RICE (0-0, 0-0 vs. C-USA)
TEXAS A&M (0-0, 0-0 vs. SEC)
KICKOFF/DATE:...... 12 noon (CT), Saturday, Aug. 31, 2013
SITE....................... KYLE FIELD, COLLEGE STATION, TEXAS (CAP. 82,589)
Dave Pasch, play-by-play
Brian Griese, commentary
Tom Luginbill, sideline reporter
RADIO..................TEXAS A&M SPORTS NETWORK
Dave South, play-by-play
Dave Elmendorf, commentary
Will Johnson, sideline
(SiriusXM channel: Sirius 93 / XM 199)
RANKINGS............. RICE ........................................................................ (NR - AP / NR - USA TODAY)
TEXAS A&M ..................................................... (No. 7 - AP / No. 6 - USA TODAY)
SERIES HISTORY...... Texas A&M leads 50-27-2
LIVE AUDIO............ aggieathletics.com, radioaggieland.com
LIVE STATS............. aggieathletics.com
AGGIES OPEN 2013 AGAINST OLD SWC FOE RICE
Texas A&M will open its 119th season of football against a familiar foe when former Southwest Conference rival Rice comes to Kyle Field for a 12 noon matchup on Aug. 31. The Aggies and Owls played annually from 1914-95 (79 meetings), but haven’t faced each other on the gridiron since the demise of the SWC in 1995.
• The last time Rice visited Kyle Field was 1994 when the Aggies logged a hard-fought 7-0 win on the strength of a 60-yard TD by running back Rodney Thomas on a swing pass from Corey Pullig on A&M’s second offensive play of the game.
• Rice is tied for the fourth-most commonly played opponent for the Texas A&M program despite having not faced each other in nearly 20 years. The Rice series is tied with SMU at 79 meetings, and trails only Texas (118 meetings), Baylor (108) and TCU (92).
• With 50 wins against the Owls, Texas A&M has beaten only Baylor (68) and TCU (56) more times in its history.
• Texas A&M leads the all-time series against Rice with a 50-27-2 record. The Aggies have won the last 15 meetings with the Owls. The most recent Rice win in the series was a 10-6 victory over the Aggies in 1980 in College Station.
• Rice is a familiar foe for Aggie head coach Kevin Sumlin, who faced the Owls as Conference USA rivals of the University of Houston from 2008-11. Sumlin was 2-2 against the Owls, scoring 70+ points in home wins in 2009 (73-14) and 2011 (73-34), while dropping high-scoring road decisions in 2008 (56-42) and 2010 (34-31).
• Texas A&M wide receivers coach/recruiting coordinator David Beaty served two stints on Rice’s coaching staff. He was the passing game coordinator/wide receivers coach in 2006-07, and he was the offensive coordinator in 2010.
AGGIES VS. NON-CONFERENCE OPPONENTS FROM TEXAS
All four of the Aggies’ non-conference opponents in 2013 are from the state of Texas -- Rice, Sam Houston State, SMU and UTEP. All four of those games will be played at Kyle Field.
• The last time Texas A&M lost a home game to a non-conference opponent from the state of Texas was Sept. 18, 1954 when Texas Tech, then members of the Border Conference, handed the Aggies a 41-9 loss in Paul “Bear” Bryant’s debut game as A&M’s head coach.
• Texas A&M has not lost a non-conference matchup with a team from the state of Texas anywhere since Sept. 25, 1964 when the University of Houston beat A&M 10-0 in Houston.
KYLE FIELD IS NON-CONFERENCE GRAVEYARD
Since 1985, Texas A&M has compiled a 60-5 record against non-conference opponents at Kyle Field, including 25 seasons with undefeated home records vs. non-conference teams. The only non-conference losses were to LSU (1987), Virginia Tech (2002), Pittsburgh (2003), Arkansas State (2008) and Miami (Fla.) (2008).
