LaVell Edwards and R.C. Slocum say they don't want to see a high-scoring game when their teams meet in this year's Holiday Bowl. But they're expecting a shootout anyway.
Slocum's Texas A&M Aggies will face the challenge of stopping Brigham Young quarterback Ty Detmer, this year's Heisman Trophy winner.Edward's Cougars, in turn, will have to concentrate on Aggies running back Darren Lewis, the all-time Southwest Conference career rushing leader.
The Cougars, who will be making their ninth Holiday Bowl appearance on Dec. 29, are accustomed to shoot-outs. They lost to Penn State 50-39 in last year's game.
"It sure has that appearance (of being a high-scoring game), if history is anything," Edwards, the Cougars' head coach, said at a news conference Wednesday. "Hopefully, we'll bring a defense this year. I think we left it in Provo last year."
Detmer set a Holiday Bowl record by passing for 576 yards against Penn State. This season, he threw for 5,188 yards and 41 touchdowns with 28 interceptions.
"I was concerned when the bowl people came down to extend an invitation and talked about another high-scoring, exciting game," Slocum said. "Being an old defensive coach, I asked, `Does it have to be that way?' It'd be exciting to me if it was a 14-13 game."
Texas A&M's top threat is Lewis, who finished the regular season rushing for 1,691 yards and 18 touchdowns. He has accumulated 5,012 yards during his college career, making him the fifth man in NCAA history to surpass the 5,000-yard mark.
The Aggies, 8-3-1, are coming off a 28-27 loss to third-ranked Texas in their regular season finale. Texas A&M pulled to within one point with a late touchdown, then the Aggies unsuccessfully attempted a two-point conversion.
"I got a lot of letters from Texas A&M people after that game," Slocum said. "Everyone was in agreement with what I did.
"I got a nasty letter from (Holiday Bowl executive director) John Reid, though," he added jokingly.
BYU, 10-2, suffered a devastating 59-28 loss at Hawaii in its final regular season game.
"If someone would've told me last summer that we'd be 10-2, conference champions, playing in the Holiday Bowl and have the Heisman Trophy winner, I would've done cartwheels all the way home from the golf course," Edwards said. "But that Hawaii game pretty much put a damper on everything."