The Cotton Bowl

Dejected Aggies

The Texas A&M Aggies had a great season in 1992. They were undefeated in the regular season. 12-0. And then the Cotton Bowl. And the #3 Aggies were slated to face off against the #4 Florida State Seminoles. But dangling at #5 were the Fightin' Irish of Notre Dame. And Steve Hatchell, the chairman of the selection committee couldn't resist the money that the Irish represented. The good pick was #4 Florida State. But he went and picked Notre Dame. A tough game for the Aggies to win. The Irish had Rick Mirer, Jerome Bettis, and Ricky Waters. All in the same backfield. And A&M was crippled. Before the game, the Dallas Morning News revealed that several A&M players had been paid for work they hadn't done doing summer jobs for a prominent Dallas alumnus. The players included Greg Hill, sophomore sensation. As a result, six A&M players were suspended from play, one of which was our star running back. So going into the Cotton Bowl, A&M was without key players, and had the shadow of NCAA impropriety hanging over our heads. And it showed. The Aggies played their hearts out in the first half of the game, and held Notre Dame to 0 points until late in the second quarter when Lake Dawson, flanker, caught a nifty slant pattern, and streaked for a 42 yard touchdown. So the Irish led by 7 at the half. But the strength of the Irish was their ability to wear down the opposition. I cannot count the number of times we had Jerome Bettis wrapped up for a loss, and he shook off defenders and powered for a 5 yard gain.

All in all, that was one of the most depressing games I had to endure as an Aggie. Notre Dame wore us down, and beat us 28-3. They dominated the football game. And in the last game I would ever march in as a bandsman, we were outscored, and ended the season at #7 with a 12-1 record. I remember that we had defeated Stanford in the Pigskin classic 10-7, and that Stanford had beaten Notre Dame. So, in theory, we should have been able to beat them as they had lost to a team we beat. Reality, of course, is far different. It was a long drive back to New Mexico from Dallas that day. It had been annoying falling to the Florida State Seminoles the previous year 10-2. But in that game we fumbled six times, and threw two picks. We handed the game to the Noles. But Notre Dame was better than us that day. Would the Aggies have won with Greg Hill in? Maybe. I like to think they would have. Without him, the Irish keyed on Rodney Thomas and there was no double threat. Wihout a doubt, the NCAA scandal looming took away players, and negatively affected A&M's morale. So much of college football is emotion. And ours was at a low going into the game. It seems apparent that the Aggies would have done much better offensively if they weren't distracted and missing one of the key skill position players.

As always, we won the halftime, and here is a picture of our performance. The game was less than I would have hoped for, but, as always, the Aggies stood proudly and faced the opposition with a competitive spirit. No one has ever or can ever take our pride away. For we are the Aggies, the Aggies are we! From Texas A-M-C.

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