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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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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Bowl bound

 
 

After accepting the bid to the SBC Cotton Bowl from bowl chairman Gayle Earls on Sunday, the No. 22 Texas A&M football team is excited to stay in Texas and compete in its first bowl appearance since the Galleryfurniture.com Bowl in the 2001 season.
“This is a great conclusion to our season and with what these players have been able to accomplish,” said A&M Head Coach Dennis Franchione. “We’re fortunate to go to a New Year’s Day bowl game in the state of Texas, especially one with such great tradition.”
The Aggies will face the No. 15 Tennessee Volunteers in the two teams’ first match-up since A&M was under the direction of coach Paul “Bear” Bryant in his final game at A&M, in the 1957 Gator Bowl. The game is set for 10 a.m., Jan. 1, 2005, in the historic Fair Park district in downtown Dallas.
Tennessee Head Coach Phillip Fulmer said he is ecstatic about returning to Dallas for the Volunteers’ sixth appearance at the Cotton Bowl.
“Dennis has done just a fantastic job in a short time turning their program around to where they’re accustomed,” Fulmer said. “We’re excited to be playing a team like Texas A&M. They have a fabulous tradition, as great of a tradition as any in the country. There’s the 12th Man, their stadium and their fan support.”
Franchione said the game would be a test for the Aggies and a chance to finish their season on a high note.
“Playing Tennessee will be a real challenge having coached against them before. They have good athletes and are well-coached,” Franchione said. “This is a great reward for the players and the team for the season they’ve had. It’s been an exciting one. This is a really special opportunity.”
While there was an uncertainty as to which game the Aggies would attend and talk of a possible Holiday Bowl appearance, , junior free safety Jaxson Appel said that overall, the team is excited to have been offered this bid.
“Some guys had some places they wanted to go, some wanted to go to California because they had never been there,” Appel said after the announcement Sunday. “The overall general consensus is that we’re happy to just go anywhere. Me, personally, I’m happy to stay in Texas, being a Texas boy and all. It’s also exciting because my family can come to the game.”
Appel said this was a good ending to a great year and hopes the Aggies can finish out strong with a win.
“One of our preseason goals was to go to a bowl and win. When you set your goals and attain them, it’s more rewarding,” Appel said. “You want to send seniors out on a good note and win your last game for the whole off-season, because off-season is a long time if you lost that last game. It’s a happy feeling going into off-season on a win. It’s good for recruiting and good for where Coach Fran wants the program to go. It will be great playing perennial power Tennessee.”
Junior quarterback Reggie McNeal said he was generally pleased with the way the season went and is looking forward to going to such a prestigious bowl game.
“To be able to lead the team as far as we went this year is always good. We need to be prepared and ready to play,” McNeal said.
McNeal said that because of the way the Aggie fans tend to travel, and with the game being in such close proximity to so many Aggies, he feels like the Cotton Bowl will be like a home game for A&M.
“A lot more of our fans are going to be there,” McNeal said. “My mom won’t fly, so she can drive up there, and that means a lot to me.

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