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Updated: Saturday, November 9, 2002 10:09 PM EST
NCAA FOOTBALL RECAP
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Texas A&M 30, (2) Oklahoma 26
OKLAHOMA SOONERS
Oklahoma Sooners
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TEXAS A&M AGGIES
Texas A&M Aggies
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COLLEGE STATION, Texas (Ticker) -- Oklahoma's dream of a 12-0 regular season ended in the home of the "12th Man."

The second-ranked Sooners tumbled out of the top spot in the BCS standings with a 30-26 Big 12 Conference loss to Texas A&M, which got four touchdown passes from unheralded freshman Reggie McNeal.

"I never talked about it when we had a BCS future," Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said. "I don't know that we have one now and I really don't care."

En route to its 2000 national championship, Oklahoma (8-1, 4-1 Big 12) nearly was ambushed here by Texas A&M, which uses an entire group of walk-ons for the opening kickoff known as the "12th Man." That participation fired up the sellout crowd of 84,036 at Kyle Field.

Spurred on by the crowd, McNeal had the best game of his brief career. He completed 8-of-13 passes for 191 yards and repeatedly burned Oklahoma's defense with long passes over the middle.

McNeal also rushed 16 times for 89 yards. He began the season as the third-string quarterback but moved up when Mark Farris was benched early in the season. He came on in the second quarter for an ineffective Dustin Long.

"Reggie's poise was impressive," Texas A&M coach R.C. Slocum said. "I can't say I was surprised. I thought all along he had special qualities."

"It's a great feeling to beat the No. 1 team in the nation," McNeal said. "I knew going into the game that I would play a little, but I didn't know I'd play almost the whole game. I just gave it 110 percent and it worked out. I was able to get into the groove of the game and that might have helped."

McNeal erased a 23-20 deficit with a 40-yard TD strike to Terrence Murphy with 1:51 left in the third quarter. Sooners tight end Trent Smith fumbled on the next play from scrimmage, setting up Todd Pegram's 24-yard field goal for a 30-23 advantage with 12:46 to go.

Oklahoma drove inside the A&M 15-yard line but had to settle for Trey DiCarlo's 32-yard field goal with 8:49 left.

The Sooners got back the ball twice more around a missed 43-yard kick by Pegram. The first drive ended on downs short of midfield. The last ended quickly, with safety Terrence Kiel's interception of Nate Hybl on the left sideline.

After the clock ran out, Aggies players locked arms and faced the crowd as both groups swayed back and forth in celebration.

"Tonight was picturesque Kyle Field," linebacker Brian Gamble said. "Coach Slocum's got to be excited. He's known what we could do all along. We made the plays and finally got it."

"They never gave up," Slocum said of his players. "We've got some fighters on this team, some great characters."

Texas A&M (6-4, 3-3) nearly ruined Oklahoma's title run two years ago, blowing a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter of a 35-31 loss here.

Oklahoma's national championship hopes took a shot just short of lethal. The loss left defending champion Miami and Ohio State as the lone unbeaten Division I-A teams. If one of those schools loses, the Sooners would be back in the hunt, but so would all other teams with one loss.

Murphy caught five passes for 128 yards and two scores and Bethel Johnson and Greg Porter also had TD catches for the Aggies. Joe Weber added 83 yards on 18 carries.

Hybl was 20-of-34 for 249 yards and two TDs. Oklahoma's Quentin Griffin had 141 yards on 23 carries for his fifth straight 100-yard game. He also caught a TD pass.

"We have tremendous respect for Quentin Griffin," Slocum said. "We knew we'd have to gang-tackle him. I thought he had a great game."

The Sooners got themselves in trouble at the end of the first half. They drove inside the 10 but had to settle for DiCarlo's 22-yard field goal for a 13-6 lead with 1:28 left, then gave it away as Greg Porter got loose down the middle of the field for a 40-yard TD catch with seven seconds to go.

"I saw Porter and took a hit for the team," McNeal said. "I knew I'd have chances to go deep on them."

The problems continued in the third quarter. McNeal ran for 33 yards and Weber for 25 before a wide-open Johnson caught a 17-yard TD pass on a fade route for a 20-13 lead. It was Johnson's eighth TD catch of the season.

Three plays later, OU tied it as Hybl found Curtis Fagan behind single coverage up the right sideline for a 68-yard catch-and-run TD. Fagan caught four passes for 94 yards. An deflected interception by Eric Bassey set up DiCarlo's 46-yard kick that gave the Sooners the lead with 7:29 left in the period.

In the first quarter, Griffin had a 34-yard run before hauling in a six-yard TD toss from Hybl. DiCarlo's 25-yard field goal made it 10-0 with 10:22 left in the second quarter before Murphy turned an inside slant into a 61-yard TD pass.

"After the first touchdown to Murphy, I felt like tonight was the night," McNeal said. "We had that mind-set and we were going to do anything it took."

Oklahoma leads the all-time series, 11-10.


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