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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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Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp attends the Class of 1972 50-year reunion in Kyle Field on April 20, 2022.
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Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
The Battalion May 4, 2024

Bears give No. 24 A&M first scare of season

It came down to one play.
With two seconds left and the Aggies leading 16-10, Baylor quarterback Greg Cicero’s 40-yard “Hail Mary”pass into the A&M end zone went unanswered, as sophomore defensive back Dawon Gentry came down with the interception to give the Aggies a six point win over the Baylor Bears.
The six point margin of victory is A&M’s 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 11-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, as neither team drove more than 20 yards.
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 in Big 12) failed to move the ball and Baylor punter Adam Stiles pinned A&M at its own 11-yard line.
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 after running back Jonathan Golden scored on a one-yard run.
A&M finally got on the board with 10:59 left in the half, capping an 11-play drive with a 48-yard field goal by Scates — the longest of his career.
The Bears’ Stiles replied, connecting with a career long of his own and nailing a 50-yarder to give Baylor a 10-3 lead.
With time winding down in the half and the Aggies needing to score, A&M drove to the Baylor one-yard line in 13 plays.
Faced with fourth-and-goal with 13 seconds left in the half, the Aggies turned to freshman running back Keith Joseph. But Joseph’s dive over the pile was stopped just short of the end zone, ending A&M’s longest drive of the half.
“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 on the ground, the worst rushing performance this season by the Aggies.
“I think our defense came in here and played lights out,” said Baylor football 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 lead at halftime was the first time the ears have led a Big 12 team after the first half since 1998.
The lead lasted until near the end of the third quarter.
On its opening drive of the second half, A&M moved deep into Baylor territory again, but 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 of the Bears, who returned seven defensive starters from last season. “[Our offense] just couldn’t get it done. You’ve got to give Baylor’s defense a lot of credit.”
As has been the case lately for the Aggies, it was the defense that stepped up, holding the Bears scoreless in the second half while allowing Baylor to drive past the A&M 40-yard line just one time.
The Aggies’ lone touchdown came six minutes later, as Joseph scored on a five yard run.
The score gave A&M its first lead of the game at 13-10, and came on the heels of an 85-yard drive — the longest scoring drive of the season for the Aggies.
The A&M defense, which has not allowed a point in the fourth quarter this season, preserved the lead in the final frame.
Freshman defensive lineman Marcus Jasmin made the biggest play of his young career, blocking a 33-yard field goal attempt by Stiles three minutes into the fourth quarter.
The importance of Jasmin’s block was two-fold — it allowed the Aggies to keep the lead and gave 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 in the game.
The Aggies had a chance to put the game away after Baylor turned the ball over on downs, but the struggling A&M offense stumbled again.
The Bears got the ball back on their own 30-yard line with 37 seconds remaining.
The Bears drove to the A&M 40-yard line in four plays.
Junior cornerback Sammy Davis batted down Cicero’s first shot at the end zone with three seconds left 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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