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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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One step away
June 8, 2024

A&M scrapes past Baylor, 16-10

It came down to one play.
With two seconds left and the Aggies leading 16-10, Baylor quarterback Greg Cicero’s 40-yard prayer into the A&M end zone went unanswered, as sophomore defensive back Dawon Gentry came down with the interception to give the Aggies a nail-biting six point win over the Baylor Bears.
The six-point margin of victory is the smallest over Baylor since the Aggies defeated the Bears 19-13 in 1992. A&M (5-0, 2-0 in Big 12) now owns a ten-year winning streak over Baylor.
“We’re always happy to win,” said football head coach R.C. Slocum. “But we can’t take it for granted. I’m glad our guys showed character enough to hang in there and get the win.”
The turnover-filled game turned into a battle of defense in the first quarter.
The Aggies appeared to take an early lead after a 40-yard field goal by sophomore Cody Scates, but the kick was nullified by an illegal formation penalty on the Aggies. The five-yard penalty forced Scates to try again, and the 45-yard attempt was wide left.
After taking over on downs, Baylor (2-2, 0-2) failed to move the ball, and Baylor punter Adam Stiles pinned A&M at its own 11-yard line after a 34-yard punt.
On the Aggies second play, junior quarterback Mark Farris was hit by Baylor’s A.C. Collier and fumbled. The Bears recovered on the A&M one-yard line.
Baylor took a 7-0 lead two plays later, as running back Jonathan Golden scored on a one-yard carry.
The Aggies got on the board with 10:59 in the half, capping an 11-play, 39-yard drive with a Scates 48-yard field goal, the longest of his career.
The Bears’ Stiles answered, connecting with a career long of his own, nailing a 50-yarder with 3:40 left in the first half.
The Aggie offense answered, driving to the Baylor one-yard line in 13 plays. Faced with 4th-and-goal with 13 seconds in the half, the Aggies turned to freshman running back Keith Joseph. But Joseph’s dive over the line was stopped just short of the end zone, and the Bears took over on downs.
“We went all the way down there, but had a hard time getting it in,” Slocum said. “We weren’t getting the surges we need from the offensive line.
Baylor held A&M to 116 yards rushing.
“I think our defense came in here and played lights out,” said Baylor head coach Kevin Steele. “Our defense played extremely well against a very talented A&M team. We got in there and mixed it up.”
Baylor’s 10-3 lead at halftime was the first time the Bears have led a Big 12 team going into halftime since 1998.
The Bears’ lead lasted until near the end of the third quarter.
In its opening drive of the half, A&M moved to the Baylor three-yard line before the Baylor defense forced the Aggies to settle for another Scates field goal. The kick brought the score to 10-6.
“I’d say they are a much-improved team,” Farris said. “[Our offense] just couldn’t get it done. You’ve got give Baylor’s defense a lot of credit.”
After the A&M score, it was the Aggie defense that stepped up, holding the Bears scoreless in the second half while allowing Baylor to penetrate the A&M 40-yard line just one time. The Aggies have not been scored on in the fourth quarter this season.
The Aggies’ lone touchdown came six minutes later, as Joseph scored on a five yard run up the middle. The touchdown gave A&M its first lead of the game, 13-10, and came on the heels of an 80-yard drive, the longest scoring drive of the season for A&M. Joseph finished as the game’s leading rusher with 52 yards on 12 carries.
The A&M defense preserved the lead in the fourth quarter. Freshman defensive lineman Marcus Jasmin blocked a 33-yard field goal attempt by Stiles with 12 minutes left in the game. Jasmin’s block was two-fold: it allowed the Aggies to keep the lead as well as giving A&M a chance to run more time off the clock.
“Coach told me to keep going in hard,” Jasmin said. “I went in hard and got my hand on it.”
Two drives later, another Scates field goal gave A&M a 16-10 lead with 3:37 remaining.
With time winding down, the Wrecking Crew forced Baylor to punt after four straight incompletions by Baylor quarterback Greg Cicero.
A&M was able to kill just 1:36, giving the Bears the ball back with 37 seconds remaining.
The Bears drove to the A&M 40-yard line in four plays.
Junior defensive back Sammy Davis batted down Cicero’s first shot at the end zone with :03 on the clock, setting up Gentry’s last second heroics.
“Any time the ball is in the air, you never know,” said senior defensive back Jay Brooks. “Our secondary did a great job of ripping [the Baylor player’s] hands off the ball and coming up with the it in the pile.”

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