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Off the Practice Field...Head Coach Spike Dykes

Texas Tech head coach Spike Dykes was all smiles at his weekly press conference Monday. He had good reason to be.

The Red Raiders (5-3, 4-2) defeated the Texas A&M Aggies 13-10 on Saturday, their first win in Aggieland since 1984.

Not only was the win important in terms of keeping the Raiders on track for a fourth-consecutive bowl berth, but the victory, coupled with the University of Texas' 28-24 loss to Colorado, put the Raiders in first place of the Big 12 South Division.

"Saturday was a good day for us. I'm really, really proud of our players," said Dykes. "We do appreciate those 3,000 [Tech fans who traveled to the A&M game.] They were loud, colorful, vocal--everything you want out of a crowd."

The Raiders will be able to savor their victory for a while, too. Tech heads into an off week before preparing to face Texas November 9.

Texas, meanwhile, plays Baylor in Austin November 2 before journeying to Lubbock.

"Our defense did a good job against a strong football team," said Dykes. "[Defensive end] Tony Daniels made a ton of big plays. He was a picture of consistency all day. [Linebacker] Ryan Donahue played with a broken hand, and played a very gritty game."

Dykes was especially complimentary of the work the Raider secondary did in shutting down a strong Aggie passing game.

"[A&M wide receiver] Albert Connell was the leading receiver in the Big 12 and he caught no passes Saturday. Our cornerbacks played extremely well," said Dykes.

The loss was A&M's third of the year at home, something the Aggies have not experienced since 1984. Prior to this season, A&M had lost only one home game since 1990.

Tech's next opponent, Texas, has been on a skid of late as well. The Longhorns have lost four of their last five ball games, including the last three in a row. Texas will play a Baylor team hot off a 49-21 come-from-behind victory over Iowa State. At one point in the first half, the Bears trailed 21-7, but then reeled off 42 unanswered points to send the Cyclones to their fifth loss in seven games.

Should Texas defeat Baylor, the November 9 game in Lubbock becomes much more important. If Tech can defeat the `Horns, then beat Oklahoma two weeks later, the Raiders would represent the Big 12 South in the inaugural Big 12 Championship game to be played December 7 in the TWA Dome in St. Louis, Mo.

Kickoff of the Texas game is scheduled for 6 p.m. November 9. Fox Sports will broadcast the game on a regional basis.

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