(AP) COLLEGE STATION, Texas - The Orange Bowl is full of all sorts of ghosts, as Nebraska, Oklahoma and even some Dallas Cowboys can attest.
Texas A&M coach Dennis Franchione doesn't want his players afraid of anything that may go bump on a sticky Miami night.
The last few weeks, Franchione has used a devilish expression when talking about his Aggies: Drive the spike. His meaning is clear. When an opponent is down, finish the job. No. 20 A&M (3-0) must do just that Thursday against Miami (2-1).
Franchione said A&M didn't "drive the spike" two weeks ago against Fresno State. The Bulldogs erased a 19-point deficit and lured the Aggies into a shootout. A&M eventually won 47-45 in triple overtime.
Last week against Louisiana-Monroe, A&M finished with authority. The Aggies scored on nine out of 10 possessions, did not have a single negative play and racked up 54 points in a 40-point rout.
"We wanted to come out, drive the spike and kill them, like a vampire," guard Kirk Elder said. "I'm not saying that we're playing a bunch of vampires this week or last week. But we wanted to kill them and get the game over with."
The Aggies have driven toward the end zone with authority so far this season. The offense has generated 15 touchdowns and five field goals on 20 trips inside the opponents' 20-yard line. That's a 100-percent success rate, tops in the Big 12 along with Missouri (11-for-11).
"We know that you only get so many opportunities down there," Franchione said. "When you play good teams like we're going to play Thursday night, you know that you better cash in your opportunities. Our team so far has been able to do a pretty good job of that."
Carpenter focused: Senior cornerback Marquis Carpenter credits teammate Danny Gorrer with helping him to stay positive despite not getting a lot of playing time last year. Having a 2-month-old daughter has also forced Carpenter to grow up and buckle down.
As a result, Carpenter may be playing the most consistent football of his A&M career. That's why the Florida native started last week and will start again Thursday.
"All the guys know I'm capable of playing good ball," Carpenter said. "A lot of guys congratulated me on the last two weeks, and I really appreciate all of that."
What's the play? With a short week of preparation, A&M must rely on the fundamental aspects of its run-oriented offense. There simply isn't time to install many new plays. What the Aggies practiced during two-a-days will probably come to the forefront against the Hurricanes.
Quarterback Stephen McGee said the offense has a base set of plays. The Aggies will try running them from different formations. In three games, A&M is averaging six yards per play.
Briefly: Fullback Chris Alexander will play Thursday after missing last week's game with an undisclosed injury.