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:
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.