Tech had a great chance to seize control of this game early in the third quarter. After an impressive drive for a touchdown, A&M fumbled the ensuing kickoff. Two plays later, with Tech having first down at the A&M 11, Graham Harrell completed a pass to Mike Crabtree but Crabtree lost the handle and Aggies DE Michael Bennett alertly picked it out of the air.
If Tech loses this one, that play -- and missed chance -- will loom large.
Well, there's one of those solid drives we talked at halftime about getting. Tech goes 77 yards in nine plays to climb back into the lead at 27-23. A 3-yard touchdown pass to Mike Crabtree, his second score of the day, is the payoff.
Tech got to the A&M 42, then got two big plays back to back: a 21-yard run from Baron Batch and an 18-yard pass to Tramain Swindall. Then it was Harrell to Crabtree and six points for the 34th time in the last 20 game.
At the half, it's Texas A&M 23, Tech 20. The Aggies have scored on five of their six possessions. That's the bad. The good is that A&M has had to settle for field goals three times. Otherwise, Tech would be in a world of trouble.
As it is, the Raiders have to get it together in the locker room and put together a good drive or two early in the second half. I figure this is the kind of half when Mike Leach and Graham Harrell are saying words to the effect of A&M hasn't stopped the Raiders; the Raiders have stopped themselves.
Tech goes 80 yards in eight plays to retake the lead at 20-16. Baron Batch got the touchdown on an 8-yard pass. Batch was so wide open he could have walked in.
Reason why was A&M blitzed off the edge, leaving the area that Batch swung into completely unaccounted for.
Working great, those blitzes.
Randy Bullock just kicked his third field goal of the game to put Texas A&M ahead 16-13 with 6:29 left in the first half. That came after a disastrous play in which Graham Harrell got pressured and lofted up a pass that got intercepted. The combination of safety Trent Fuller's return and a penalty on Shannon Woods gave A&M field position at the Tech 15. The defense held them out from there.
Told you I was skeptical of a Tech blowout in Kyle Field.
Tech defensive coordinator Ruffin McNeill told me this week he was going to throw some blitzes at A&M QB Jerrod Johnson. Well, we just saw two in three plays, and A&M beat them for passes of 15 and 44 yards.
On the first, Daniel Howard was coming up the middle from the joker rush position, and the Ags hit a pass a little deeper over the middle to convert a third-and-6. Two plays later, linebackers blitzed up the middle and Johnson dropped a pass right over them that Ryan Tannehill turned into a big gainer.
But, hey. Tech fans have been howling about a lack of blitzes.
On Friday, I joked on the radio that, in keeping with the theme of Tech football games in Aggieland, this one will be go down to the wire and have people sweating it out to the finish ... if they have money on the game.
The line's what, 21? 20 1/2?
So I'm picking Tech 42, A&M 21.
I know the consensus is that Tech will roll today. Aggie friends I've spoken to in the last hour are expecting it, because the A&M defense has been so hapless.
Maybe so. I'll believe Tech wins easily when I see it.
It looks as if L.A. Reed will get his first start at cornerback today.
Also, Ra'Jon Henley is likely to play today, though to what extent remains to be seen. In visiting with Ruffin McNeill this week, the Tech defensive coordinator said they don't want to rush Henley back too quickly.
It's sunny and not a cloud in the sky over Kyle Field. Light wind from the north, as expected. Great day for football.
Tech defensive tackle Ra'Jon Henley has been on the stationary bike on the sideline the entire second half. Something's bothering him or he'd be out there.
That's the bad news for Tech. The good news is the Raiders just answered K-State's touchdown to start the second half with one of their own, and now it's 45-21.
Apparently bored by the big halftime lead, Tech lets Kansas State go 80 yards in 15 plays to start the second half, making it 38-21. Kind of like years past. And Ruffin McNeill was not happy about it. The Tech defensive coordinator huddled up the defenders and gave them a good chewing out after they came off the field. McNeill took a towel, wiped the sweat from his face and slammed the towel to the ground.
Maybe it's a game after all.