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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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One step away
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“The one I will remember most”

 
 

“We absolutely despised the University of Texas beyond any sort of reality.”
Class of 1959 Pat Robertson’s single statement sums up Aggies’ attitudes towards the Texas A&M and Texas rivalry during the era of Bear Bryant.
Gerald Still, class of 1958, concurs with Robertson about the passion of the rivalry.
“It was very, very intense. There were very few baseball games back then that didn’t result in a fist fight between Aggies and Longhorns,” Still said. “It was usually an awfully hostile environment. And of course A&M being all-male at the time, there was testosterone raging more than it probably should have. It was pretty intense.”
This fervor made A&M’s victory over Texas in 1956 all the more satisfying. The Aggies had not won in Austin since 1922 and lost 15 of the past 16 games against the Longhorns.
“We had gone there with good teams before, but it was as if there was a jinx,” Still said. “We just could not win in that Memorial Stadium. We made 16 previous trips there and had been defeated each time.”
However, the Aggies reversed their luck that Thanksgiving day in 1956.
“The athletes we had in that class were just unbelievable,” Robertson said. “John David Crow, [Charlie] Krueger, [Jack] Pardee. Those guys were just unbelievable.”
“We had a powerhouse of a team. We had several players who would become All-Americans and a future Heisman Trophy winner in John David Crow; Jack Pardee was a senior, he was an All-American running back,” Still said. “And Charlie Krueger was Class of ’58; he was an
All-American. And a number of them went on to play in the pros. And it was A&M from the get-go. It was like rubbing salt into a wound for the teasips.”
And from the get-go, the Aggie fans were going crazy in the stands. The A&M faithful wasted no time celebrating as they erupted after Crow punched in the first touchdown.
“It was the first time we had scored a touchdown in the south end zone. I happened to have the ball when we scored and I came back to the huddle and everyone was going crazy, our fans were just going crazy,” Crow said. “I said, ‘good gracious it’s the first quarter.’ I said in the huddle, ‘what in the world is going on?’ And someone said, ‘John, this is the first time A&M has ever scored on this side of the stadium.'”
One of those fanatical Aggies in the stands cheering his team to victory was Robertson. He, along with his date and the rest of the cadets, made the trip to Austin and did their part to will A&M to victory.
“It was just incredible. Oh it was just incredible. It was jam-packed, sold-out,” Robertson said. “A lot of the old exes were there and the whole Corps was there. Anytime we went someplace, there were 6,000 of us. It was very intimidating.”
As Still remembers, the Aggies jumped on the Longhorns early and often. A&M shot out to a 13-0 lead and used their punishing rushing attack to bury Texas, 37-21.
“I just remember how early we pounced on them. Our players played at their best,” Still said. “Back then there wasn’t a lot of passing; it was just real smash mouth football and we had some good horses to bring that about.”
After such a ground-breaking, jinx-reversing victory, a celebration was certainly at hand. And while their methods might have differed, both players and fans triumphantly rejoiced.
“The celebration was great, but you’ve got to understand that in those days, we played 60 minutes,” Crow said. “We never came off the field. Whether we won or lost, we were exhausted. We did what Coach Bryant demanded us to do and that was to leave it all on the field.
“I think they took Coach Bryant and put him in the shower,” Crow said, “so it was a good atmosphere in [the locker room].”
Still had a slightly different celebratory experience as he exited Memorial Stadium.
“I was there, and we had our dates with us. After the game, we were coming down the ramps and what took place was: when Texas would win, it would be ‘Poor Aggies’ and when we would win we would chant ‘Poor teasips.’ It would echo down the ramp as we were exiting the stadium,” Still said. “I had my eye out for some teasip to come at me, and sure enough some teasip girl hit me square in the lips. My natural instinct was to grab her, but then I realized it was a girl and I told her, ‘You know, it’s a good thing you hit an Aggie because Aggies don’t hit girls.’ But my date says, ‘I’m not an Aggie and I’m a girl, so I’ll take her on.’ But I said, ‘Just let it be.’ But yeah, that’s just an indication of how much it unwound the teasips that we beat them at Memorial Stadium.”
Robertson’s celebration wasn’t as confrontational as Still’s, but was potentially as exciting.
“It was so neat to take a date to those games back then. I mean, there was so much kissing going on, everyone got so hot in the stand that it was hard to stay there. When you had a date it was just wonderful. You couldn’t ask for anything more.”
To most in attendance, the 1956 game wasn’t just one to remember; it was the game to remember.
“That and the ’57 TCU game where we had the tornado, those two games are the two most outstanding games I remember,” Robertson said.
And to Crow, 1957 Heisman Trophy winner, it garners quite the superlative.
“I think this would be the one I remember most,” Crow said.

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