Before Graham Harrell hit Michael Crabtree for a 28-yard touchdown with eight seconds left to be Texas in 2008, he found Robert Johnson for a 36-yard touchdown with 34 seconds left against Texas A&M in 2006.
There’s a lot of similarities between the two plays. The clutchness, the rivalry, and even John Harris’ “oh my!” reaction on the radio call. It was an exciting moment and a fantastic game in a long, fierce history between Tech and A&M.
It took a while for the Red Raiders to find their stride on offense, but it certainly came at the right time. Tech trailed 27-24 when Johnson out-jumped the A&M defender to make an acrobatic catch in the front corner of the end-zone, stunning 85,000 Aggies at Kyle Field.
Prior to that 36-yard play, the Aggies held the Red Raiders to just 58 yards in the second half.
Harrell, in his first season as Tech’s starting quarterback, completed 32 of 45 for 392 yards, dominating A&M’s sixth-ranked pass defense most of the game. During their undefeated start to the season, the Aggies were allowing only 127.5 yards passing per game before Tech came to College Station.
Also similar to the 2008 game-winning drive was the near disaster that almost lost it for Tech. On the third play of their final possession, Danny Amendola bobbled a pass and officials on the field ruled that an A&M linebacker made a diving interception (a la Blake Gideon, for Texas). But the play was reviewed and replays showed the ball hit the ground first.
Five plays later, Johnson made the winning catch.