TEXAS A&M IN HOME OPENERS
The Aggies are traditionally tough to beat in their home opener. The Aggies are 25-3 (89.3 winning percentage) since 1985, which includes a 20-game winning streak from 1988-2007.
TEXAS A&M IN THE RANKINGS
The Aggies enter the 2013 season with a top 10 preseason ranking for the 13th time in school history.
• Texas A&M was ranked No. 6 in the USA Today head coaches poll, which was the highest preseason rank in the coaches poll since being ranked No. 6 in the 1995 preseason rankings.
• Texas A&M was ranked No. 7 in The Associated Press Top 25, which was the highest preseason AP ranking since being No. 7 in the first poll of 1999.
• Texas A&M finished 2012 ranked No. 5 in both the media and coaches polls. It was A&M’s highest final rank since 1956.
TRENDS AND NOTABLES
• Texas A&M enters 2013 with a six-game winning streak, which is the second-longest current streak in the SEC and the seventh longest in the NCAA FBS.
• The Aggies’ six-game winning streak is the longest entering a season since 1987 when they had an eight-game streak.
• Texas A&M has a streak of 14 straight sellouts at Kyle Field, which began with the 2010 Nebraska game.
• A&M has gained 400+ total yards in 12 straight games, which is a school record.
• Texas A&M has scored first in 18 straight games dating back to the 2011 game against Missouri (38-31 loss).
• The Aggies have scored a touchdown on its opening possession in 10 straight games.
• A&M scored in double digits in 28 straight games dating back to the Aggies’ 9-6 win over Nebraska in 2010.
• The Aggies haven’t been shut out since 2003 -- a span of 115 games. In fact, A&M has only been kept under double digits in only five of those 115 games.
• NCAA total offense rankings by Kevin Sumlin-coached teams:
2012 Houston #3 572.2
2011 Houston #1 599.1
2010 Houston #11 480.5
2009 Houston #1 563.4
2008 Texas A&M #2 562.8
• Since shifting to a “no-huddle” offensive scheme in 2009, Texas A&M has averaged 79.9 plays per game, which trails only Oklahoma’s 80.6 plays/game average in that span.
• Texas A&M and OU are the only school in NCAA FBS with 1,000+ plays in each of the past four seasons.
• The Aggies gained an average of 7.08 yards per offensive play in 2012, which was surpassed by just Georgia (7.09).
• A&M averaged more than 300 passing yards per game for first time in school history in 2012. The Aggies did it while rushing for more than 3,000 yards for the first time since 1990.
• The top four all-purpose gainers from 2012 return in 2013, and all four gained more than 900 yards -- quarterback Johnny Manziel, wide receiver Mike Evans, running back/kickoff return specialist Trey Williams and running back Ben Malena.
• After sitting out 2012 per NCAA transfer rules, heralded running backs Tra Carson and Brandon Williams are set to make their maroon and white debuts against Rice. Carson transferred from Oregon, while Williams transferred from Oklahoma.
• The Aggies have had a 3,000-yard passer, 1,000-yard rusher and 1,000-yard receiver in consecutive years after having none in the first 116 years of Texas A&M football. It was achieved by Manziel (rushing and passing) and Evans (receiving) in 2012, and by Ryan Tannehill (passing), Cyrus Gray (rushing) and Ryan Swope (receiving) in 2011.
• Texas A&M football had never had a freshman score 100 points in a season until 2012 when both Johnny Manziel and Taylor Bertolet surpassed the 100-point level.
• A&M outscored opponents 120-3 in the first quarter over its last eight games of 2012.
• A&M held a 357-115 scoring average in the first half in 2012.
• A&M had 29 or more rushes in every game in 2012, including season-highs of 58 for 361 yards vs. Mississippi State. The Aggies also had multiple rushing TDs in every game in 2012.
• The Aggies averaged 5.90 yards/carry in 2012, which broke the previous school best of 5.8 set in 1990. It was the second-best per carry average in NCAA FBS behind Oregon’s 5.98 average.
