LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) -- Texas Tech quarterback Cody Hodges'
formative years in West Texas were spent cheering on the team he
faces Saturday night.
''I grew up an A&M fan,'' said Hodges, whose neighbor in
Hereford played on Texas A&M's 12th-man kickoff team. ''When I came
to Tech, everything changed.''
Hodges isn't likely to show any mercy as No. 16 Texas Tech (7-1,
4-1) faces one of the weakest pass defenses in the country. He
wants to atone for his worst showing of the season last week
Tech's lead was just 6-0, and Hodges had two interceptions and
just 162 yards entering the fourth quarter before the Red Raiders
hit some big plays in a 28-0 victory.
The Aggies (5-3, 3-2) are 115th out of 117 Division I-A teams in
pass defense, and Hodges leads the nation in passing at 382 yards
''If I throw the ball the way I did against Baylor, then it
doesn't really matter,'' Hodges said. ''A lot of (passes) were in
the ground and low and behind them.''
Hodges' struggles led to long-yardage situations on third down,
and Tech was just 4-of-15 on third-down conversions. Hodges wants
that to change this week.
''It doesn't really worry me,'' he said. ''We've just got to do
better on first and second down. That's the way you get out of
Texas A&M is coming off a 42-14 loss to Iowa State, a defeat
that had die-hard Aggies fans leaving Kyle Field early. The Aggies
gave up 371 passing yards and set a school record by surrendering
four touchdowns to Iowa State receiver Todd Blythe, who had 214
Overall, the Aggies are allowing 426 yards per game.
''Since we're probably at the bottom of the barrel as far as
stats in that, I would say, if I were them, I'd be looking forward
to the opportunity,'' A&M defensive coordinator Carl Torbush said
of the Red Raiders. ''With that said, I think our players are
looking forward to the opportunity to see what we can do against
one of the finest passing attacks in the country.''
The Aggies were trounced 59-28 the last time they came to
Lubbock two years ago, but they bounced back with a 32-25 overtime
victory in College Station last season.
Courtney Lewis scored the winning touchdown last year, and he
had a 73-yard scoring run against Iowa State after missing several
games with an undisclosed injury.
But Tech is most wary of the dual threat brought by A&M's Reggie
McNeal, who has thrown for 13 touchdowns and averages 209 yards
passing and a team-high 80 rushing this season.
''Reggie is specifically incorporated in their running game,''
Tech coach Mike Leach said. ''They utilize him as another running
back. He throws the ball well and effectively.''
Aggies coach Dennis Franchione is unabashed in his respect for
Tech's ability to score quickly.
''They've scored a lot of points all year long and are very
capable of scoring points,'' he said. ''In every game you make a
game plan, or you have a thought process as to what is best for
your team to handle a game. Each one has its unique identity to it.
Certainly this one does, too.''
Top 25 Overview
Texas A&M owns the Big 12's worst pass defense. That can only mean trouble this week for the Aggies, who face the nation's fourth best scoring offense (46.1 ppg) in Texas Tech. Scouts, Inc.: Matchups to watch