind, Mangum drilled a line drive 44-yard field goal to give UT the 16-13 lead with 6:36 left in the third.
The Aggies' offense picked up its play on the next possession, driving into Texas territory before the Longhorns' D stiffened, sacking McNeal on fourth down at the Longhorn 41.
The Texas offense would put another short drive that resulted in a field goal, as Mangum connected from 52 yards out, giving UT the 19-13 lead with 1:22 left in the third.
After another defensive stop by Texas on the next Aggies' drive, the UT offense decided it would not be denied a touchdown. The Longhorns marched 89 yards on 11 plays, chewing up 4:39 on the clock, with Benson scoring from one yard out, giving UT the 26-13 lead with 8:57 left to play, which would stay the same until the final whistle.
Both teams learned early on that a gusting wind would play a big part in the game, either hurting or helping depending upon which way you were going.
After stopping the Aggies on a fourth-and-seven, Texas took over at its own 35, and facing a stiff wind, the Longhorns decided to stick to the ground game for its second possession. The decision proved to be a correct one, as Texas chewed up both yards (14-plays, 65 yards) and the clock (6:53) on its way into the end zone.
Benson logged nine carries for 47 yards on the drive, including a key 22-yard run on third-and-four, on which the senior dragged a pair of Aggie defenders down to the A&M 16. Five plays later, Young scored from three yards out on an option keeper on third-and-goal. Mangum missed the extra point wide left and the Longhorn lead remained 6-0 with 2:34 left in the first.
The Aggies, though, responded quickly as McNeal led a seven-play, 67-yard scoring drive that took only 1:48 to complete. The junior quarterback kept the drive alive on a third-and-18, finding junior wide receiver L'Tydrick Riley for a 21-yard completion down to the Texas 42.
Two plays later, McNeal threw a 33-yard dart down the seam to a diving DeQawn Mobley, another junior wideout, in the end zone. UT linebacker Derrick Johnson, another senior capping a record-breaking career, blocked the PAT attempt by A&M's Todd Pegram to keep the score tied at six with 46 seconds left in the first.
After forcing UT to punt on its next possession, the Aggies marched down the field again, again mainly through the air, only to have its drive stall at the UT 14. Pegram's 31-yard field goal attempt was blown left by the wind and the score remained tied until just before halftime.
With the game tied at six midway through the second half, Texas went on an extended drive, using its power running game mixed in some short passes. Starting from its own 11, the Longhorns drove 87 yards on 16 plays, with Benson converting a fourth-and-four in Aggie territory, his extra effort on a short pass from Young leading to a drive-sustaining first down.
The Longhorns kept driving forward, pushing inside the five on a 15-yard draw up the middle by Young on third-and-four. Two plays later though, disaster struck for the Longhorns.
Attempting to leap in from the one, Young was reaching for the goal line when the ball was knocked loose by A&M junior linebacker Justin Warren. Aggie senior cornerback Jonte' Buhl picked up the loose ball, and raced untouched into the end zone for a 98-yard touchdown, giving A&M a 13-6 lead with just 10 seconds left before the half.
Once again, though, the Longhorns found whatever answers they needed to have after halftime. And soon, they will also have the answers to their postseason fate as well.