• Johnny Manziel is the only player in FBS history to generate 5,000+ total yards, while rushing for 1,000+ yards. Previous high rusher among 5,000-yard gainer was Colt Brennan of Hawaii with 366 in 2006.
• The Aggies led the SEC in total offense, rushing offense, passing offense, scoring offense and third down percentage.
• A&M had five turnover-free games in 2012.
• Texas A&M completed 67.0 percent of its pass attempts in 2012, which was well ahead of the school record percentage of 61.6 set in 2011.
• Despite playing in the shadows of tackling stalwarts Sean Porter, Damontre Moore and Jonathan Stewart in 2012, senior linebacker Steven Jenkins was the only player on the team to have at least four tackles in every game last year.
• Steve Jenkins is the team’s top active tackler with 140 career stops. He is also the active leader in tackles for losses with 8.5, and he’s tied with Deshazor Everett for the active sack lead with three.
• Deshazor Everett is the only player on the roster with more one interception to his credit with two. He is also tied for the active lead in career passes broken up with seven (with Howard Matthews).
• Four 2013 defenders have scored touchdowns in their careers: Steven Jenkins and Deshazor Everett via INT returns, Tramain Jacobs from a fumble return and Nate Askew (who shifted from WR to LB during spring drills) via reception.
• Owning double-digit career starts among the defenders are Steven Jenkins (16), Deshazor Everett (12), Julien Obioha (12), Kirby Ennis (11) and Toney Hurd Jr. (11).
• Texas A&M held opponents to a 32 percent (66-of-204) conversion rate on 3rd downs last season. The Aggies limited opponents to .200 or less on third downs in five games.
• The Aggies held opponents to 200 rushing yards or less in 12 of 13 games in 2012. Only LSU, with 219 rushing yards in game 8, broke the 200-yard plateau.
• Opponents completed just 56.4 percent of their passes last year, after connecting on 62.4 percent in 2011.
• Placekicker Taylor Bertolet registered a touchback on 65-of-103 kickoffs in 2012.
• Thanks to Bertolet’s strong leg and A&M’s high-scoring offense, Texas A&M ranked No. 3 nationally with 65 touchbacks. Only Oklahoma State (75) and UCLA (68) booted more touchbacks.
• Bertolet’s strong leg yielded a pair of 50-yard field goals in 2012, including a career-long 54-yarder against Louisiana Tech.
• Bertolet’s backup, junior Josh Lambo, was a first-round pick (8th overall) a goalie by FC Dallas in the MLS SuperDraft in 2008.
• In a bit of a rarity, starting OT Jake Matthews, son of NFL Hall of Famer Bruce, handled the deep snapping duties in 2012. Former walkon Alex Freeman was put on scholarship during preseason camp, and could be a factor at the position in 2013.
• Highly-touted punter Drew Kaser is slated to handle the Aggies’ punting duties. The redshirt sophomore has two career punts to his credit -- a 68-yarder and a 23-yarder against Idaho in 2011.
• Sophomore Trey Williams posted 557 yards on 25 kickoff returns last year, which ranks No. 7 on A&M’s kickoff return yardage list.
SUMLIN AMONG COACHING ELITE
Over the past two seasons, Texas A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin has won 23 games, which is tied for second-most among all NCAA FBS coaches. Alabama’s Nick Saban leads the way with 25 victories followed by the 23 wins by Sumlin, North Carolina State’s Dave Doeren, LSU’s Les Miles, Boise State’s Chris Peterson and Stanford’s David Shaw.
