No. 7 Cowboys look for 4 in row vs No. 8 Texas A&M
When No. 7 Oklahoma State meets eighth-ranked Texas A&M on
Saturday, it will be the first Top 10 matchup at Kyle Field since
Texas A&M coach Mike Sherman couldn’t believe it had been
”That’s news to me,” he said. ”That seems like it’s a little
long of a wait obviously.”
After such an extended drought, the high stakes game featuring a
pair of powerful offenses, who are combining for almost 1,100 yards
a game is sure to be shootout. Right?
Not so fast, says Sherman.
”Whenever you say that, you always put a whammy on the game,”
he said. ”It’ll be a defensive struggle, you watch. The defense
will take over whenever you say that. I would say both defenses
will rise to the occasion.”
One thing the Aggies know they can count on is a sellout crowd.
Texas A&M had more than 86,000 fans at each of its first two
games and expects an even larger – and louder – crowd this
The Aggies are hoping to surpass the record crowd of 90,079 that
packed the stadium for last year’s 9-6 win over Nebraska.
”I think back to last year’s Nebraska game. That’s my absolute
anticipation for what’s going to happen this week,” Aggies
defensive coordinator Tim DeRuyter said. ”Just the feel of our
first two games, when we’re playing two non-conference opponents
that in years past people thought ho-hum, and we had unbelievable
crowds. This being our first league game, I fully anticipate it’s
going to be one of those. I get goose bumps just thinking about
Oklahoma State’s coaching staff is working to get the team ready
for the noise, but Cowboys’ receiver Tracy Moore says ”there’s not
a whole lot we can do to prepare for an environment like
Cowboys’ defensive coordinator Bill Young agreed.
”That’s a heck of a place to play, there’s no doubt about it,”
he said. ”They march the Corps in there and their crowd gets
behind the team. It’s a tough place and we have to get ready for
The Cowboys have won three in a row against Texas A&M and
six straight overall on the road, but have never won consecutive
games in College Station. Both teams were undefeated last year when
they opened Big 12 play against one another.
The Cowboys got a 38-35 win last season largely because of five
turnovers by A&M quarterback Jerrod Johnson, including an
interception in the last seconds that led to the winning field
That was the start of a three-game losing streak which spurred
Sherman into benching the mistake-prone Johnson, a senior, in favor
of Ryan Tannehill.
After Johnson’s performance against them last year, the Cowboys
see the obvious difference with Tannehill in charge.
”They cut down on their turnovers. They had a ton of turnovers
with their previous quarterback,” Young said. ”Not all of them
were his fault; some of it was bad luck. But Tannehill is an
excellent quarterback, he throws the ball well, moves around the
pocket and they’ve got a great group of receivers and running backs
to help him out.”
DeRuyter joked that preparing for Oklahoma State’s offense is
”not fun at all.” He said the process is made easier by his
defense practicing against Texas A&M’s first team offense in
”They go up tempo, very similar to what Oklahoma State does,”
DeRuyter said of the Aggies. ”We’ve got some weapons to go against
to kind of compare to what they have. Getting the chance to compete
against our guys, if we can have success against our guys we have
the confidence we can effectively compete against a team like
Of course the opposite is also true, and Oklahoma State
cornerback Devin Hedgepeth said competing against star receiver
Justin Blackmon in practice each day will have him ready to deal
with Texas A&M’s Jeff Fuller.
”It’s great preparation,” Hedgepeth said. ”Justin has the
size and speed, so basically any receiver we need to prepare for,
Justin is a great preparation.”
The Cowboys are happy to have an afternoon kickoff against the
Aggies after their scheduled night game last week against Tulsa
didn’t start until 12:16 a.m. and ended at 3:35 a.m. because of
They’ve rested up since that 59-33 win and are looking forward
to what could be the last conference meeting with Texas A&M.
The Aggies are likely to be in the Southeastern Conference next
”Kyle Field is obviously a fun place to play and it’s just
exciting to start Big 12 play,” quarterback Brandon Weeden said.
”Also the fact that A&M might not be in our conference anymore
adds another element to the whole deal.”