Texas Two-Step

POSTED SEPT. 21 AT 4:47 P.M.

In less than one week, two aspiring Texas teams have fallen to Miami’s finest.

Sept. 15 marked a showdown in Texas between high school football’s best, No. 1 Northwestern (Miami) and No. 2 Southlake Carroll (Texas). The matchup featured two 2006 state champions and a Southlake Carroll team

Thurday’s game was Miami vs. Texas round two. This time, it was the University of Miami Hurricanes (3-1), who have a number of verbal commitments from Northwestern players, matched up against the No. 20 Texas A&M Aggies (3-1).

Though a 2.5-point underdog, the Aggies marched into the Orange Bowl a favorite of many to win. But they left winless against this year’s Hurricane team, as Miami dominated 34-17.

“That was a big victory for us tonight,” Head Coach Randy Shannon said. “It was an opportunity to bounce back from earlier this season, in playing a good opponent in Texas A&M.”

The Hurricanes opened the game strong. On their first possession, the offense engineered an 80-yard, nine-minute touchdown drive, marked by efficiency and ingenuity. The ‘Canes were 4-for-5 on third downs and 1-for-1 on fourth downs. Freshman running back Graig Cooper capped of the drive with a seven yard touchdown run on a direct snap.

The real firework, though, went off in the final 10 minutes of the second quarter, as the ‘Canes gave fans a little something to cheer about.

After Texas A&M kicker Matt Szymanski missed a 50 yard field goal, the Hurricanes took the ball 67 yards for their second score of the game. The drive included a 51 yard pass from quarterback Kyle Wright to wide receiver Sam Shields and a 1 yard touchdown run by running back Javarris James.

Then, after linebacker Colin McCarthy intercepted Aggie quarterback Stephen McGee, the Hurricanes got close to putting up another score, but kicker Francesco Zampogna’s missed 36 yard field goal left the ‘Canes with nothing to show for the takeaway.

Defensive back Willie Cooper came right back, forcing an Aggie fumble recovered by defensive end Calais Campbell.

On the next play, Wright connected with Graig Cooper for a 12 yard touchdown with 17 second left in the half. The Hurricanes, though, were not done yet, as Willie Cooper came back out and forced a fumble on the kickoff, with UM’s Damien Berry recovering.

Zampogna tacked on a 45 yard field goal, as time expired in the half, sending the Hurricanes to the locker room up 24-0.

“It was very important to come out with a mindset that we have to trust each other,” Shields said. “Come out, play hard and win.”

Although, the ‘Canes had a substantial lead coming out of the half, they did not sit on it. The Hurricanes came out firing, and it paid off, as toward the end of the third quarter, they put together a four play, 64 yard touchdown drive. The drive was fueled by a 14 yard run by Cooper, a 36 yard reception by Shields and a 7-yard touchdown pass from Wright to tight end Chris Zellner.

With the score 31-0, Miami went into the fourth quarter with complete command. Although the Aggies scored 17 fourth quarter points, A&M’s points came against UM’s second and third string defenders. “It was a team effort,” Shannon said. “The guys played hard, they played well. It was a Thursday night game in primetime where the nation could see what we really have as the University of Miami football team.”

Pravin Patel may be contacted at p.patel7@umiami.edu.