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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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Diverging Histories

TAMU+Seal
Photo by Via Creative Commons
TAMU Seal

While College Station natives and others across the nation are familiar with Texas A&M and the powerful university that it has become, there is another university 725 miles away from the Brazos Valley in southern New Mexico that is also proud to be the Aggies and rep similar colors.

 

Texas A&M and New Mexico State may be meeting for the first time ever on the football field this Saturday, but both schools go way back in sharing shockingly similar traits and history.

 

Related Roots

In 1862, Congress passed a key bill for higher public education, the Morrill Act, which expanded land-grant universities across the nation. Fourteen years later, the Texas Agricultural and Mechanical College opened its doors, and is now known as our home, Texas A&M. Not trailing far behind, however, was the New Mexico College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts, or New Mexico State, which began classes in the fall of 1890 with an enrollment of 35 students and until 1960, was known as New Mexico A&M.

 

On-Field Opposites

In 1894, the Aggies of Texas A&M would start up their football program, the same year the Aggies of New Mexico State would, too.

 

Over the next 122 years though, the two teams of Aggies would head in opposite directions. Texas A&M established itself as a nationally acclaimed program while New Mexico State would stumble to a poor all-time record of 420-615-30 after posting more seasons with losing records than winning ones. The Aggies of New Mexico State have only made three bowl appearances in school-history, all at the Sun Bowl in nearby El Paso, with their last postseason parade coming in 1960. The team also has a 13-year losing record streak, with their last winning record coming in 2003 when the Aggies finished one game above .500 at 7-5.

 

Fan-Favorite Collies

While Reveille and her handler lead the Aggies of Texas A&M out of the tunnel before football games, New Mexico State also has a border collie who takes a more active role on the field following kickoff.

 

Striking the Wonder Dog has become an in-game icon for fans attending football games. He retrieves the kicking tee after each New Mexico State kickoff during home games. The tradition started in 1996 when Joel Simms, a former stuntman, trained Smoki the Wonder Dog to retrieve the tee. Smoki carried out her duties until she was retired in 2002 due to old age. But due to popular demand, New Mexico State brought the Wonder Dog tradition back in 2012 after a 10-year hiatus.

 

While New Mexico State will seek to take down their unofficial big brother Texas A&M Saturday night, they will need some fortune as they enter the game as 42-point underdogs and hold a 0-18 all-time record against SEC opponents, including a 62-42 loss at Kentucky earlier this season. Nevertheless, there is a silver-lining to New Mexico State’s trip to Aggieland, as they will return to Las Cruces with a $1.5 million dollar check in return for facing their unofficial big brother, Texas A&M, on the gridiron this weekend.

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  • NMSU Seal

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