Thursday, April 11, 2013

An early Baylor road trip memory at Kyle Field

I was Baylor-bred, through and through.  Both my parents went to Baylor, and we were going to Baylor football games from my earliest memory.  But not all of the family bled green and gold. . . . My paternal grandfather was--gasp!--an Aggie!  He came by it honestly.  A WW2 veteran and electrical engineer, he was typical Aggie material.  With his influence, and the influence of Steve Price, my best friend, I, for a short period of time, was an Aggie fan.  I remember even wearing an Aggie shirt!  My parents must have been so ashamed.

To solidify my Aggie-ness, Granddaddy took my brother and me to Kyle field for a football game.  The year was 1978, and the nationally ranked Aggies, at 5-1, were ready to take on the Baylor Bears.  Or so they thought. We stayed in Granddaddy and Grandmommy's RV in the lot next to Kyle field, and I'm sure Mark and I were decked out in Aggie gear.  But something unexpected happened that day.  A freshman named Walter Abercrombie stepped onto the field, refusing to be intimidated by the boys in maroon.  As told by the Baylor football website:

"During his first collegiate game in 1978 against No. 12 Texas A&M, Abercrombie set the standard for what was to be expected by rushing for 207 yards, establishing an NCAA record for rushing yards in a first contest." 

Ultimately, Baylor won 24-6.  Well, that did it for A&M!  No more Aggie shirts for me!  Granddaddy told my parents that, as we were walking back to the RV, I declared that I didn't want to go to A&M after all!

That was a turning point for me, but a turning point for Baylor, too.  1978 was a losing season, but with Abercrombie running the ball, and with the indomitable Mike Singletary on defense, the Bears won the Peach Bowl in 1979, and after winning the SWC championship in 1980, played in the Cotton Bowl.

Abercrombie ran for an amazing 10.89 yards per carry that game, and went on to set the career rushing record at Baylor, rushing for 3,665 yards, a record which may never be broken.  He will always be remembered as one Baylor's greats, but, more importantly for me, I will always remember him as the man who saved me from being an Aggie!

The Baylor web site has a nice write up about the game.

1 comment:

slothsrcool said...

Great blog. I didn't know about this one until today. Love this story. So glad you came fully over to the light side. And so glad Walter ran over the aggies that day. He was one incredible back.