Check out part one of the GBH "Favorite Aggie Sports Moments" series
It's time to continue the countdown, and there's some good stuff coming today - a few callbacks to days gone by, another moment from Johnny, and a flood of Texas/Baylor/Sooner tears.
Let's get started.
#20 - Sip QB Waits For The 12th Man (Football vs. Texas; 1985)
Full disclosure: I was born in 1986. This isn't exactly a firsthand account.
This moment came during a different era in college athletics. A time when, apparently, penalties could be called on the home team for excessive crowd noise (which would be a complete disaster in today's CFB world). Keep that in mind.
Now, let's set the stage. The Ags and Longhorns are both 6-1 in the SWC, and an A&M victory guarantees an outright conference title and an appearance in the Cotton Bowl for the first time since 1967. Kyle Field is sold out, and tufts of cotton are rolling through the concrete ramps. This game is a big deal.
As you might imagine, the crowd was extremely loud, thanks in no small part to a quick 21-0 lead by the good guys. Then, on a 3rd and 10, sip QB Brett Stafford foolishly decides that he's just not going to snap the ball until the opposition's crowd settles down.
So he does this.
For ninety seconds
Finally, the crowd gives in just enough for Mr. Polly Prissy Pants to step up to the line. And as he goes under center Aggies start flooding to the line of scrimmage.
The ball is snapped... and, well, just take a look for yourself.
The Ags went on to win that game 42-10 (on Jackie Sherrill's 42nd birthday, no less), and they carried their coach off the field en route to a Cotton Bowl dismantling of Bo Jackson's Auburn (hint: we'll see him again).
Unpopular opinion alert: This game needs to come back.
Every other SEC school with a natural non-SEC rival plays them annually. Every single one. Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, and even Kentucky shouldn't play their rivalry games based on the criteria I've heard from the "never play Texas again" crowd... but they play anyway.
Why? Because they can. Because it's a rivalry. Because while the sensible move may be to ignore these games unless they provide a clear advantage for your program, the SEC move is to challenge (and beat) your neighbor because they suck and you're awesome.
Both schools need to bury the hatchet and get this game back on the schedule [/end unpopular opinion]
#19 - The Johnny Hop (Football vs. Duke; 2013 Chick-Fil-A Bowl)
Well, I might have my answer to the "how much weight does a recent moment carry" question. We've already hit our second Johnny entry AND our second entry from the most recent A&M game in general. Short term memory FTW.
I do have to admit, there's a certain argument to be made for including his "final sign-off," so to speak. One more moment of brilliance, one more magical escape from the pocket, and one more "No Johnny No No NO NO WAIT YES YES YES" for Aggies across the globe.
How did he do it? How on earth. I don't understand.
#18 - McNeal to Porter (Football vs. Oklahoma; 2002)
Growing up, I always watched the high school state championships over the holidays with my extended family.
We usually had a passing interest in a handful of Aggie recruits, but we mostly watched because it's football and we're in Texas. In 2001, however, we tuned in specifically to watch one Reggie McNeal. We'd heard a ton about the electric A&M commit from Lufkin, but we hadn't seen him play. And man, did he deliver. Reggie had almost 400 yards of total offense and a few "holy ****" plays for good measure, all on a bum ankle. The offseason plaudits rolled in, but his commitment held firm. He was going to be an Aggie, and we were freaking excited.
Fast forward to 2002 and a visit from the #1 BCS team in the country, the Oklahoma Sooners. Reggie was still the backup, but he relieved an ineffective Mark Ferris in the second quarter. Immediately, the Aggie offense opened up. Reggie was dynamic, aggressive, and willing to take shots downfield. One of those early shots paid off, and the Ags were able to stay within seven heading into the last drive of the half.
Then, on the last play before halftime.... this.
Reggie threw for two more touchdowns in the second half, and a late Terrence Kiel interception sealed a famous victory.
#17 - Toooooombs (Football vs. Oklahoma; 2000)
Before we had the J-Train we had Ja'Mar Toombs, a punishing fullback who didn't seek contact as much as he embraced it. Filling the hole against this guy was typically a poor decision, and it was almost always detrimental to the defender's
He was a beast, and he was promoted to primary ball carrier by the time #1 Oklahoma rolled into town in November of 2000.
This was the first visit by a #1 squad to Kyle since 1977, and a crowd of 87,188 (at that point the largest CFB crowd in the state's history) was primed to make this a day to remember. The good guys jumped out to a 24-10 third quarter lead, but the Sooners replied with eleven straight points to close the quarter. With momentum squarely on the sideline of the Land Thieves, a big play was in order.
And on the ensuing drive, Toombs submitted perhaps the most impressive TD run in the history of A&M Football.
Five. Five defenders. And the forward momentum never stopped. Poor Dave South probably lost his voice for four weeks after this TD call, but I'm sure it was worth every busted blood vessel. The Sooners did eventually come back to win this game (BAS exists for a reason), but the raw emotion connected to this play earned it a deserved spot in our top 25.
#16 - The Baptism (Men's Basketball vs. Baylor; 2008)
For a short time in Men's Basketball, Baylor was our biggest rival. Maybe it was inevitable when two basketball doormats rose to power within 100 miles of each other, but the hate for those late 2000's Drew squads seemed really raw. Like Texas hate, but without the backdrop of begrudging respect.
This hate was nearing its peak when the Bears clipped us in a 5OT thriller at Reed, and all signs pointed towards an equally crazy game during the return trip to Waco that year.
But that wasn't enough. As the remainder of the Big XII season played out, it became clear that the Ags needed that game (on Baylor's senior night, no less) to feel comfortable about an NCAA tourney birth.
So, what happened next? Everything. Everything happened.
- With two minutes remaining, Joseph Jones sets the greatest screen in the history of basketball en route to an easy basket to put the Aggies up eight.
- 5'10" Baylor Guard Tweety Carter, the recipient of the Pride of Normangee, is presumed dead at mid-court.
- The Baylor faithful do not take kindly to these events and begin booing mercilessly.
- Words are exchanged between the two squads (staff, players, just about everyone) and both sides are held back from fighting.
- Trash is thrown on to the court by
the extremely angry home fans who had already thrown trash earlier in the gametwo random Aggies.
- An angry old Baylor fan runs towards the two Aggies and starts yelling at point blank range.
- A third Aggie runs down from his seat to confront the old Baylor fan. Booing + random crowd yelling intensifies. Riot appears imminent.
- Security escorts the Ags out of the building to a fresh, somehow even louder, chorus of boos.
- The game finally resumes, and A&M hits their free throws down the stretch (sigh, those were the days) to close the game out.
- With a few seconds remaining, a long rebound finds its way to Donald Sloan at midcourt...
- Sloan, who later confirmed on TexAgs radio that he had planned the dunk, drops the mic on the Ferrell Center with a hellacious windmill off the glass as time expires.
- The moment is forever immortalized in this photo.
- Here, just watch.
- Even more trash is thrown onto the court, probably by the two Aggies who are no longer in the arena, and the game is over.
- One more time. Just look at it. It's so pretty.