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Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Longhorns: Favorite Texas-A&M Moments 

For much of my younger years, my beloved Horns often spent Turkey Day looking up at the wrong end of the scoreboard. Between 1984 and 1994, Texas beat rival Texas A&M just one time. One freaking time.

Fortunately Orangebloods have seen a reversal of fortune since then, losing to the Aggies just twice in the last nine meetings. Because of the dominant streaks, however, the Lone Star Showdown hasn't really produced as many memorable games as the Texas-OU Red River Shootout.

That's not to say that great Longhorn moments don't exist. Here are my five favorites, in descending order:

5) Nov. 24, 2000: #12 Texas 43, #22 A&M 17 On the eve of the big game, my friend Paul told us about a dream he had that Texas SS Greg Brown would intercept a pass on the first play from scrimmage and return it for a TD. When it actually happened I was too busy celebrating to remember Paul's presience, but he reminded me later. Brown's TD reminded the Aggies that they hadn't won in Austin in six years and weren't destined to win on this day either.

4) Dec. 2, 1995: #9 Texas 16, #16 A&M 6 On the hallowed grass of Kyle Field, Texas claimed the final Southwest Conference championship. Ricky Williams led the way with 150+ yards, but ask any Texas fan about the play of that game, and they'll name Bryant Westbrook as the star. With the game all but wrapped up, Westbrook took aim at Heisman hopeful "'Lectric" Leland McElroy on an Aggie screen pass. Westbrook absolutely leveled McElroy and then proceeded to strut over his prone body. Texas strutted out of College Station as SWC Champs forever.

3) Nov. 24, 2000: #12 Texas 43, #22 A&M 17 After Brown's TD return, A&M managed to crawl back into the game. Then sophomore QB Chris Simms decided to flaunt his trio of bluechip WRs, tossing third quarter TDs to Roy Williams, B.J. Johnson and Sloan Thomas. Williams also scored on a reverse that left the punch-drunk Aggie faithful scratching their heads.

2) Dec. 1, 1990: #5 Texas 28, A&M 27 The Horns weathered an early 14-point deficit to take a late 28-21 lead. Then A&M marched down the field for the potential game-tying TD in the waning minutes. Rather than kick the PAT to even the game, A&M went for the win with a two-point conversion. Aggie RB Darren Lewis punished the Horns all day long, but on a toss sweep he ran into a 5'9" brick wall named Mark Berry. Berry stuffed Lewis at the two and the Horns held on to beat A&M.

1) Nov. 27, 1998: Texas 26, #5 A&M 24 Ricky Williams' second half fumbles made this game much closer than the scoreboard indicated. Yet no one will deny that this was Ricky's day. Early in the second period, he took a handoff and raced off tackle. Sixty yards later he dove into the end zone for a TD, in the process breaking Tony Dorsett's all-time NCAA career rushing record. As long as I live, I will have a hard time imagining any single sports moment (short of a Texas national title) eclipsing the elation that I, and 83,000 other fans, felt in those six seconds.


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