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The Long and Short History of Alabama and Texas A&M

The Crimson Tide and Aggies Share Many Connections

Gene Stallings & Bear Bryant

It may surprise you to hear that Alabama and Texas A&M have faced each other only nine times and only four times before the Aggies joined the SEC. The Crimson Tide maintains a 7-2 edge and each games holds strong memories for both fan bases.

January 1, 1942 - Cotton Bowl

Alabama 29 Texas A&M 21

Frank Thomas’ 1941 Alabama squad came in ranked #20 against the ninth ranked Aggies. It was the Tide’s first trip to the Cotton Bowl. Alabama raced out to a 29-7 lead and then inserted the back-ups who allowed Texas A&M to score two late touchdowns. Bama had a 72-yard punt return for a touchdown and a pick-six. [Side note: Back in those days, rankings did not change after bowl games.]

January 1, 1968 - Cotton Bowl

Texas A&M 20 Alabama 16

This game might be best remembered for the iconinc photos of Bear Bryant lifting Aggies coach Gene Stallings up and carrying him around at midfield after the game. The two were great friends. Texas A&M claimed the SWC championship that season. TAMU will be honoring that team at Saturday’s game. Kenny Stabler was quarterback for Alabama.

September 14, 1985

Alabama 23 Texas A&M 10

Linebacker Wayne Davis, father of current Tide linebacker Ben Davis, was in on 24 tackles and legendary Bama kicker Van Tiffin kicked a school-record 57-yard field goal. Tiffin added field goals of 40 and 51 yards and Craig Turner would seal the win on a 32-yard touchdown run with 1:07 remaining in the game. The Alabama quarterback was one Mike Shula.

December 1, 1988

Alabama 30 Texas A&M 10

Ah, the infamous “Hurricane Bowl”. There were so many reasons that Bill Curry was run out of town and this episode was one. These two teams were scheduled to play at Kyle Field in September, but Hurricane Gilbert was having his way with Central America and threatened to hit Texas. Certain members of the Alabama leadership were concerned about travel and/or actually getting the game in. So Curry asked to reschedule the game for later in the season. As it turned out, Texas suffered only minor damage and it was a bright sunny day in College Station, much to the chagrin and anger of Tide fans - especially those who had made the trip. Aggies fans reveled in the whole thing, calling the Alabama coach "Chicken Curry" among other things. It is unknown who really made the decision (unpopular president Joab Thomas? One foot out the door AD Steve Sloan?) but it stuck with Curry. [Side note: A brick found its way through Curry’s window that fall.]

Derrick Thomas had a field day with five sacks and recovered a fumble. Phillip Doyle had three field goals and David Smith, who is currently an SEC referee, threw a pair of touchdown passes.

November 10, 2012

Texas A&M 29 Alabama 24

In the Aggies first season in the conference, a brash young redshirt freshman quarterback named JFF came into Bryant-Denny and zigzagged and YOLO passed his way to an upset of the defending national champions. It was the only loss Bama would suffer that year as they went on to stomp the living doodoo out of Notre Dame. A&M would finish 11-2 including a Cotton Bowl win over Oklahoma.

September 14, 2013

Alabama 49 Texas A&M 42

The Tide would get their revenge in College Station but not before JFF would put a scare into everyone. AJ McCarron built a 42-21 lead but more zigzagging and more YOLO passes brought the Aggies back to within a score with 15 ticks to go. Alabama would recover the onside kick and preserve the win.

October 18, 2014

Alabama 59 Texas A&M 0

JFF (and maybe more importantly Mike Evans) had moved on and these Aggies were not quite the same. Unfortunately for them, the Crimson Tide was quite the same. Alabama scored 35 points in the second quarter and led 45-0 at halftime. This game knocked the Aggies out of the top 25 and basically broke QB Kenny Hill who transferred out after the season.

October 17, 2015

Alabama 41 Texas A&M 23

Minkah Fitzpatrick would open and close the scoring with pick sixes. Eddie Jackson also had an interception for a touchdown. Derrick Henry rushed for 236 yards and two touchdowns.

October 22, 2016

Alabama 33 Texas A&M 14

Jonathan Allen became a star with a Superman sack of Trevor Knight and a scoop and score. Damien Harris ran for 128 yards while Jalen Hurts added 93 yards of his own.


The Junction Connection

There are many connections between the histories of these two programs. The most obvious is Paul W. “Bear” Bryant (25–14–2) who coached the Aggies from 1954–1957. He launched his first season with an infamously grueling training camp in Junction, Texas. Many Aggie football players quit the team but the "survivors" became known as the "Junction Boys." One of the few was Gene Stallings. In 1956, he helped the team finish 9–0–1 and capture its first Southwest Conference championship since 1939.

After graduation, Stallings joined Bryant's first staff at Alabama as a defensive assistant. He would be a part of two championships in 1961 and 1964. The next year, he would take charge of Texas A&M and lead them until 1971. After several years on legendary Tom Landry's staff in Dallas, he would coach the Cardinals before Alabama came calling. Stallings took over the Tide in 1990 and won the memorable 1992 National Championship. He would continue on until his retirement after the 1996 season with a 70–16–1 record.

Other Connections

Jackie Sherrill was a fullback and linebacker on Bryant's 1962 to 1965 teams. He would also be coached by Stallings. After graduation, Sherrill returned to his alma mater as a graduate assistant before moving on to other jobs. In 1977, he took over Pitt (50–9–1) and helped groom Dan Marino. His next stop was Texas A&M in 1982 where he won three straight Southwest Conference titles from 1985-1987. In 1988, Sherrill's Aggies were put on probation for two years hit with “lack of institutional control” and he resigned. [Side note: Miami and UNC did pretty much the same things in recent years and got slaps on the wrist.]

Sherrill’s defensive coordinator R.C. Slocum took over on College Station and led the Aggies for 14 seasons. He was foolishly run out of town following a 6-6 season in 2002 - only the second non-winning season of his career. He never had a losing season.

Meanwhile in Tuscaloosa, Dennis Franchione was in charge and went 7-5 and 10-3 in 2001 and 2002. He got the Tide back into the post-season after the turmoil of the Mike DuBose years, but was never too popular. Mal Moore would offer Franchione a ridiculous 10-year contract extension worth $15 million, but Fran did not sign the offer. After publicly stating that he would not leave, he left anyway taking over for Slocum. He would be fired after five seasons and a 0-3 bowl record.