October 16, 2006

Defensive halftime adjustments lead A&M to victory

An opportunistic Texas A&M defense survived a slow start by forcing three first half fumbles, and then stiffened up after halftime adjustments to beat No. 19 Missouri, 25-19, in another down-to-the-wire affair at Kyle Field on Saturday.

It looked to be a long day for the defense when on the third play from scrimmage Missouri quarterback Chase Daniel hit Will Franklin streaking down the middle of the field for an apparent 65-yard touchdown strike.

But A&M redshirt freshman cornerback Jordan Peterson caught Franklin inside the 5-yard line and took a punch at the ball that landed with the effectiveness of a Mike Tyson uppercut, jarring the ball out of Franklin;s grip and out of the end zone for a touchback.

Rarely is a play considered the most important play of the game just one minute into the first quarter, but Peterson's heroics set the tone for the day. It also kept the Aggies close while defensive coordinator Gary Darnell tried to figure out how to slow down the Tigers' explosive offense. Darnell tried several different formations including a 3-3-5 scheme that moved defensive ends Chris Harrington and Chris Smith upright into the middle linebacker spot.

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