1986: A&M held a tenuous 23-16 lead over Auburn in the Cotton Bowl when Auburn drove the ball 88 yards to the Aggie six-yard and looked ready to tie the game at the beginning of the fourth quarter. But Texas A&M’s defense stiffened, stuffing Heisman winner Bo Jackson four times to preserve the lead and key a 36-16 triumph.
Second-ranked A&M had lost seven straight and 16 of 18 toTexas, but the nasty Aggie defense and hard-running backs Bubba Bean and George Woodard keyed a thrilling, 20-10 win over the fifth-ranked Longhorns.
The Aggies were a pedestrian 5-4 when top-ranked, 8-0,defending national champion Oklahoma came to town for what looked to be a mere speed bump en route to another shot at the title. Freshman quarterback Reggie McNeal came off the bench to throw four TD passes in a 30-26 victory.
Number one Kansas State held a 27-12 lead at the beginning ofthe fourth quarter of the Big 12 title game, but backup QB Branndon Stewart, who had hyperextended his knee earlier in the game, led a comeback that forced overtime. In the second extra session, he completed a TD pass to Sirr Parker for a 36-33 win and the conference championship.
Although the Aggies had been a regional powerhouse, theyhadn’t gathered any credibility outside of Texas until the ’40 Sugar Bowl, when they took on Tulane on the Green Wave’s turf. Led by John Kimbrough’s 159 yards and two touchdowns, the last a game-winner from 24 yards out, A&M dumped Tulane, 14-13, to claim the national title.