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November 26, 2011

Defense dominates this week's Hot 11

The Texas defense dominated Texas A&M and the offense turned in enough plays to help get the win. Oh, and about those special teams ... we break down the top performances in our Hot 11.


Byndom has been one of the league's best cornerbacks this year and he bounced back from a subpar effort against K-State with a stellar performance against Texas A&M.

Byndom played terrific defense on Aggie WR Jeff Fuller and he finished the game with 6 tackles and 3 passes broken up. Of course, his 58-yard pick-six was arguably the biggest play of the night. Texas doesn't win the game without that play.

For much of the night, Vaccaro drew the assignment of slowing down A&M's top pass-catcher, Ryan Swope. Vaccaro dominated that match-up, limiting Swope to just 3 catches.

Vaccaro also turned in a beautiful leaping interception on the sideline that set up a Texas touchdown. He was credited with only 2 tackles on the night but the stats don't tell the story of how good Vaccaro was.

Quandre the Giant came up huge on Thursday night. He played terrific pass coverage all night in recording 3 pass break-ups and he turned in a beautiful diving interception when A&M was threatening to blow the game open early.

Diggs' biggest play was as a punt returner, including an 81-yarder that set up a field goal that gave the Horns their first lead. Diggs returned only one kick-off but it was a solid 29-yard effort on the last drive of the game.

How good has this guy been lately?

Acho played like an all-American again, finishing the night with 14 tackles, including 10 solo stops. He has really elevated his level of play in the past few weeks to help pace a smothering Texas defense.

Robinson has been toughing it out through a pretty bad thumb injury and he's been playing well. He was flagged with a couple (questionable) penalties on Thursday night but Robinson was active all game.

He finished the night with 6 tackles, 2 TFL, 2 pass-break ups, 1 QB hurry and at least 1 nightmare caused for Ryan Tannehill.

Talk about a situation where statistics don't tell the full story ...

Okafor was credited with just one tackle, one pass-break up and one QB hurry but he completely dominated Aggie right tackle Jake Matthews, especially in the third quarter. Okafor forced Tannehill into some early throws with his speed rush off the outside, which helped get Texas off the field.

I've been one of Randall's few critics during his UT career, saying I needed to see more production to match his physical talent. The senior has certainly come through of late.

He recorded 3 tackles against Texas A&M and 2 tackles behind the line of scrimmage. Randall was really a disruptive force in the interior of the line and he was a big part of shutting down the Aggie ground game in the second half (the other DT's did their part too).

Come on, do we really need to explain this one? Tucker's game-winning 40-yard field goal as time expired was a thing of beauty as it split the uprights right down the middle. He hit it into a slight breeze too.

The only reason he's not higher on this list is his work in the punting game. Texas went away from the rugby punt and Tucker averaged just 34.5 yards on 11 kicks. He was getting good height and forcing fair catches (nine of 'em) but 31.4 net yards per punt is not getting it done.

Who cares? Now about that field goal ...

McCoy barely topped 100 yards passing on the night but he did exactly what Texas needed from him. He managed the game pretty well and he did not turn the football over, which was priority number one.

His 25-yard scramble to set up the game winning field goal will go down as maybe the most memorable offensive play of the entire season.

Gideon takes some unnecessary heat from a lot of Texas fans but he turned in a pretty solid game overall on Thursday night. The senior wasn't involved in any game-changing plays like most of the other DBs but he did record 8 tackles on the night.

If you look at Johnson's stats - 6 carries for 9 yards and 1 TD - you might be wondering what he's doing on this list.

Johnson's ability to move the pile when there's no room there has been terrific all year and he picked up a couple key first downs for the Texas offense on Thursday night, including a 3rd-and-1 on UT's final TD drive. He also did a good job of powering for yards when Texas was backed up inside its own 1-yard line.

Johnson's plays weren't the most memorable, but he did some things to help Texas win the game.

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