This game marked the 113th meeting between Texas and the Texas Aggies in college football and the game is part of a multi-sport rivalry call the Lone Star Showdown. It is the Longhorns' longest-running rivaly and Texas led the series 73–34–5, including the last six in a row. During the week before the game, the Longhorns conducted their traditional Hex Rally while the Aggies had an off-campus version of their traditional Bonfire and also staged a parade just prior to the game. The Longhorns announced that starting quarterback Colt McCoy, who was injured in the game against Kansas State, was cleared to play the game against the Aggies.
Since the series began in 1894 it has traditionally played on Thanksgiving Day or Thanksgiving weekend. The 2006 game marked the thirteenth straight game to be scheduled the day after Thanksgiving. On Thanksgiving Day (one day prior to the game), the sports line in Vegas casinos had Texas favored by 13 to 13½ points while the weather forecast called for mostly sunny skies, a high near 81 °F (27 °C), and winds up to 15 miles per hour (24 km/h) from the South. The 2006 meeting was the first time in eight years that both teams entered the game with at least eight wins coming into the match-up. Going back to 1999 when UT lost the final three games of the season, the Longhorns had gone 87 games without losing back-to-back games. That was the longest active streak for any college or professional football team.
During 2006, the Texas A&M defensive coordinator was Gary Darnell who had been fired as defensive coordinator at the University of Texas under John Mackovic.
For the third time during the season, the pre-game activities consisted of a military flyby. Unlike the first two, which featured jets, this one was performed by AH-1 Cobra helicopters from the Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron HMLA-773 from Atlanta. Texas A&M won the coin toss and deferred, Texas elected to receive, and Texas A&M chose to defend the south end-zone. Kick-off was delayed while ABC side-line reporter Stacey Dales did her pre-game report from the north end-zone. Soccer star Mia Hamm was spotted in the audience rooting for Texas.
Texas's first drive of the game ended when Henry Melton was stopped on a fourth-and-one run at the Aggie eight-yard (7 m) line. The Aggies drove the ball the length of the field to score a touchdown, but missed on the extra point to leave the game at 6–0.
With about four minutes to play in the first half, McCoy connected with Limas Sweed for an apparent five-yard (5 m) touchdown pass. However, Sweed was flagged for a "questionable" pass interference call. According to the Austin American-Statesman, the refs "blew the call" as replays showed that both players were involved in some "hand checking while the ball was in the air, but neither player appeared to push or be guilty of interference". All three broadcasters working the game for ABC also spoke out against the penalty call. In an ABC half-time interview, Mack Brown said “I thought it was a bad call,” but added “There’s nothing we can do about that. We should’ve done a better job on third down.”
Immediately after the penalty, Colt McCoy threw an interception near the Texas A&M goal line and the Aggies were able to run out the clock to take the 6–0 lead into half-time. The zero score marked the first time the Longhorns had been held scoreless in the first half of play since the 2004 season.
The only score in the third quarter was a rushing touchdown by Jamaal Charles, his seventh of the season.
In the fourth quarter, Texas A&M made a long-drive that took up nearly nine minutes. Texas A&M quarterback Stephen McGee had taken so many hard hits that he was throwing up during the game, but he managed to make an 8-yard (7.3 m) touchdown run with 2:32 left to play. A&M was unable to convert their two-point attempt after the touchdown.
With 1:21 seconds left in the game and Texas trailing 12–7, McCoy threw his third interception of the game. Following the change of possession and sometime near the whistle signalling the end of the play on the field, Aggie Kellen Heard knocked McCoy to the ground as McCoy walked along the field unbuckling his chin strap. Heard was ejected from the game as a result of the "cheap-shot late hit" and the Aggies were penalized fifteen yards (14 m). McCoy was later quoted as saying that the tackle had not been a cheap shot. Texas A&M's coach Dennis Franchione later apologized for what he called a "late hit" saying "We do not teach this type of play or condone it." Texas held the Aggies to three-and-out and used all three of their time-outs in order to preserve game time. Texas got the ball back with 48 seconds left in the game.
With 20 seconds remaining in the game, Colt was injured by a "vicious, stadium hushing tackle" as Aggies defensive end Michael Bennett connected with his helmet under McCoy's jaw just as McCoy released a pass. Replays showed both on television and in the stadium revealed the hit included "helmet-to-helmet" contact which, if intentional, is illegal in NCAA football. No flag was thrown on the play. When the replay was shown in the stadium, the Longhorn fans erupted in boos before lapsing back into silence as McCoy lay on the ground for 10 minutes before being taken off the field on a cart. Mack Brown said after the game "I didn't see it, but it sounded like 88,000 (fans) thought it was dirty." Fellow Longhorn Selvin Young said he thought the hit was clean calling it a "textbook hit". McCoy was taken to Brackenridge Hospital where he spent more than three hours undergoing an evaluation that included an X-Ray, MRI, and a CAT scan. Longhorns trainer Kenny Boyd said the injury was a severe pinched nerve in McCoy's neck. Boyd said that McCoy was expected to make a full recovery, but no timetable was set for McCoy to return to play. Months later, the Big 12 announced that their officials failed to make the correct call and that a late hit penalty should have been called against A&M's Michael Bennett. Colt McCoy, in a November 2007 interview, stated that neither this nor the earlier Heard tackle had been cheap shots.
Following the injury to McCoy, back-up quarterback Jevan Snead threw an interception on his first play of the game. With the clock rolling on the change of possession, time expired without the Aggies needing to take a play.
The Aggies amassed 244 rushing yards against the nation's top-ranked rushing defense. Texas, normally a potent running team, produced only four rushing first downs and did not have a single run longer than nine yards (8 m). Jamaal Charles, in a later interview, stated "We were looking weak. We thought they'd let up because we're Texas." The 12–7 victory was the first time for the Aggies to win in Austin in 12 years. "They shattered all our dreams," declared Longhorn defensive end Brian Orakpo. The game was the 40th consecutive home sell-out for the Longhorns and Justin Blalock became the first player in Texas history to start 50 consecutive game.
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Famous quotes containing the word texas:
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