Texas ruins A&M's goodbye to Big 12 with 27-25 win

By Kristie Rieken

Associated Press

Published: Thursday, Nov. 24 2011 12:00 a.m. MST

Football legend Earl Campbell, left, rides in a golf cart with his daughter-in-law Shana Campbell before an NCAA college football game between Texas and Texas A&M Thursday, Nov. 24, 2011, in College Station, Texas.

Dave Einsel, Associated Press

COLLEGE STATION, Texas — This is not the goodbye Texas A&M envisioned.

Justin Tucker kicked a 40-yard field goal as time expired to give the Longhorns a 27-25 victory over Texas A&M on Thursday night in the likely end of a more than century-old rivalry.

"This is by far the most painful loss I've had since I've been here," Texas A&M safety Trent Hunter said. "It's one of those things that we're going to have to live with for a while since Texas and Texas A&M aren't playing again."

Texas A&M's last Big 12 game and the 118th meeting between these bitter rivals before the Aggies depart for the Southeastern Conference next season was a thriller befitting one of college football's oldest and most storied matchups.

The Aggies were down 24-19 before Ryan Tannehill found Jeff Fuller on a 16-yard touchdown pass with 1:48 remaining. But the 2-point conversion failed, leaving A&M (6-6, 4-5 Big 12) ahead 25-24.

The Longhorns' winning drive was helped by a 15-yard personal foul penalty and a 25-yard run by quarterback Case McCoy.

McCoy started Thursday after being benched after a loss to Oklahoma in favor of David Ash.

McCoy struggled to move the offense for much of the game, but was able to do just enough to get the Longhorns in position for Tucker's winner.

Texas players spilled onto the field as soon as the kick sailed through the uprights. At the same time, thousands of dejected Aggies fans streamed to the exits in the end of this holiday tradition in this football-crazy state.

Hunter, who had the 15-yard penalty on the Longhorns' winning drive, said players were crying in the locker room after the loss.

"This is a devastating loss for our team," Texas A&M coach Mike Sherman said. "I felt sorry for them."

The series ends with the Longhorns leading 76-37-5 and Texas coach Mack Brown improved his career record against the Aggies to 10-4 with Thursday's win.

Receiver Jaxon Shipley threw a touchdown pass on a trick play in the first half and the Longhorns took advantage of two interceptions in a 17-point third quarter to send the Aggies off with a loss.

Carrington Byndom's interception return for a touchdown early in the third quarter cut Texas A&M's lead to 16-14.

The Longhorns (7-4, 4-4) took a 17-14 lead on a 23-yard field goal later in the third.

Tannehill's third interception led to a 1-yard touchdown run by Cody Johnson to extend the Longhorns' lead to 24-16.

"I just didn't play well," Tannehill said.

At times the end of this rivalry felt like a goodbye between longtime friends.

The Longhorn band spelled out 'Thanks A&M' while playing "Thanks for the Memories." Earl Campbell, who won the Heisman Trophy at Texas in 1977, and Texas A&M's John David Crow, winner of the award in 1957, watched the game sitting side by side in golf cart in the corner of the stadium.

Texas A&M's collie mascot, Reveille, didn't share in the goodwill. She showed her dislike for the Longhorns by chewing on a small stuffed version of Bevo, the Texas mascot during the game.

"It was a great atmosphere, Kyle Field was everything that it is," Tannehill said. "You couldn't ask for a better atmosphere, but it's tough when your team doesn't come out with a win."

Texas A&M's official fight song bids adieu to the Longhorns with the line "so long to the orange and white." But the Aggies didn't really want to say goodbye.