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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 pitcher Chris Cortez (10) reacts during Texas A&M’s game against Oregon at the NCAA Bryan-College Station Super Regional at Olsen Field on Saturday, June 8, 2024. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
One step away
June 8, 2024

Football team wins over critics


Many things can be written about Friday’s football game against the University of Texas, and most of them aren’t pleasant.
One could point to the ineffectiveness of the Texas A&M running game that gained only 31 yards while others could compare the offensive line to that of a six-man team from Smalltown, Texas, and certainly no one can forget about the complete and utter collapse of the Aggies in the fourth quarter.
But as I come to the point in the article where two roads diverge, I will take the one less traveled.
Despite a disparaging 26-13 loss to the Longhorns, the Aggies should get nothing but a big pat on the back (or maybe a soft one … there could still be a couple of sore bruises).
Rewind to the beginning of the season, before A&M embarked to Utah to kick off the season. Many critics didn’t foresee much for the Aggies, some picking A&M to finish fifth in the Big 12 South just ahead of Baylor.
Even after the Aggies turned around from a tough loss to the Utes and shut out Wyoming 31-0, many were still unsure of things to come. One sports writer even went as far as to say the Aggies weren’t playing with heart and that things looked no different from last season (who would say such preposterous things?).
But win-by-win, the Aggies started turning eyes, heads, hearts and any other body parts previously turned away from the football team.
Before naysayers could say more, A&M had strung together six consecutive wins, two against ranked teams. Then there was the bump in the road known as Waco, but even after that loss, A&M came out against Oklahoma and played with enough passion to lose to the No. 2 team in the nation by only a touchdown.
And look at where the Aggies entered Friday’s game: a win away from a possible Cotton Bowl bid with a good possibility of still appearing at the Holiday Bowl.
The Aggies put on their scuba gear and swam through the never-ending questions of “how much better was this team going to be than the one that finished 4-8” and “how would the defense that couldn’t stop anything a
before stop some of the best backs in the nation” to get where they stood.
They seemed to be on a mission: not just to win some games, but to show every person in across the United States that just about anything can be done.
Maybe head coach Dennis Franchione distributed “The Little Engine that Could” to all the players, or maybe there’s something more to those little maroon wristbands he distributed to the team in Utah. Whatever it was, it worked.
Though the Longhorns stomped all over the Aggies in the second half, every A&M player who touched the field played with every ounce of heart that he could conjure up to the last minute, something they’ve been doing all season long.
And while some figured out more quickly than others how much effort the Aggies were putting forth, it would be hard to find a person who could say this season is a disappointment. The Aggies have done something more than win games, they’ve accomplished their mission of silencing the critics.
And as one of the pre-season skeptics, I’m going to print something that most sportswriters would never say: Never has it felt so good to be so wrong.

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