December 27, 2009

Sherman not interested in moral victory

Texas A&M coach Mike Sherman isn't one for moral victories.

Sure, his Aggies are happy to be in Shreveport playing Georgia in Monday's Independence Bowl. But like the SEC Bulldogs, Sherman's squad won't be happy unless a win is the final result.

"It would be very special, no question," Sherman said Sunday. "But our intent when we came to Texas A&M was to win championships. We're not going to win a championship this year, but a victory here would certainly be a stepping stone for a championship."

It would also secure a winning season for the Aggies, who come into the game at 6-6 after a fifth-place finish in the Big 12 Conference.

Although Texas A&M has struggled defensively, giving up almost 33 points per game, the Aggies know how to put the football into the end zone.

Sherman's squad, which utilizes a no-huddle scheme, is the only team in the nation ranked in the Top 25 in each of the four main offensive categories - No. 5 in total offense (465.3), No. 15 in scoring offense (33.9 points per game), No. 22 in passing offense (274.9 yards per game) and No. 25 in rushing offense (190.4 yards per game).

The Aggies are one of just two FBS teams to average over 80 offensive plays per game.

Junior quarterback Jerrod Johnson is the main man in the huddle for Texas A&M.

The second-team All-Big 12 selection already holds several single-season schools records, including passing yards (3,217), passing touchdowns (28), touchdown responsibility (36) and total offense (3,672).

But as Sherman is quick to point out, those numbers didn't come against Georgia, which the coach said despite its inconsistencies is still one of the best units his team will have faced all year.

"This game is going to be a good test for us all," Sherman said. "Whether we win or lose, it won't be all on Jerrod, it will be on the team. We know they're going to make some plays, we've just got to be patient and make some of our own. This is a test of our entire football team."

The Aggies showed what they're capable of in the regular-season finale against Texas. The Longhorns topped Texas A&M, but it took an amazing effort by quarterback Colt McCoy help Texas secure the 49-39 victory.

"We played close, but not good enough to win. (Texas) deserved to win; everything they got they earned," Sherman said. "It was a great test for us, and it showed the team what can happen when we eliminate our mistakes. We didn't make a bunch that game, but we made enough to lose the game. If we play mistake, we have a chance to beat anybody."

Although Johnson receives most of the accolades for Texas A&M, the Aggies have a very successful combo to run the football in running backs Christine Michael (pronounced Chris-tin) and Cyrus Gray, who have rushed for 767 and 752 yards, respectively.

But Michael is no girly man.

At 5-foot-11 and 206 pounds, the freshman has galloped for nine touchdowns.

"My mom wanted her first child to be a girl, and she had my name picked out from Day 1," Michael said. "She thought it was unique for a boy. Now, whatever anyone wants to call me, I just go along with it."

Freshman Uzuma Nwachukwu leads the Aggies in receiving with 37 catches for 670 yards and six scores.

Defensively, all eyes will be on defensive end Von Miller, who leads the country in sacks with 17, while senior safety Jordan Pugh is the anomaly on the Aggies' youthful defense which features seven starters which are either sophomores or freshmen.

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