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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Football set to Maroon Out Tech

 
 

Some Texas A&M fans hesitate to call the football team’s relationship with the Texas Tech Red Raiders a rivalry: It seems like stooping to a lower level. It’s as if Aggies don’t want to give their good friends in Lubbock the satisfaction of labeling it as such.
After years of overlooking the Red Raiders, the Aggies have found themselves in a perennial dogfight against them. The matchup over the past decade has been decidedly one-sided, with Tech taking seven of the past nine, and the past three consecutively.
To say nothing of the bitter enmity between the fans and players, this game has heavy bowl implications. Analysts have the winner of the game pegged to go to the Cotton or Holiday Bowl and the loser headed to sunny San Antonio for the Alamo Bowl.
Don Williams, sports writer for the Lubbock Avalanche Journal, said the Twelfth Man will play a big part in determining the winner Saturday.
“A lot will depend on Tech’s poise in that environment,” Williams said. “Those fans are always pumped up, and they might feel like they owe Tech a few.”
Williams said the Red Raiders will be without the services of their most experienced receiver in senior Nehemiah Glover. Glover, who injured his foot against Kansas State two weeks ago, torched the Aggies in 2003, hauling in six passes for 97 yards and three touchdowns.
Williams said pass-catching tight end Bristol Olomua, who has been banged up of late, will most likely play.
Adding to the Red Raiders’ woes, Williams said, is their struggle against dual-threat quarterbacks. They failed utterly to contain Texas quarterback Vince Young, who ran for 158 yards and passed for another 142 in a 51-21 rout.
“Being at home, trying to end this losing streak, I’d think the Aggies would be even more fired up,” Williams said. “Given that (Tech is) on the road, I’d take the Aggies by a touchdown or so.”
On the Aggies’ side, the most obvious problem will be dealing with Tech’s high-octane offense, led by senior quarterback Sonny Cumbie. The Red Raiders average just more than 40 points a game this year, but are only 26 away from the friendly confines of SBC Jones stadium.
“Tech’s great third and fourth quarter success may be based on the fact that they have so many great receivers and weapons,” said A&M head coach Dennis Franchione. “They just keep coming at you.”
The Dallas Morning News’ Rachel Cohen said Saturday’s game will go as the season has gone: with the turnover margin.
“The turnover margin is key,” Cohen said. “A&M has had major issues when they haven’t won the turnover battle.”
Tech had A&M’s number in the past decade. Something quirky always seems to happen, whether it’s a Zach Thomas interception return for the winning touchdown with 23 seconds left (1995), a 47-yard winning field goal bouncing off the crossbar (1997) or missed extra points (2002) that decide the final outcome.
The game, which will be televised on ABC at 2:30 p.m, will be nothing if not entertaining if it follows in the form of past games, something Tech head coach Mike Leach recognizes.
“The Texas Tech-A&M rivalry is and will always be a great game,” he said.

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