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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 Aggies guard Tyrece Radford (23) blocks Arkansas Razorbacks guard Tramon Mark (12) during Texas A&M’s game against Arkansas on Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2024, at Reed Arena. (Ishika Samant/The Battalion)
Free falling
February 20, 2024
Jace LaViolette (17) an Head Coach Jim Schlossnagle celebrating a home run during Texas A&Ms game against UIW on Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2024 at Olsen Field. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)
GALLERY: Baseball vs. UIW
February 20, 2024
Texas A&M Aggies guard Tyrece Radford (23) blocks Arkansas Razorbacks guard Tramon Mark (12) during Texas A&M’s game against Arkansas on Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2024, at Reed Arena. (Ishika Samant/The Battalion)
Free falling
February 20, 2024
Jace LaViolette (17) an Head Coach Jim Schlossnagle celebrating a home run during Texas A&Ms game against UIW on Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2024 at Olsen Field. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)
GALLERY: Baseball vs. UIW
February 20, 2024

Guess who’s back?

PROVIDED%0AThe+Aggies+celebrate+Saturday+after+the+41-38+win+over+No.+3+Auburn+in+Jordan-Hare+Stadium.
PROVIDED The Aggies celebrate Saturday after the 41-38 win over No. 3 Auburn in Jordan-Hare Stadium.

Way back on Nov. 9, 2002, Kevin Sumlin called the plays for a Texas A&M offense manned by freshman Reggie McNeal who came off the bench to throw four touchdown passes in a huge upset over No. 1 Oklahoma at Kyle Field.
Not so long ago, another freshman quarterback would lead A&M to a win over the No. 1 team in the country. As Johnny Manziel dazzled the Alabama faithful at Bryant-Denny Stadium on Nov. 10, 2012, the Aggies dealt a blow to the Crimson Tide’s title hopes in a 29-24 victory in which they never trailed. This time, Sumlin was the head coach.
Then, on Nov. 8, 2014, Sumlin and his latest freshman signal-caller leveled another team’s championship aspirations as Kyle Allen turned in his own four-touchdown performance to resurrect a season that looked well on its way to being a massive disappointment. Once again, A&M was never behind against No. 3 Auburn and gave a team that had seemingly gotten every lucky bounce the last season and a half a taste of its own medicine.
Gus Malzahn and the Tigers had seemed to be the favorite of the football gods once again this year after close calls against South Carolina and Ole Miss. Unfortunately for them, Sumlin’s November mojo proved to be superior Saturday.
“The ball bounced our way tonight,” Sumlin said.
Indeed it did. The end the game was where things got wacky, starting with a botched zone-read between Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall and running back Cameron Artis-Payne.
“A lot of stuff happens at the bottom of a pile,” defensive end Julien Obioha said. “I’m not going to say who exactly had possession of it, but when it’s all said and done I ran out with the ball and we had possession, so yes I did get the fumble.”
Obioha’s goal line fumble recovery was one of three for A&M, and just one of the breaks on which the Aggies capitalized. Another was the inexplicable snap by Auburn center Reese Dismukes before Marshall was ready that allowed Alonzo Williams to fall on the ball and end the game.
When you step back and look at this game, perhaps we should have realized that facing Auburn — the “team of destiny,” a team known for wild finishes — in the second week of November — a week in which Kevin Sumlin has been known to work magic — could have made for the unexpected.
More than anything, however, what we saw is what we wanted to see all along — the Aggies playing like the team we thought, knew and believed they could be.
“Sometimes when you get in a rut like we did, it takes a little bit of time to get in that hole,” wide receiver Malcome Kennedy said. “The same amount of time it takes to get in there, it takes to get out. Last week was a little bit of a start but you’ve got to start from somewhere. We climbed out of that hole today and hopefully we can stay on top from here on out.”
I’ll be the first to admit I was ready to be done with this team. I thought that many of the players had mailed it in and that we would see A&M limp into an awful bowl game and find ourselves hoping that things could somehow get better by next fall. I’ll also be the first to admit that the coaching staff deserves all the credit in the world for getting this team back to the level we saw against South Carolina, just in time to pull off one of the biggest road wins in program history. But knowing Sumlin’s history, should it have been a surprise?
Whether it was Kyle Allen, the embarrassment of the Bama game, or Auburn serving as the right motivation, this team has come full circle. They played hard, inspired, well-executed football for the first time since September, and the team the Aggies were against the Gamecocks finally came out of hiding. With two home games to end the season, A&M has the potential to jumpstart next season with a strong finish and head into 2015’s extremely favorable schedule with momentum.
A week ago, not many were looking forward to this final stretch. Now, I’m not sure there could be more excitement.

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