2005 Texas vs. Texas A&M football game
|Lone Star Showdown – (112th meeting)|
|Location||College Station, Texas|
The 2005 Texas vs. Texas A&M football game, played November 25, 2005, was the 112th meeting between the University of Texas and Texas A&M University in a college football game. Texas came into the game ranked number 2 in the nation while Texas A&M was unranked.
It was the eleventh game of the 2005 season and the final regular-season game for both teams. Texas had a 10–0 record; Texas A&M was 5–5. For Texas, a win would make them sole winner of the Big 12 South division and they would go on to play in the Big 12 Conference Championship. With a loss, they still would play for the conference championship but it would have jeopardized their goal of ultimately playing in the BCS National Championship Game. The Aggies needed a win to have a winning record on the season and to be bowl eligible.
The 2005 Texas Longhorns football team was coached by Mack Brown and led on the field by quarterback Vince Young. The Texas A&M Aggies were coached by Dennis Franchione. Stephen McGee led the Aggies as quarterback due to an injury to starting-quarterback Reggie McNeal.
The game drew a stadium crowd of 86,616 and the game was televised nationally on ABC. The contest was a back-and-forth affair which was ultimately won by Texas, 40–29. Although Texas won, it turned out to be the poorest performance of the season by the Longhorns, both offensively and defensively; the game also damaged the Heisman Trophy hopes of Vince Young. For Texas A&M, the loss capped a 5–6 losing season and made them ineligible for a post-season bowl.
Lone Star Showdown
This game marked the 112th meeting between Texas and the Texas A&M Aggies and the annual football game is part of a multi-sport rivalry called the Lone Star Showdown. It is the longest-running rivalry for the Longhorns and Aggies and it is also one of the ten most-played rivalries in college football. Texas came into the 2005 contest with a 72–34–5 record, including victories in the last five meetings. During the week before the game, the Longhorns conducted their traditional Hex Rally. As a result of a tragic accident in 1999, the Aggies could not host a school sponsored version of their traditional Bonfire but an unofficial version called "Student Bonfire" was held.
Since the series began in 1894 it has traditionally played on Thanksgiving Day or Thanksgiving weekend. The 2005 game marked the twelfth straight game to be scheduled the day after Thanksgiving.
Leading into the 2005 game
Like the Longhorns' contest against Missouri earlier in the season, the Texas A&M game was touted as showcasing two–of the best dual-threat quarterbacks playing in college football. However, Texas A&M's dual-threat quarterback Reggie McNeal missed the game due to an ankle injury; instead, freshman quarterback Stephen McGee made his first start.
It was the eleventh game of the 2005 season and the final regular-season game for both teams. Texas came into the game with a 10–win, 0–loss record and Texas A&M was 5 and 5. For Texas, a win would make them sole winner of the Big 12 South division and they would go on to play in the Big 12 Conference Championship. With a loss, they still would play for the conference championship but their goal of them playing in the BCS National Championship Game would be jeopardized. The Aggies needed a win to have a winning record on the season and to be bowl eligible. The game was played at the Texas A&M campus in College Station. The apparent mismatch in abilities between the two teams, coupled with the injury to McNeal, led to a sober pre-game mood for the Aggies.
UT won the coin toss and decided to kick off. The Aggies took a touchback and started on their own 20 yard line. Stephen McGee kept the ball himself for an eight yard gain on first down; he followed this with a ten yard gain on second down. The next two plays were also running plays: two yards by Jorvorskie Lane and ten yards by Courtney Lewis, to bring the ball to mid-field. Lane rushed again for six yards followed by a ten yard run by Lewis. On 2nd and four on the UT 44 yard line McGee attempted his first pass (intended for DeQwan Mobley) but it was incomplete. Both teams were called with personal foul penalties on the play. McGee threw another pass and an A&M penalty was declined by Texas to bring up fourth down fourth down. Justin Brantly's punt went into the end zone for a touchback.
The Longhorns began their drive with a two yard rush by Vince Young. He followed this with a 24 yard pass to tight end David Thomas. Ramonce Taylor then lost two yards on a running play and Vince Young made five yards on 2nd and twelve. One 3rd and seven, Young's pass to Billy Pittman fell incomplete. This led to Richmond McGee punting the ball to the Texas A&M 13 where Todd Pegram made a fair catch. On A&M's second possession McGee rushed twice (−4 yards, +2 yards) then threw an interception to UT's Drew Kelson. Young's first down pass to Billy Pittman was incomplete. Ramonce Taylor rushed for five yards to the A&M 12 and a penalty against the Aggies moved the ball to the eight yard line. Henry Melton punched in the touchdown and the extra point by David Pino gave Texas a seven point lead.
