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Oklahoma football: Texas A&M shattered myth that SEC defenses swallow Big 12 offenses

COMMENTARY — Oklahoma and the rest of the conference can take pride that Texas A&M shattered the myth that Big 12 offenses can't produce against SEC defenses. Trouble is the Sooners now have to contend with that Aggie attack.
by Berry Tramel Published: January 2, 2013

ARLINGTON, Texas – Record-setting points and yardage didn't do it. Heisman Trophies didn't do it. A cavalcade of NFL quarterbacks didn't do it.

It took Texas A&M going to the SEC to validate Big 12 offenses. Took A&M going to the SEC to prove that prolific Big 12 offenses weren't the result of porous Big 12 defenses.

The Aggies led the SEC in scoring (44.8 points per game) and total offense (552.3 yards), ranking third nationally in both categories.

“We're really proud of the way they went into the SEC and played the way they did,” said OU linebacker Tom Wort. “I'm proud of the way they handled themselves and kind of represented the Big 12 in a little way.”

And now the Aggies step back in time, to a Cotton Bowl showdown Friday night against the Sooners. A Big 12 offense against a transplanted Big 12 offense. After the Aggies' ran roughshod over most SEC defenses, the Big 12's spread offenses are seen in a new light.

“It says a lot about the Big 12 and the offenses we have,” said OU defensive end David King. “The SEC is more smash, downhill running. I think Texas A&M kind of took them by surprise with that spread offense this year.”

Said OU center Gabe Ikard, “You hear about all the running game, the SEC with the big bodies. Then Texas A&M takes the spread offense and puts up the numbers they did. That was impressive.”

Six straight SEC national championships, including a Florida victory over OU four years ago in the Big Bowl, have established the idea that Big 12 offenses don't travel. That the spread concepts that flourish outside the SEC won't work in the league that features big, mean and fast defenders.

“The assumptions can't be as easily made after what A&M did in that league,” said OU co-offensive coordinator Jay Norvell.

The Aggies lost to Florida 20-17 and LSU 24-19. But they routed Arkansas 58-10, Auburn 63-21 and Mississippi State 38-13. They nipped Ole Miss 30-27. And on Nov. 10, A&M went to top-ranked Alabama and won 29-24.

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by Berry Tramel
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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