(Sports Network) – Cyrus Gray rushed for 223 yards and two touchdowns on 27 carries, as the 17th-ranked Texas A&M Aggies topped the Texas Longhorns, 24-17, at Texas Memorial Stadium.
Ryan Tannehill threw for 128 yards on 14-of-30 passing with a touchdown for the Aggies (9-3, 6-2 Big 12), who won six straight to end the regular season.
Garrett Gilbert completed 20-of-37 passes for 219 yards, with a passing and rushing touchdown, but threw two interceptions for Texas (5-7, 2-6), which failed to become bowl eligible for the first time in 12 seasons.
Cody Johnson rushed for 107 yards on 14 carries and Foswhitt Whittaker caught five passes for 59 yards, and rushed for 35 yards for the Longhorns, who had won the last two meetings in this rivalry.
“I thought we were inconsistent offensively,” Texas head coach Mack Brown said. “We obviously had a chance to win the game at the end there and didn’t and gave up some big plays on defense.”
Trailing 24-14, Texas’ defense forced a three-and-out at the 11 minute mark in the fourth, and the Longhorns defense came up big as Carring Byndom blocked the punt giving Texas the ball at the A&M nine.
A false start penalty pushed them back to the 14 and after being stopped on three straight plays the Longhorns settled for a 24-yard Justin Tucker field goal to trim the deceit to 24-17.
Texas had the ball in the final six minutes, but after marching down to the Aggies 12, Gilbert threw his second interception of the game with 2:37 left, that allowed A&M to run out the clock.
The Aggies attempted to get on the board in the game’s opening drive, but Randy Bullock’s 38-yard field goal attempt went wide right.
Gilbert connected with Marquise Goodwin for a 31-yard pass in the final minute and a half of the first to put Texas up 7-0 heading to the second.
A&M was forced to punt at the seven-minute mark of the second, and after the Longhorns moved the ball down to the Aggies eight, Gilbert fumbled on a two- yard loss that was recovered by Texas A&M linebacker Sean Porter.
Ryan Swope advanced the ball to the A&M 16 and Gray took the second play of the drive 84 yards up the middle to knot the game at seven heading to the half.
Texas received the second-half kickoff, but Dustin Harris picked off a Gilbert pass on the third play of the third quarter. The Aggies added a 50-yard field goal by Bullock six plays later to go up 10-7.
The Longhorns committed their third turnover of the game on the following play when D.J. Monroe fumbled on a run to the right side that was recovered by Von Miller.
The Aggies took over at the Texas 22 and Tannehill connected with Jeff Fuller with a two-yard strike with 10:35 remaining to put A&M up 17-7.
Forced to punt at their own five-yard line, the Longhorns converted a muffed return by A&M’s Kenric McNeal.
Three plays later, Gilbert hit Whittaker for a 35-yard reception down the right sideline, and after a six-yard gain by Johnson, Gilbert punched it in on the one-yard sneak to close the gap to 17-14 with 4:39 left in the third.
A&M responded 16 seconds later when Gray took the first play of the next drive 48 yards to put the Aggies up 24-14 heading to the fourth.
“Our players showed tremendous resilency throughtout the course of the game,” said A&M head coach Mike Sherman. "The third quarter was the quarter of the game.
“We were able to take advantage of some situations offensively, our defense forced some turnovers. We were able to jump on that lead in the third quarter and were fortunte to hold on.”
This was the third consecutive year these two teams have met on Thanksgiving… Texas was held to only 140 yards rushing, while the Aggies amassed 238 yards on the ground…Goodwin caught two passes for 32 yards and the score… This is also the first time in 12 seasons that Texas ends the season non-ranked… Texas controlled the ball for 33:41 minutes…Gilbert was sacked three times… The Longhorns hold the all-time margin 42-19-2 against A&M in Thanksgiving games.