Touchdowns are an odd and inconsistent commodity. A quarterback in the right system can account for dozens each season. A backup running back can lead the team. A tight end might be the most valuable and versatile player in an offense and only manage a handful.
But non-offensive touchdowns are something special altogether. Some of the best defensive players can go an entire career without scoring. Other just have a knack for it. But whenever it happens, it’s a jolt like nothing else. It’s the purest form of adrenaline for the viewer, especially at a crucial moment in a big game. Here are the best Aggie non-offensive scores from each of our first five seasons in the SEC:
2012: Steven Jenkins 37-yard interception return for TD against Ole Miss
Playing at night in Oxford for the program’s first-ever SEC road game. No problem. A pair of first-year head coaches with fiery quarterbacks and something to prove. Somehow the Aggies missed an extra point, a field goal, and turned the ball over six times and still won. This pick-six off the forced pressure right before halftime was the winning score. The previous play (Ryan Swope fumbling after a long pass reception) is included in this highlight as a setup to illustrate how quickly the momentum was swinging in this one:
2013: Toney Hurd, Jr 55-yard interception return for TD against Duke in the Chik-fil-A Bowl.
Manziel’s final college game. Legendary comeback. This one doesn’t need any more words.
2014: Deshazor Everett 65-yard blocked FG return for TD at #3 Auburn
This was a bizarre game: bizarre because Texas A&M had taken an absolute pummeling in October, crashing out of the rankings faster and more spectacularly than a dumptruck full of mercury going off the rim of the Grand Canyon at speed. After eking out a narrow home win over ULM the week before, the team rolled up to Jordan-Hare to be ritualistically slaughtered by #3 Auburn. Also bizarre because the team built a big first half lead and still managed to win. Largely thanks to this bit of work from Deshazor Everett, who scored once as a sophomore in 2012, and managed two defensive touchdowns in 2013 while wearing a large club cast on his hand. Here it is in Spanish for max effect:
2015: Christian Kirk 79-yard punt return for TD against Arizona State.
This game was close until the third quarter, people forget. ASU was ranked 15th, and A&M was unranked. This was Kirk’s first collegiate game and it was against a program from his home state. Lots of story lines, etc. This was the first glimpse everyone got of what a thrilling player he was. He would also return a punt against Alabama later in the season. Not exactly freebies. Here it is from the end zone seats:
2016: Christian Kirk 93-yard punt return TD against [mumbles incoherently] uh just never mind who against, doesn’t matter
This game was a heap of rotting catfish offal in a stagnant muddy tributary of the Mississippi in August. This game was a deep-freeze full of haggis in a Dubai high-rise apartment three weeks after the power went out. This game made Fox’s Celebrity Boxing look as compelling and well-conceived as Breaking Bad. This game fell out of the ugly redwood and hit every leaf on the way down. Except Christian Kirk. Do not watch anything before or after this play:
As always, “best” is completely arbitrary. For bloggers, it just means “our favorite at this particular moment.” If you’ve got other great ones, share ‘em in the comments.