NORMAN — Texas A&M makes its last visit to Owen Field on Saturday. Unless the teams schedule a non-conference series in the future, the rivalry that began with the formation of the Big 12 Conference in 1996 is over.
The Aggies didn’t cite never having to come to Norman again as a reason for wanting to join the SEC. However, it would be understandable if they had. The Aggies went 1-6 at Owen Field as a conference foe. No great shame in that. No Big 12 opponent other than Oklahoma State (1997 and 2001) has been able to get two wins at Owen Field from 1996 to the present.
But OU’s dominance against Texas A&M at Owen Field has been scary. Over the last six meetings at Owen Field, the Sooners have outscored the Aggies 302-70. There’s been one close game — OU’s 36-30 victory in 2005 — during that span. The rest were routs, including the infamous 77-0 romp in 2003 and the 65-10 destruction in 2009.
There’s no guarantee the Sooners and Aggies will part ways on similar terms. But if some critical things happen, it could head in that direction. Here’s five reasons OU dominated the Aggies at Owen Field over the last dozen years.
1. The Sooners score early touchdowns. The Sooners have done this in their last four home meetings with Texas A&M. Even in 2005, OU took sizable leads in the first half. Doesn’t always mean an early lead will begin an even bigger one. But if OU gets up by double digits early, history says things are only going to get worse for Texas A&M.
2. Texas A&M struggles moving the ball early. It has at Owen Field, but slow starts haven’t been a problem for Texas A&M this season. It held a double-digit halftime lead in the three games it’s lost this season. Starting hasn’t been the Aggies’ problem. If they struggle Saturday, it’s a sign things are really out of whack.
3. The Sooners are running the ball. OU struggled to run the ball against just about everybody in 2009. Then it played Texas A&M and rolled up 248 yards on the ground. OU’s rushed for at least 157 yards in its last six home games against the Aggies.
4. The Aggies are in a lot of passing situations. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill is by far the best passing quarterback Texas A&M has brought to Norman over the last 12 years, but history says if OU makes the Aggies have to throw, it’s an incredible advantage. Texas A&M hasn’t thrown for more than 200 yards at Owen Field since 1999.
5. OU’s coming off a loss to the Aggies the previous season. Sooners coaches and players never bring up the revenge factor. That’s their prerogative. But the reason that it is such a widespread factor in football games is because of what OU did to Texas A&M in 2003. The Sooners’ national titles hopes unraveled with a loss to the Aggies in College Station the previous year. One year later, a vengeful OU team crushed Texas A&M 77-0 at Owen Field. It still ranks as the most dominant performance of the Bob Stoops’ era.
John Shinn 366-3536 firstname.lastname@example.org