October 24, 2009
Texas A&M 52, Texas Tech 30. Two weeks ago, Texas Tech shredded Kansas State, 66-14, behind an eye-popping seven-touchdown performance by a backup quarterback in his first career start. Last week, K-State rebounded by handing Texas A&M the single most humiliating loss of the season, maybe of the last several seasons, a 62-14 butchering that could have been much worse if the Wildcats hadn't taken their foot off the pedal with a 59-0 lead five minutes into the third quarter. When A&M and Tech hooked up tonight in Lubbock, transitive property said the Red Raiders might win by a hundred; Vegas put the line at 22.
Obviously, the Big 12 laughs in the face of the transitive property, Vegas, history and the fundamental notion of a rational universe capable of logically sustaining a fixed belief system.
A&M's four first half touchdowns all came on drives of at least 70 yards, more than they gained in the entire first half last week in Manhattan. Two different A&M backs, Cyrus Gray and Christine Michael, went over 120 yards rushing, with another 70 on the ground from quarterback Jerrod Johnson; the trio combined for six touchdowns against a team that had beaten the Aggies seven of the last eight years by an average of 16 points, and by an average of 28 points in four consecutive A&M losses in Lubbock.
I don't know what Mike Sherman did this week, or what he said to his team, or how he protected himself en route from his office to his car, or if he could even start his car without sending out a freshman equipment manger to turn the key first. But this is the most bizarre, unbelievable week-to-week turnaround I can recall since ... well, since three weeks ago, when UTEP scored more points against unbeaten Houston than it had gained in total yards the previous week at Texas. The fact remains, though, that I was certain that the Aggies had quit on Sherman, and that his tenure was on the slow crawl toward oblivion, gasping with each step on the way to collapsing in front of death's door. Tonight they're just another 4-3 mediocrity scrapping for a bowl bid. What a difference a week makes.