The 2012-2013 Bowl Blitz Invitational presented by STAT BOX STORIES continues with the AT&T Cotton Bowl, which matches up the #9 Texas A&M Aggies (10-2, 6-2 SEC) and #11 Oklahoma Sooners (10-2, 8-1 Big 12). STAT BOX STORIES owner Brian Parker took control of one of the newest members of the SEC in Texas A&M, aiming to show the Big 12 that the Aggies were in fact ready to move on to arguably the toughest conference in college football.
Aggies throw for 500 yards to outlast Sooners, 52-42, in AT&T Cotton Bowl
Arlington, T.X. – As soon as the combatants for the AT&T Cotton Bowl were announced, nearly every college football fan circled the date on their calendar to be sure to see the first game between Texas A&M and Oklahoma since the Aggies departure from the Big 12 for the SEC. The match-up of old conference rivals promised to be one of the marquee meetings of the Bowl Season, and the game delivered on those lofty expectations.
The Aggies got on the board first courtesy of a 19-yard touchdown pass from QB #2 to WR #5 with 3:20 remaining in the first quarter. The 7-0 lead was short-lived, as Oklahoma’s fast-paced offense scored on a 23-yard pass from QB #12 to WR #39 just 31 seconds later to tie the game.
The second quarter belonged almost exclusively to Texas A&M, beginning with a 33-yard interception return by SS #21 to go up 14-7. With 1:43 remaining in the first half, QB #2 scored on a 1-yard run to put the Aggies up by two touchdowns. When Oklahoma’s offense stalled late in the second quarter, the Aggies got the ball back and wasted little time scoring on a 67-yard pass from QB #2 to WR #7 with 45 seconds left to take a 28-7 lead into the halftime break.
For as one-sided as the second quarter was, the third quarter was nearly as one-sided in the opposite direction. Oklahoma scored just 33 seconds into the second half when QB #12 hooked up with WR #4 on a 64-yard touchdown pass to cut the lead to 28-14. The excitement on the Sooners sideline was soured when the ensuing kickoff was fielded five yards into the end zone by Texas A&M WR #25 and returned 105 yards for a touchdown and a return to the 21-point lead.
Oklahoma’s next drive was successful, resulting in a 4-yard run by HB #24 with 4:25 remaining in the quarter to cut the lead down to 14 points again. Just over a minute later, the Sooners defense came up big with a 40-yard interception return for a touchdown by CB #14, trimming the lead to a single touchdown.
In the fourth quarter, Texas A&M opened the scoring with an 8-yard pass from QB #2 to WR #13 to push the lead back to 14 points. The Aggies kept up a strong offense, scoring just over a minute later on a 61-yard pass from QB #2 to WR #25 for a 21-point lead.
Fifty-nine seconds later, Oklahoma scored on a 7-yard run by HB #8 to again narrow the margin and fight back into the game. Texas A&M stalled on offense and the Sooners were able to drive and score on a 5-yard pass from QB #12 to HB #8 with 1:08 remaining in the game, once more narrowing the Aggies’ lead to 7 points. The ensuing onside kick attempt by Oklahoma was recovered by Texas A&M, and despite the Sooners having all three of their timeouts remaining, they were unable to stop the Aggies before they got into makeable field goal range to extend the lead to 10 points.
Oklahoma’s next play on the ensuing possession was a necessary deep throw by QB #12, and the forced pass was intercepted by the Aggies to allow Texas A&M to close out the game and earn the victory over their former conference rivals, prevailing on a national Bowl Game stage.
Player of the Game: Texas A&M WR #25, who caught 7 passes for 253 yards and a touchdown and also returned 4 kickoffs for 183 yards, including a 105-yard kickoff return touchdown. His average kickoff return went for 45.7 yards, helping the Aggies stay in good field position.
It was over when… Texas A&M recovered Oklahoma’s onside kick attempt with 1:09 remaining in the game. Though the Sooners forced Texas A&M to give the ball back after a field goal, Oklahoma QB #12 was then intercepted on his first deep pass attempt.
Game Ball goes to… Oklahoma HB #8, who rushed 17 times for 153 yards and a touchdown; he averaged 9 yards-per-carry and had a long run of 48 yards for the game.
Stat of the Game: 500. Texas A&M QB #2 completed 23 of 36 passing attempts for 500 yards and four touchdowns, including a long pass of 67 yards.
Statistical Tidbits: Despite having six more rushing attempts, the Aggies were outgained by Oklahoma on the ground, 180-135. The Sooners had 2 rushing touchdowns to Texas A&M’s one. … Texas A&M completed 2 fewer passes than Oklahoma (23 to 25), but they threw for 146 yards more (500 to 354) in a big game for QB #2. … The Aggies attempted two fourth down conversions, but they only converted one of them. … Texas A&M had seven trips inside the red zone, but only came away with four scores (3 touchdowns, 1 field goal). The Sooners had four trips inside the Aggies’ 20-yard-line, scoring three touchdowns. … The Aggies threw three interceptions, while Oklahoma lost two fumbles and threw two interceptions. Both defenses scored on an interception return for touchdown. … The Aggies had 184 kickoff return yards, while Oklahoma did not return a single kickoff due to touchbacks. … Each team was flagged 6 times; Texas A&M had 42 penalty yards, while the Sooners had 44 penalty yards.