Wild West Shootout; #18 Oklahoma at #21 Texas A&M
Patrick looks for another big effort Saturday night when the 18th-ranked Sooners visit No. 21 Texas A&M with second place in the Big 12 South division on the line.
The 6-foot-1, 195-pound Patrick has started the last two games in place of Peterson, the Heisman Trophy runner-up two years ago who broke his collarbone on Oct. 14 and will likely miss the rest of the regular season.
Oklahoma hasn't missed a beat, however, partly because Patrick's first two college starts have been impressive. The former defensive back carried 35 times for 110 yards in a 24-3 victory over Colorado on Oct. 21, and ran for a career-high 162 yards in last week's 26-10 victory at then-No. 23 Missouri.
``He's been excellent, just really tough (and) hard-nosed the way he's running the football,'' Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said. ``He's seeing the creases and seams very well. He's missed very few.''
Patrick's ability to fill for one of the nation's top tailbacks has provided further evidence of Oklahoma's depth. Quarterback Paul Thompson, forced into action when Rhett Bomar was kicked off the team before the season, has been solid and has five touchdowns with no interceptions over the last three games.
``They still have a lot of talent,'' Texas A&M coach Dennis Franchione said. ``I was hoping the offensive line wouldn't be playing as good as it's playing, but they're playing pretty good. They've got good quality receivers and I've always thought Paul Thompson was a good quarterback.
``When you have Adrian, you need to utilize him and now that he's gone, they're utilizing their other talent and they do have other talent.''
Oklahoma (6-2, 3-1) has won three straight since its 28-10 loss to then-No. 7 Texas on Oct. 7, and can leapfrog Texas A&M (8-1, 4-1) in the Big 12 standings with a victory.
The Sooners have won six of the last seven meetings with the Aggies, including a 36-30 victory last season after nearly blowing a 21-0 lead. Patrick scored his first career touchdown on a 28-yard run that closed the first quarter.
``They're definitely a very good football team that's just continued to get better and better all the time,'' Aggies quarterback Stephen McGee said. ''(It's) a great challenge for us with two very good teams coming together.''
Texas A&M has won four straight since a 31-27 loss to Texas Tech on Sept. 30. The first three wins of the streak all came by fewer than seven points until Mike Goodson's 64-yard touchdown run with 2:15 to go preserved a 31-21 victory at Baylor last week.
The Aggies' triple-option attack generated a season-high 507 yards of total offense, including 282 on the ground. Goodson carried eight times for a career-high 96 yards and McGee gained 89 yards - his highest output this year in Big 12 play - on 17 carries.
McGee has 11 touchdowns and one interception for the season. The Aggies have committed a league-low 10 turnovers, with four coming in a 35-3 season-opening victory over The Citadel.
It's a trend they'll need to continue against an Oklahoma team that has forced 13 turnovers over its last five games.
``Most importantly, I think they set their offense up in very good field position and capitalize,'' McGee said. ``They have been able to capitalize in several games in points off turnovers and that's a tribute to their defense, getting their hands on the ball and getting the points off of those.''
Goodson has been a major factor over the last four games for Texas A&M, averaging 77.5 yards rushing after averaging only 36.4 over the Aggies' first five games.
``This is one of the biggest games I've ever played in my life,'' Goodson said. ``I can't wait.''
by: Anthony White - theSpread.com - Email Us
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