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Open GameDay Thread: Texas at Texas A&M

Game 12: Texas at Texas A&M

Texas Longhorns (9-2, 5-2) at Texas A&M Aggies (6-5, 3-4)

Friday, November 23, 2007 · 2:30 p.m. CT

Kyle Field (82,600) · College Station, TX

Television: ABC

Radio: 98.1 FM / 1300 AM (Austin)

I hope everyone enjoyed their Thanksgivings and had a chance to spend time with family, friends, food, and football. Now, game day is here, and I'm especially grateful to have such a great community of fans to enjoy the 'Horns with. I didn't say so yesterday, but let me do so today: I'm deeply appreciative of everyone's support of late. From well wishes for my mother to birthday shout outs - I feel blessed. Thanks all.

And now, Friday, Texas retakes the field in an incredibly important game for this program. A win gets Texas to 6-2 in conference play, forcing Oklahoma to win on Saturday to win the South Division. A win also puts Texas in the clubhouse with 10 wins and solid position for BCS consideration.

So let's do this. I'm on record predicting a double-digit Texas win, and most burnt orange faithful I know expect the same. That optimism is entirely predicated on this team actually turning the corner we think it may have. Which is why this game is so important.

Finally, a few gameday items of interest to prep you for the clash in Kyle:

Click to enlarge
I'm sure you all remember how badly Texas struggled last season to get the Aggies off the field on third down during the embarrassing 12-7 loss in Austin. A&M converted 10 of their 16 third downs in 2006, including what seemed like 14 in a row during the game-winning drive in the fourth quarter. Texas, meanwhile, was successful in just 2 of their 9 third down tries.

Curious, I looked up the Longhorns' and Aggies' third down conversion rates for both 2006 and 2007, both on offense and defense. The Longhorns have improved significantly on offense, while remaining mediocre on defense. The Aggies, however, have suffered a marked decline in performance. Excellent on third down on both offense and defense in 2006, the Aggies have totally collapsed on defense in 2007, ranking 110th nationally in getting teams off the field on third down. Click the graphic on the right for a look at the chart showing each team's national ranking in third down efficiency over the past two seasons.

If you missed the series earlier this week: Setting the Stage for the Game / A Look at A&M / Texas Keys to Victory.

Kirk Bohls takes a very critical look at the Texas defense and asks: Can Duane Akina keep his job at this rate? Bohls goes so far as to note that "inside sources" indicate Akina's job is far from secure heading down the final stretch of games.

Barking Carnival provides an X's and O's breakdown of defending A&M's option attack.