The Aggies were not able to gain a first down and after their punt the Longhorns had the ball around mid-field. They mounted a seven play, 48 yard drive culminating in a five yard Ramonce Taylor touchdown run. Texas A&M answered with a scoring drive of their own: 12 plays, 67 yards, and three points from a Todd Pegram field goal. This made the score Texas 14, Texas A&M 3.
Texas got the ball on their own 35 and Vince Young immediately through a pass that was picked off my Melvin Bullitt near mid-field, with a return to the UT 35. Texas A&M ran a trick play by having running back Jorvorsky Lane throw the ball to Jason Carter for a touchdown. According to the Associated Press, the touchdown "whipped the crowd of 86,617 into a frenzy as the Aggie fans waved their white 12th Man Towels." They tried to follow this by a trick two-point conversion but Todd Pegram's pass was intercepted by UT's Brian Robison to leave the score at UT 14, TAMU 9. Texas got the ball at their 33 and ran only one play for a slight loss before time expired in the first quarter.
Beginning the second quarter with 2nd and 13 at his own team's 30 yard line, Vince Young threw one incomplete pass to Quan Cosby and then a 21 yard completion, also to Cosby. Billy Pittman ran for nine yards and this was followed by a six yard loss by Ramonce Taylor. On third and seven Vince Young was unable to connect with Limas Sweed and so Richmond McGee came in to punt again. Texas A&M got the ball on their 15 yard line and advanced the 85 yards in seven plays and just under four minutes of game clock. They scored on a Brandon Leone touchdown run but the attempt by Jorvorskie Lane at rushing for the two-point conversion failed and the resulting score was Texas 14, Texas A&M 15.
An Unsportsmanlike conduct penalty against Brandon Leone and a 21 yard return by Ramonce Taylor gave the Longhorns good field position at their own 46 yard line, but Jamaal Charles immediately gave the ball up to the Aggies on a fumble. The Texas defense sacked McGee on the next series and the Aggies were unable to gain sufficient yardage for a first down so they punted the ball away. This time, Texas moved the ball quickly; they advanced 77 yards in just seven plays and less than three minutes. Their touchdown and extra point made the score UT 21, A&M 15. The Aggies drove back to the UT 34 and attempted a field goal but it fell short of the goal posts. The Longhorns were able to run two plays (an incomplete pass and a sack of Vince Young) before time expired in the half. The score at half time was Texas 21, Texas A&M 15.
UT got the ball to start the second half; according to The Daily Texan, the quarter started out "like a nightmare" for the Longhorns. On their third play, Vince Young was sacked and fumbled the ball, which was recovered by A&M. Stephen McGee kept the ball himself for two straight rushing plays and a touchdown. The extra point gave the Aggies the lead again: 22–21.
Young threw two short pass completions to Limas Sweed and Texas was able to reach midfield. Henry Melton was just inches short of converting a third-and-three situation and the team faced fourth down. Brown called a fake punt and the snap went to linebacker Rashad Bobino. Bobino rushed six yards straight up the middle to keep the drive alive, and a face mask penalty against the Aggies tacked on more yardage to put the ball at the A&M 23-yard line. Speaking of the fake punt, Brown said, "We prepared that each week. But we've been running the ball and moving the ball so well that we haven't used it [previously in the season]." On first down, Young threw a nine-yard completion to receiver Quan Cosby. This led to a Ramonce Taylor touchdown 10 plays, 80 yards, 4:21 minutes after the drive began. After the extra point the Horns were leading 28–22.
Texas A&M was not able to get a first down so they attempted to punt; but Justin Brantley's kick was blocked by Cedric Griffin and he ran it the eleven yards for a touchdown. The extra point was no good, so the score was Texas 34, Texas A&M 22. A&M came right back with an eight play drive to make it a five point game; the third quarter ended with the Longhorns on offense and the score at 34–29 in favor of the Longhorns.
Texas settled for a field goal to start the fourth quarter. This extended their lead to eight points. The Aggies mounted another long drive (9 plays, 67 yards, 05:13 in time of possession) and advanced to the UT 10 but McGee fumbled the ball over to Texas. Texas drove the ball to their 45 yard line but their drive stalled and they punted the ball. A&M's Carpenter fumbled and UT took over at the A&M 23. They were only able to advance to the 16 yard line and then they attempted a field goal; but Pino's kick was wide right and the Aggies got the ball back on their 20. Their drive resulted in a punt back to Texas. The Horns moved down to the A&M 12 before again being stopped by the Aggie defense. Once again they sent in David Pino for a field goal and this time the kick was good, making the score Texas 40, Texas A&M 29 with 2:22 left in the game.
