A&M's Most Important Wins: No. 11-15

Aggie Websider's David Sandhop counts down Aggie football's 20 most significant wins in the 1974-2012 era. In this installment, we look at games No. 11-15 on the list and provide details from those contests and why they made our list.

No. 15 Texas A&M 52 Texas Tech 30, 2009 Jones Stadium in Lubbock

Going back to the days of R.C. Slocum and Spike Dykes, Lubbock was never an easy place for the Aggies to play. But especially during the Mike Leach era, Jones Stadium was a house of horrors. Most A&M fans don't realize just how bad things got against Texas Tech. Since 1995, the Red Raiders held an 11-3 advantage overall in the series going into the 2009 season. The Aggies hadn't won a game in Lubbock since 1993, and in the Leach era the average margin of defeat was an incredible 32.6 points.

So when the Aggies limped into Lubbock on a three-game losing streak and a 62-14 thumping by Kansas State a week earlier, nobody gave the Aggies a chance to win the game. Apparently, the Texas Tech players felt the same way. The A&M offense was on fire and dominated the game from The Opening moments, and the Aggies were never threatened in the 52-30 win over the No. 21 ranked and heavily-favored. The unexpected loss generated one of the best post-game press conference performances of all-time when Leach unleashed his "fat little girlfriends" rant to the media immediately after the game.

In the big picture, the game doesn't immediately stick out. However, at the time, the victory sparked hundreds of Aggie fans to meet the team buses at the Bright Complex in the early hours after midnight. The win also marked the turnaround in the series with A&M winning the final three games before heading off to the SEC.

In addition, the years of success by Leach combined with Texas A&M's struggles under Dennis Franchione allowed the Red Raiders (along w/ OSU) to start chipping away at the Aggies' long-time advantage in recruiting. That win along with subsequent victories over Texas Tech quickly reversed those recruiting trends.


No. 14 Texas A&M 9 Nebraska 6, 2010 Kyle Field in College Station

This nationally-televised prime time matchup with No. 9 Nebraska had several firsts (or lasts). The athletic department packed in over 90,000 spectators in Kyle Field for the first time in the historic stadium's 80+ years of Aggie football games. The game also marked the last time Texas A&M and Nebraska would face each other as Big 12 foes.

While there weren't many fireworks on the field in terms of scoring, the game had plenty of drama filled with sideline tantrums from the Pelini brothers, a Nebraska QB and his father who argued with their head coach, an "innocent" groin pinch, and a few controversial calls that kept emotions high despite the low score. Statistically, the game was virtually even with the Aggies nudging past the Huskers in total yards 310-306.

The close win was the fifth consecutive victory after the Aggies stumbled to a 3-3 start. Just five days later, the Aggies completed the three Big 12 power team parlay (OU, NU, Texas) for the first time in the Big 12 with a 24-17 triumph in Austin. The nine wins also marked only the second time in 12 seasons Texas A&M reached that milestone.


No. 13 Texas A&M 30 OU 26, 2002 Kyle Field in College Station

To be honest, in the big scheme of things this game didn't mean much. Well, at the time it was a huge game. In the week prior to Texas A&M taking down the No. 1 ranked Sooners, the posse was forming to remove R.C. Slocum as the long-time coach of the Aggies. A&M was treading water at 5-4 with a two-game losing streak in tow. However, it appeared at the time that slaying the No. 1 team in the country would save Slocum's job, especially with a winnable game against Missouri in College Station the following week. But, the Aggies suffered a hangover against the Tigers and lost 33-27 in double overtime. A week later Texas A&M was thumped 50-20 in Austin and the Slocum era was over.

The win over OU did provide some all-time memorable moments that consistently pop up on 12th Man video presentations at Kyle Field. Reggie McNeal's perfect 40-yard strike to Greg Porter in the back of the end zone for a touchdown in the closing seconds of the first half tied the game at 13-13 going to the break. McNeal hooked up with WR Terrence Murphy on two long TD strikes of 61 and 40 yards while Bethel Johnson hauled in a TD pass from 17 yards. That was the easy TD catch where Johnson was already celebrating with his two-to-the-chest and one to-the-sky before he finished the act of securing the ball.