Most Wins (Past Two Seasons)
WINS COACH_________ SCHOOL (S)
25 Nick Saban_____ Alabama
23 Dave Doeren___ North Carolina State (Northern Illinois)
Les Miles______ LSU
Chris Peterson__ Boise State
David Shaw____ Stanford
Kevin Sumlin___ Texas A&M (Houston)
22 Mark Richt_____ Georgia
Steve Spurrier__ South Carolina
21 Bill Snyder_____ Kansas State
Dabo Swinney__ Clemson
Jimbo Fisher___ Florida State
Texas A&M needs eight wins to join an elite group of college football programs with 700 or more all-time victories. Going into 2013, only 14 programs have hit the 700-win plateau: Michigan, Texas, Notre Dame, Nebraska, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Alabama, Tennessee, USC, Georgia, LSU, Penn State, Auburn and West Virginia. The Aggies enter their 119th season of football with a 692-452-48 career record (.601).
YOUTH MOVEMENT ON DEPTH CHART
A look at the official Texas A&M depth chart going into the Rice reveals an influx of talent from the heralded Aggies’ 2013 signing class. The depth chart features 16 true freshmen and three junior college transfers, as well as three redshirt freshmen and two four-year transfers.
Set to Make Aggie Debuts?
OFFENSE (12): WR Edward Pope (Fr-RS), OL Jeremiah Stuckey (So-TR), OL Germain Ifedi (Fr-RS), TE Cameron Clear (Jr-TR), WR Jeremy Tabuyo (Fr-HS), WR LaQuvionte Gonzalez (Fr-HS), WR Sebastian Larue (Fr-HS), WR Ja’Quay Williams (Fr-HS), WR Kyrion Parker (Fr-HS), QB Kenny Hill (Fr-HS), RB Brandon Williams (So-TR), RB Tra Carson (So-TR)
DEFENSE (10): DE Tyrone Taylor (Fr-RS), DT Hardreck Walker (Fr-HS), DT Isaiah Golden (Fr-HS), DT Justin Manning (Fr-HS), LB Daeshon Hall (Fr-HS), LB Jordan Mastrogiovanni (Fr-HS), LB Reggie Chevis (Fr-HS), LB Tommy Sanders (Jr-TR), LB Shaan Washington (Fr-HS), DB Alex Sezer Jr. (Fr-HS)
SPECIALISTS (1): P Shane Tripucka (Fr-HS)
MAROON GOONS CLEAR THE WAY
Paving the way for the Aggies’ offense is one of the biggest offensive fronts in school history, which features a pair of tackles that have been projected to be NFL first-round draft picks in the future. The projected starting five, self-titled the “Maroon Goons,” of senior All-American Jake Matthews (OT), juniors Cedric Ogbuehi (OT) and Jarvis Harrison (OG), sophomore Mike Matthews (C) and redshirt freshman Germain Ifedi (OG) weigh in at 1,526 pounds or 305.2 per goon.
Matthews shifted from right tackle to left tackle to replace Outland Trophy winner Luke Joeckel, while Ogbuehi moved from guard to right tackle.
Here’s the Beef
LINEMAN________________ HT____ WT___ CAREER STARTS
LT Jake Matthews______ 6-5___ 305___ 33 (33 consecutive)
LG Jarvis Harrison_______ 6-3___ 325___ 18 (14 consecutive)
C Mike Matthews______ 6-2___ 285___ first-time starter
RG Germain Ifedi_______ 6-5___ 311___ first-time starter
RT Cedric Ogbuehi______ 6-5___ 295___ 19 (18 consecutive)
FIRST-QUARTER FAST STARTERS
In the final eight games of 2012, the Aggies have scored 120 points in the first quarter (16.1 points/game) while holding their opponents scoreless.
Aggies in the 1st Quarter (Last 8 Games)
OPPONENT___________________ A&M____ OPP
vs. No. 23 Louisiana Tech_______ _21_______ 0
No. 6 LSU_______________________ 9_______ 0
at Auburn______________________ 21_______ 0
at No. 15 Mississippi State_____ 14_______ 0
at No. 1 Alabama______________ 20_______ 0
SAM HOUSTON STATE___________ 7_______ 0
MISSOURI_____________________ 21_______ 0
vs. No. 12 Oklahoma_____________ 7_______ 3
TOTAL.................... 120 3