No. 9 A&M aiming for 1st 10-win season since '98


No. 9 A&M aiming for 1st 10-win season since '98

COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP) For the first time in a long while, No. 9 Texas A&M won't spend Thanksgiving week preparing for rival Texas.

The more than 100-year rivalry, which had been played during Thanksgiving week since the mid-90s, ended with A&M's move to the SEC.

But the Aggies won't miss the Longhorns this week. In their finale against Missouri, they have a chance for their first 10-win season since they went 11-3 in 1998.

``It's going to be a little different,'' senior defensive back Steven Terrell said. ``But this whole year has been different. We're not going to cry about it or anything. We're not too worried about it.''

The Aggies have won four straight behind the strong play of quarterback Johnny Manziel, a Heisman Trophy hopeful.

His chances to become the first freshman to win the award likely improved after a three-interception performance by Collin Klein in Kansas State's loss to Baylor on Saturday night.

Manziel accounted for five touchdowns in just over a half of a 47-28 win over Sam Houston State on Saturday. He is second in the nation in total offense with more than 378 yards a game, and the 20.73 points a game he's responsible for are tied for third in the country.

Manziel broke the NCAA freshman quarterback rushing record of 1,029 yards set by Missouri's Brad Smith in 2002, and the freshman record for total offense of 3,827 yards set in 2000 by Jared Lorenzen on A&M's first drive Saturday.

He is the fifth player and first freshman in FBS history to pass for at least 3,000 yards with at least 1,000 yards rushing in a season, and his 4,161 yards are a school record for total offense in a season.

Manziel's increased ability to make throws downfield has helped the Aggies offense in the last few weeks.

``(Offensive coordinator) Kliff Kingsbury has done a great job of working with him throughout the year to develop his confidence in the passing game,'' coach Kevin Sumlin said. ``I think it's an understanding by him of the defense and our personnel.''

The seniors on this team have been on a roller coaster in their careers. They were 6-7 in 2009 and 9-4 in 2010, then entered last season as a top-10 team only to finish a disappointing 7-6, which led to Mike Sherman's firing.

``This team has been through a lot,'' Terrell said. ``We have had seasons that we weren't ranked at all, and we have been on winning streaks. It has been up and down. It feels good to be on top again and to play meaningful games in November.''

Sumlin loves the way this group has responded to him and the rest of the new coaching staff, and how the Aggies have handled the challenge of moving from the Big 12 to the SEC.

``The seniors have shown tremendous leadership this year,'' he said. ``They have really gotten better as the season has progressed. The most impressive thing that they have done is deal with the adversity.''

Texas A&M struggled to close out games last season, and four of their six defeats were by a combined 10 points. This season they've done a much better job, a trait that was illustrated in their 29-24 upset of then top-ranked Alabama two weeks ago.

``I've always thought we have the talent to compete with anybody in the nation, but I think that it took all of us coming together,'' said senior linebacker Sean Porter, who caused and recovered a fumble Saturday. ``I think coach Sumlin and his staff really helped us to do that and clean up some of the little mistakes. I think we finally put the pieces together to do what we were supposed to be doing all along.''

Quick Links

Scott Brooks, Ramon Sessions hoping for best with Tyronn Lue's health issues

USA Today Sports Images

Scott Brooks, Ramon Sessions hoping for best with Tyronn Lue's health issues

As a fellow NBA head coach, Scott Brooks understands what Tyronn Lue of the Cleveland Cavaliers is going through. As his former teammate, Ramon Sessions knows how tough Lue is.

Both members of the Wizards shared their reactions after Monday's practice to the news Lue is stepping away from the Cavs to deal with a health issue. Both expressed hope Lue will not be out long as the NBA continues its trek towards the playoffs.

"All of our thoughts are with him," Brooks said. "You hope that it's nothing serious. Health is the most important [thing]. The game is secondary."


"Prayers out to T-Lue," said Sessions, who played with Lue in Milwaukee. "It's one of those things where you've gotta take care of yourself at the end of the day. Him stepping away is the best thing."

Lue's illness has been a mystery to doctors, according to a statement he released on the Cavaliers' website. He has dealt with chest pains and other symptoms while also struggling to sleep. The hope is that having time off will allow him to get the rest he needs.


Brooks knows firsthand how difficult it is to get sleep during the regular season as a coach.

"You just have to figure out ways to get your rest. Some days are better than others. Sometimes you think after a good win you can have a good night's rest or sometimes it's the opposite. It's just hard to get rest. You're traveling in different timezones. You are emotional after games. You eat late. There are a lot of factors that go into it. We don't have a set schedule every night. I have a good staff and I rely on them," he said.

Lue, 40, will be replaced by associate head coach Larry Drew in the interim. The Cavs happen to be in a tight playoff race with the Wizards and other teams in the Eastern Conference battling for position.

NBC Sports Washington is on Apple News. Favorite us!

Quick Links

Redskins add another ex-Cowboy as they sign CB Orlando Scandrick

USA Today Sports Images

Redskins add another ex-Cowboy as they sign CB Orlando Scandrick

The Redskins seem to love former Cowboys. They signed another one today.

Mike Garafolo of NFL Media is reporting that Washington has agreed to terms with cornerback Orlando Scandrick. The early numbers put the contract at up to $10 million over two years.

Scandrick, 31, has played for the Cowboys since they made him a fifth-round pick in the 2008 draft. In nine seasons in the league, Scandrick has eight interceptions and seven forced fumbles.

He has been plagued by injuries the last three years. Scandrick was out for the entire 2015 season with a torn ACL. In 2016 he missed four games with a hamstring injury and he finished last season on injured reserve with a back injury. Whether his struggles last year were due to injuries or age remains to be seen.

Scandrick joins Nosh Norman, Quinton Dunbar, Fabian Moreau, and Josh Holsey at cornerback for the Redskins. Holsey is the only natural slot corner in the group and he played very sparingly as a rookie last year. Scandrick likely will fill the slot role until Holsey is ready.

We will see what the signing costs in terms of salary cap impact when we see the details of the contract. The phrase “up to” generally means that there are incentives included in the deal so we will have to see.

In recent years, the Redskins have signed former Cowboys defensive linemen Stephen Bowen, Jason Hatcher, and Terrell McClain.


Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.