Big, memorable moments in this game will always be remembered, and a team doesn't take down No. 1 very often. From that standpoint, this was a significant win. It also appeared to save Slocum's tenure at the time, but his fate was sealed the following week with a home loss to Missouri. For that fact, this game did not register higher on my list.


No. 12 Texas A&M 37 Texas 12, 1984 Memorial Stadium in Austin

It was Jackie Sherrill's third season at Texas A&M. The Aggies had invested a lot of money at the time in Sherrill who won a national championship with the Pitt Panthers. In fact, the university took a lot of heat from leaders in the state for chasing after Bo Schembechler and then Jackie Sherrill with a blank check. So when Sherrill started year three 1-5 in the Southwest Conference, the wolves were starting howl.

Not only were the Aggies sitting at 1-5, but the two best teams in the conference remained on the schedule. In 1984, Coach Jim Wacker and his Killer Frogs featured all-American running back Kenneth Davis and was ranked No. 17 coming into College Station in late November. A&M was coming off an uninspired 28-0 loss to Arkansas in Fayetteville. It didn't look good for Sherrill, especially with a season finale against Texas in Austin where A&M was 6-40 in the history of the football series.

The Aggies surprised the Horned Frogs 35-21 in College Station, but still few gave Texas A&M much hope of parlaying that promising performance into a victory in Austin. However, what resulted was the definitive turning point in the Sherrill era. The 37-12 win over Texas wasn't a fluke generated from Longhorn fumbles and miscues. The Aggies dominated on both sides of the ball, and the young talent controlled the line of scrimmage. The Aggies established a robust ground game tallying 287 yards on the ground and total offensive production of 455 yards which was a very big number in that era of football. On the flip side, Texas running backs managed just 29 yards and the offense managed only 80 total rushing yards.

A&M controlled every phase of the game, including special teams with a blocked field goal returned by Scott Polk deep into Texas territory. Nobody knew it at the time, but the 1984 win marked the first of six straight wins over the Longhorns and 10 of the next 11 contests. While Emory Bellard somewhat leveled the playing field with Texas in the 1970's, the 1984 win marked the beginning of a decade of dominance and a permanent shift of power in the series. While Texas eventually reversed the maroon trend in the late 1990's and 2000's, the days of the one-sided series seen in the 1940's, 1950's, and 1960's was over on December 1, 1984.


No. 11 Texas A&M 41 OU 13, 2012 Cotton Bowl in Arlington

When Commissioner Slive and the SEC Office directed the Capital One Bowl to keep its eyes on the loser of the SEC Championship Game and not Johnny Football and the Aggies, it was clear that the Cotton Bowl would be a big game. It wasn't just about winning the first Cotton Bowl in the last five tries, or a season-ending momentum builder for the offseason. No, this one was personal. Just months after leaving the Big 12, the Sooners carried the pride of the entire conference. Make no mistake, with Texas refusing to play the Aggies so soon after the divorce, Bob Stoops and OU was Deloss Dodds' proxy in the Cotton Bowl. While symbolic, this was a statement game. Could the resurgent Aggies take down the best of the Big 12 in the No. 11 Sooners, and in the process show Dodds and Ken Starr that Texas A&M not only survived the move to the SEC, but have thrived in the nation's toughest conference?

It was a close game for a half, but Johnny Manziel and the Aggies scored touchdowns on their first three second half drives while Mark Snyder and the defense made some effective adjustments that forced five punts in the latter frame. By the time the fourth quarter rolled around, it was a white wash by the Aggies in their icy whites. When the game ended to find the Aggies in complete control at 41-13, Bob Stoops was somber. The remaining Sooner fans were somber. The Texas fans were in shock, and the recruits knew which program rules the state of Texas in 2013.

Once again, the "pass-happy" Kevin Sumlin offense managed to control the game on the ground with 326 yards rushing, compared to 123 yards rushing for OU. Manziel accounted for 229 of those yards, and in his first game as a Heisman Trophy winner, he generated a total of 516 yards. In all, the Aggie offense churned out 633 yards against a historically stingy OU defense.

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