Thursday, August 22, 2013

My very last post about the Aggies

When Texas A&M left the Big 12 for the SEC, not many tears were shed in Texas.  As much as Baylor fans and Texas fans (and Tech fans, TCU fans, and SMU fans, for that matter) like to deride the Aggies, we love and miss the rivalries we shared.  Of course, for fans born after, say, 1975, Baylor's rivalry with A&M has hardly lived up to the name.  Nevertheless, I have some fond memories of great games against our neighbors down the river.  I have already written about the 1978 game, where Walter Abercrombie made his Baylor debut in a big way.  Here are a few more memorable games.

That momentous 1978 win in College Station started a streak against the Aggies.  They came to Waco in 1979, and took home a 17-7 loss.  (I'm sure I was at that game, but I don't specifically remember it.  Hey, I was 10.)  Baylor returned to College Station in 1980 and faced the Aggies in what has to have been the rainiest game I have ever sat through.  We sat behind Baylor's tubas, which didn't help our view of the field.  At times it was raining so hard that we couldn't see the opposite sideline.  But we endured, and, more importantly, the Bears endured, and in the end we saw the only view that mattered: a scoreboard that read Baylor 46, Texas A&M 7!  That season Baylor swept the SWC, and should have beaten San Jose State in Waco to finish the season undefeated.  Alas, 1980 was the last year in which Baylor won an outright conference championship--so far!
See the splashing on the field? What a wet game!
Photo from the BU Libraries Athletic Archive.
Baylor won again in 1981 (a four year streak!), lost at College Station in 1982, tied in Waco in 1983, and won in 1984 and 1985.  So from 1978 to 1985, Baylor was 6-1-1!  The 35-and-under crowd can hardly believe that kind of streak, because after 1985, A&M absolutely dominated.  In 1990, my senior year at Baylor, we travelled to College Station and tied 20-20.  Bleh.  (By the way, those had to be the worst seats ever.  With the new stadium renovation at A&M, I hope they don't put the visitor's section in Bryan!)

So after that mini-streak in the 70s and 80s, Baylor fans had to endure long years of painful losses to the Aggies.  From 1986 to 2003, Aggies ruled the Battle of the Brazos, 17-0-1.  Few of those games were even close.  In 2003, the Bears were absolutely humiliated 73-10.  (Well, at least they scored that year.  The year before they were shut out 41-0 at Floyd Casey Stadium.)

The 16th ranked Aggie team coming to Waco in 2004 didn't know what was coming.  After two blowout wins in a row, and with the knowledge that A&M hadn't lost to Baylor since these guys were in diapers, they didn't expect to be fighting for a win as time ran out.  But there they were, facing Baylor in overtime.  The Aggies had been up by 10 at the half, but the Bears tied it up at 20 with under 6 minutes left.  The two teams swapped TDs again to go into OT tied at 27.

The Aggies scored first in overtime, then Baylor came back and scored on a Shawn Bell pass to Dominique Ziegler at the goal line.  Coach Morris made a bold move then, not only deciding to go for 2, but to do it with the exact same play they had just run!  And it worked!  After the drought against A&M (and every other team in the Big 12) that win was sweet!  The crowd went wild!  The goal posts were torn down and carried all the way to campus!  My parents (and many other long-suffering fans) were embracing and weeping!  Take a moment to relive those glorious moments:

Unfortunately, the 2004 win did not turn the tide.  Baylor would only beat A&M once more before the Aggies left for the SEC.  Few and far between though they were, I'll chose to dwell on those wins rather than the many losses.  Aggies, it was a fun ride, one that in recent decades you enjoyed more than we did.  Perhaps we'll meet again, some day. . . .

No comments: