No game was bigger that year. It was November of 1989. And the Arkansas Razorbacks were coming to town. Arkansas had a loss to Texas earlier that year. The Aggies had been outscored by Texas Tech (we were robbed). Anyway, The site was Kyle Field, where we had not lost that year. With a single loss in conference that year, both teams were playing for a likely Cotton Bowl berth. What an atmosphere it was. I remember it well. So the game starts. And Arkansas marches right down the field on the Aggie defense and punches in a quick touchdown. Quinn Grovey, the Razorback QB, was so quick on the option. He could execute the option like an art form. And we were down 7-0. No sweat. We'll get it back I thought. So Lance Pavlas and the Aggie Offense takes the field. And on the second play from scrimmage, Lance throws a pass that hits a lineman's helmet, bounces straight up into the air. Unfortunately, an Arkansas Linebacker catches the errant pass at the 19, and walks into the endzone untouched. And we are down 14-0 with over 11:00 minutes left in the first quarter. At that point, the game looked less than encouraging.
But the game wasn't over. Far from it. The Aggie defense became a wall after that first three minutes. And by the half, we trailed 14-10. The third quarter belonged to us. We scored a touchdown, bringing the score to 17-14. Then they scored a field goal and tied it at 17. At the end of the third quarter the Aggies drove to inside the Razorback 10 yard line. It was 4th an 1 from the 5 yard line. And we kicked the field goal. We should have gone for it I think. But we didn't. So the Aggies lead was 20-17. And the fourth quarter began. Arkansas had a long drive that came down to fourth and 5 at the 30 yard line of Texas A&M. They were in field goal range. But there was only 8:00 minutes left in the game. And a tie would send the Aggies to the Cotton Bowl. It was complicated, but Arkansas had gone to the Cotton Bowl the year before, and with matching conference records (a loss and a tie), the team that hasn't been to the Cotton bowl most recently goes. As they had been the previous year, the hogs would not go if there was a tie for the conference championship. So they felt compelled to go for it. And the pass was batted down. But the official (who graduated from Arkansas) saw pass interference where there was none. A very controversial call. And the Razorbacks punched it in for a go ahead TD. Well, the defense was miffed, and they blocked the extra point attempt so the hog lead was 23-20. And there was time left.
So the Aggies take over for a final climactic drive for the win. They got to the Razorback 40 yard line with three minutes left. And then disaster struck. It was 2nd and 3. And the hogs blitzed Pavlas. He was cornered, so he threw a wild pass. Straight to the Arkansas Free Safety. Straight to him. Nobody within 20 yards of this guy. So he makes the easy interception, and it's up to the defense to try and pull it out. Well, we stop 'em cold on three plays. The time outs kept the time within reason. On fourth down, the Aggies pinned our ears back. We were going for the punt block. And they knew it. We'd just blocked an extra point after all. So their punter got the ball, trotted back into the endzone and took a knee. A calculated move. That made the score 23-22 them. With under two minutes to play and no time outs, the Aggies were unable to move the ball into scoring range with the methodical running attack we had. And so we were outscored in a bitter defeat by a single point. It was probably the bitterest I ever knew at A&M in the four years I was there.