Opinion: Possible A&M Rivalry Renewal Good For Tech


Last week, Texas Tech Athletic Director Kirby Hocutt said that Texas A&M and Tech are in talks about the possibility of renewing their once heated football rivalry.

If this rivalry is going to be renewed, it could bring back one of the most underrated football series in the country. Its been a rivalry filled with exciting moments, long win streaks on both sides and even goalposts being torn down.

Since the two teams first played in 1942, there have been 10 times where each team has won at least three games in a row against one another. The all time series is pretty even with the Aggies holding a 36-32-1 advantage.

No matter how much dislike the Tech fan base has for the maroon-clad rivals from College Station, they should know that the rivalry between the two schools is missed.

Many Aggies will say that Texas Tech isn’t a true rival of Texas A&M, but history says otherwise.

Some of Texas Tech’s most memorable plays have happened against the Aggies and A&M has had some great wins against Tech as well.

Out of the 69 games played, three moments come to mind when I think about this rivalry that were in Tech’s favor. TexasTech.com has a great article that details the top 10 moments in the Tech/A&M rivalry. Below are the descriptions of what I think the top 3 moments are.

"September 30, 2006 – No. 24 Texas Tech 31, Texas A&M 27 (College Station, Texas)With Texas A&M holding a 27-24 lead and eating the clock late in the fourth quarter, Texas Tech still had one last comeback left in them. Yet, to start out the game, the Red Raiders were the ones with a 24-14 lead at halftime in front of the crowd of 85,979 fans at Kyle Field. With 26 seconds remaining, Tech QB Graham Harrell found Robert Johnson for a 37-yard, acrobatic touchdown catch in the front corner of the end zone with 26 seconds left to play while capping an eight play, 80 yard drive to give the Red Raiders a 31-27 victory."

This was one of the most exciting finishes in Tech football history and the Harrell/Johnson connection was in full effect that day in College Station. With 26 seconds left in the game, Harrell hit Johnson on a fade route in the end-zone, silencing Kyle Field.

"November 3, 2001 – Texas A&M 0, Texas Tech 12 (Lubbock, Texas)The Red Raiders used their top defensive effort in a number of years to hand the Aggies their first shutout in over two seasons in front of 52,649 fans at Jones Stadium. Tech’s blanking against its rival marked the first over A&M since 1983, a span of 18 years. Tech running back Ricky Williamsscored the game’s only touchdown to push the Red Raiders lead to 12-0 in the fourth quarter with two minutes remaining. Tech quarterback Kliff Kingsbury passed for 303 yards on 38-of-46 passing while Red Raider great Wes Welker tied a Tech sophomore school record with 11 catches for 64 yards."

For as good of a defensive game this was for the Red Raiders, its mainly remembered for the post-game incident. After knocking off No. 17 Texas A&M in Lubbock, Tech fans and students tore down the goalpost and carried towards a crowd of Aggies that stayed after the game ended. A brawl ensued after Mark McKinney, the father of Aggie offfensive lineman Seth McKinney was punched in the face by what he claimed was a Tech fan (but was really another A&M fan) and several fights broke out. This incident really sparked a deep rivalry and dislike between the two schools fanbases.

"October 5, 2002 – Texas Tech 48, No. 23 Texas A&M 47 (OT) (College Station, Texas)In what is remembered as “The Greatest Game Nobody Saw,” Texas Tech went into Kyle Field and came away with one of the most memorable victories in school history with a 48-47 overtime win in front of 86,478 fans. Stellar contributions by quarterback Kliff Kingsbury and receiver/return man Wes Welker along with clutch kicking from Robert Treece gave Tech the win while at one time trailing by 18 points (35-17, 3rd quarter). Tech’s fourth quarter comeback started when Kingsbury and Welker connected for a 21-yard touchdown to make the score 35-23. Another Kingsbury touchdown pass, this time to Taurean Henderson for 15 yards, brought the Red Raiders within five points, 35-30. Welker, who set a school record in the game with 166 punt-return yards (still a Tech record), gave the Red Raiders the lead with a then-school record 88-yard punt return for a touchdown. After a successful two-point conversion, Tech held a narrow 38-35 lead with 2:48 remaining. The Aggies needed only a minute and eight seconds of the game clock to regain the lead, but this is when the game really changed. Texas A&M place kicker John Pierson missed the extra-point, leaving A&M with just a three-point lead, 41-38, with 1:40 left to play. Tech took advantage and sent the game to overtime with a 42-yard field goal from Treece with just two seconds left in regulation. The Aggies struck first in overtime to take a 47-41 lead, but once again a Pierson extra-point went off the mark to leave the Red Raiders trailing by just six points for their upcoming possession. Texas Tech pulled off the miraculous victory with a 10-yard touchdown pass from Kingsbury to Nehemiah Glover before Treece sealed the deal with the extra-point giving the Red Raiders the 48-47 win. Kingsbury set a then-Texas Tech school record with 474 yards on 49-of-59 passing. Welker caught 10 passes for 120 receiving yards."

Like the title says, this may be one of the best games that no one saw on TV. There were so many great moments on both sides in this high scoring game, but Wes Welker’s punt return touchdown is an image that will last forever in the Tech/A&M rivalry.

Honorable mention moments:

2007: Aggie running back Javorskie Lane guaranteed a victory against the Red Raiders in Lubbock. Tech beats A&M 35-7 behind Graham Harrell’s 425 passing yards and three touchdowns.

1995: Tech linebacker Zach Thomas intercepted A&M quarterback Corey Pullig’s pass with 30 seconds to go in regulation and returned it 23 yards for a touchdown. The Red Raiders won 14-7 in the last year of the Southwest Conference.

Since moving to the Southeastern Conference, the Red Raiders and Aggies have not played and have not scheduled a future non conference game. Last week’s comments from Tech AD Kirby Hocutt have sparked up conversation between the two schools renewing their rivalry and that can only be a good thing. This showdown has produced so many great memories and was one of the most underrated rivalries in college football.