The Aggies got the ball on their 23 and made it as far as the 30 before being pushed back to their 28. They turned the ball over on downs. Texas took a knee three times to end the game. The final score was Texas 40, Texas A&M 29.
The game was the poorest performance of the season by the Longhorns, both offensively and defensively. On offense, Vince Young had only 162 yards of offense, his lowest output of the season. The Associated Press remarked on the poor performance and said that Young, considered one of the nation's best quarterbacks and a Heisman trophy candidate coming into the game, was not even the best quarterback on the field that day. The Daily Texan predicted that the game could hurt Young's chances for the Heisman, but they also quoted UT head coach Mack Brown as saying "Looking at the numbers from what Reggie Bush did last week and Vince did today, Reggie probably leads, but next week, Vince plays at noon, and Reggie at 3, so I think voters will wait and watch to see what happens."
UT running backs Henry Melton and Ramonce Taylor also came in for criticism. Taylor was criticized for running backwards and sideways in an effort to gain yards, instead of moving ahead and breaking tackles. The Daily Texan observed "Five of Taylor's 15 carries resulted in a loss or no gain for a total of minus-17 yards. However, the other 10 carries totaled 119 yards for an average of 11.9 yards per positive running play. The sophomore didn't have a positive gain of fewer than 5 yards and accumulated three runs of 20 yards or longer." Greg Davis, UT's offensive coordinator, said ""Ramonce is a darter. The only time that really concerned me was a third-and-two situation. We talked to him on the sideline about a little bit more down and distance awareness." Melton was criticized for "tiptoeing indecisively" and letting himself get tackled near the line of scrimmage.
On defense, the Longhorns held A&M to only 118 yards passing but gave up 277 yards rushing, which was the highest total given up by the Longhorns during the season. Despite the poor outing, Texas won by a final score of 40–29 to finish the regular season undefeated. The eleven point win was their second smallest margin of victory of the regular season and they lost points in all three major polls but still remained solidly in second place nationally. Gene Chizik, UT's defensive coordinator, said "This really is an eye-opening experience. Obviously, we've got to get better. But I'll tell you what, we're all going to drive home 11–0."
After the game
The Longhorns' penultimate victory of the season, in the Big 12 Championship Game, featured the biggest margin of victory in the history of that contest. Their ultimate victory in the 2006 Rose Bowl against the University of Southern California Trojans for the national championship, as well as their overall season, have both been cited as standing among the greatest performances in college football history by publications such as College Football News, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Scout.com, and Sports Illustrated. The Longhorns and the Trojans were together awarded the 2006 ESPY Award by ESPN for the "Best Game" in any sport. The Longhorns finished the season as the only unbeaten team, with 13 wins and zero losses overall.
The season gave Texas its second Big 12 football championship (27 conference championships total, including 25 in the Southwest Conference), and fourth consensus national championship in football. It was the ninth perfect season in the history of Longhorn football.
UT set numerous school and NCAA records, including most points scored in a season (652). After the season ended, six Longhorns from this championship team were selected by professional football teams in the 2006 NFL Draft.
With the loss, the Aggies ended up with a losing record for the regular season and consequently they were not bowl eligible. That meant that this game concluded the season for Texas A&M. However, their close defeat in 2005 was followed by an upset victory in 2006 as the 2006 Aggies defeated the 2006 Longhorns to snap a six-game losing streak.
Notes and references
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- Longhorns' Perfect Drive: Texas' 2005 National Championship Season Sports Publishing (January 15, 2006) ISBN 978-1-59670-116-8
- Sports Illustrated CFB Texas # Time Inc. Magazine Company (January 9, 2005) ISBN 978-1-58060-762-9
- Sports Illustrated College Football Championship Commemorative Issue 2006 The Time Inc. Magazine Company (January 6, 2006) ISBN 978-1-58060-758-2
- Texas Pride: Longhorn Glory Shines Through an Unforgettable Championship Season Triumph Books (January 31, 2006) ISBN 978-1-57243-876-7
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to 2005 Texas Longhorn football team.|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Lone Star Showdown.|
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: Texas Longhorns football|
- "Official website of UT football – 2005 National Champions". Retrieved December 12, 2006.
- "Official website of Texas A&M athletics". Archived from the original on 13 April 2007. Retrieved April 13, 2007.
- Thelonious Monkey. "The Horns Sound: 2005 Texas Longhorns Football Season Highlights Video" (WMV). Retrieved December 12, 2006.
- "Photo Gallery". Big 12 Conference. Archived from the original on November 6, 2006. Retrieved December 12, 2006.