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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

Texas A&M utility Gavin Grahovac (9) throws the ball during A&Ms game against Georgia on Friday, April 26, 2024, at Olsen Field. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
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Texas A&M pitcher Evan Aschenbeck (53) reacts after throwing the final strike out during Texas A&M’s game against Mississippi State on Saturday, March 23, 2024, at Olsen Field. (Chris Swann/ 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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A fighter jet squadron flies over during the National Anthem before Texas A&M’s game against Arkansas at Olsen Field on Saturday, May 18, 2024. (Chris Swann/The Battalion)
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Beekeeper Shelby Dittman scoops bees back into their hive during a visit on Friday, April 5, 2024. (Kyle Heise/The Battalion)
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Kennedy White, 19, sits for a portrait in the sweats she wore the night of her alleged assault inside the Y.M.C.A building that holds Texas A&M’s Title IX offices in College Station, Texas on Feb. 16, 2024 (Ishika Samant/The Battalion).
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Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Tortilla soup

 
 

For the fourth straight week, an increasingly battle-tested Aggie football team took its opponent down to the wire. For the third time in four weeks, 60 minutes of play was not enough to determine a winner.
After a 44-point turnaround from 2003 against Oklahoma State and a 70-point turnaround against second-ranked Oklahoma, the No. 22 Aggies (7-3, 5-2 Big 12) exorcised another persistent demon in a 38-point turnaround against bitter rival Texas Tech (6-4, 4-3 Big 12), winning a 32-25 decision in overtime in front of more than 82,000 fans at Kyle Field.
“Well, I guess we’re just about one play better or one play worse than everybody, it seems for the last month or so,” said Texas A&M head coach Dennis Franchione. “I’m really proud of our players, proud of how they just kept hanging in there and kept fighting.”
After tailback Courtney Lewis took a late option pitch from quarterback Reggie McNeal 25 yards for the winning touchdown in the initial overtime drive, the Red Raiders failed to cross the Aggie 24-yard line in their answering bid.
After a 1-yard first down pass to Trey Haverty, Tech quarterback Sonny Cumbie threw two straight incompletions into the teeth of a surprisingly stout Aggie pass defense, forcing a fourth and nine from the 24.
When senior Byron Jones knocked down Cumbie’s pass in the end zone, the playing surface at Kyle Field immediately resembled a stirred-up anthill with hundreds of Aggie players, freshman cadets and sideline personnel rushing to celebrate the victory while the Jumbotron displayed Franchione and wife Kim embracing victoriously.
The two teams scored a combined 57 points, but only 19 through three quarters of play. An uncharacteristically conservative Tech offense combined with hard-nosed defense kept both offenses idling, with A&M down 7-6 at the half and up 12-7 after 45 minutes.
Coming into the game, the Aggies’ biggest concern was slowing down Tech’s high-octane passing attack, ranked first in the nation. Defensive coordinator Carl Torbush threw multiple defenses at Cumbie, at times dropping three linemen into coverage, and other times lining up one down lineman.
Cumbie was held to 31 completions on 50 passes for a career-low 294 yards, (100 below his average) including three interceptions.
“They were just stupid throws and stupid decisions that should not have been made,” Cumbie said. “I should have just thrown the ball out of bounds and lived to play another play.”
With Cumbie off the mark much of the day, his receivers did little to take up the slack. Several of Cumbie’s passes that were on the mark were dropped, including a sure go-ahead touchdown on a third down by receiver Jarrett Hicks, forcing the Red Raiders to settle for a game-tying 33-yard field goal by place-kicker Alex Trlica.
McNeal, whose health was a factor coming into the game, keyed the offense. Accounting for more than 300 yards of total offense, his 55 rushing yards raised his season total to 693, eclipsing Bucky Richardson’s A&M season rushing record for quarterbacks.
Tailback Courtney Lewis also showed up big, rushing for more than 100 yards for the third time this season, including two touchdowns.
“Any time you have a three game losing streak against an in-state rival you want to reverse that and get on the winning side of things,” said senior offensive lineman Geoff Hangartner. “But I can’t think of a better way to go out. My last game at Kyle Field, beating Tech, a rivalry game — it doesn’t get a whole lot better than that.”

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