October 7th, 1995. The #7 Aggies of Texas A&M traveled to Lubbock for the annual rekindling of a long-time Southwest Conference rivalry. Unfortunately for the Red Raiders, it had not been much of a rivalry. Tech football had yet to defeat A&M football in the 1990s. Some of the games were not even close. However, in 1995 things were different.
Tech entered the game with a 1-2 record. They had lost those 2 games by a grand total of 3 points. They lost the season opener to the #4 ranked Penn State in Pennsylvania by 1 point, beat Missouri in Lubbock by 37 points, and then lost to Baylor by 2 points in Waco. The Red Raiders may not have been winning the close games, but they had yet to play a game that they were not competitive in.
Texas A&M was rolling. They had won 3 of the past 4 Southwest Conference championships, and it would have been 4 if they had been eligible for postseason play in 1994. They also came into Lubbock riding a 29 game winning-streak in the Southwest Conference. Although the Aggies had lost to #7 Colorado by 8 points, in Colorado, there was no reason to believe that their Southwest Conference winning streak was in danger.
The game itself was a defensive struggle. It was tied up 7-7 with less than a minute left on the clock, and the Aggies had the ball on their side of the field looking to win their 30 consecutive conference win. On a third down play, in the shadow of his own end zone, the Aggie quarterback, Corey Pullig, drops back and passes the ball. Zach Thomas, who had disguised being in coverage by showing a pre-snap blitz, intercepts the ball around the 25-yard line. As the announcers scream Zach Thomas, ZACH THOMASSS, he runs into the end zone untouched to seal a Red Raider win! (Untouched until he is mobbed by his own teammates in celebration, that is.)
Zach, who would later have a very successful NFL career with the Dolphins and Cowboys, said of the play, "He (Pullig) practically threw it right to me… It's not so much about the great play; it's about how excited everyone was in the locker room, how excited the fans were. Tech fans are so loyal. They are definitely great fans and they deserved it. That's why I really cherished that moment in time, and that's why I look back and I'm proud."
What a play! Anytime an exciting play like that is made to vanquish an hated opponent, is awesome, but when that same opponent has had your number over the past several years and win the conference titles, it makes it that much sweeter! I’ll be on vacation this week and will not be posting a Thursday column, that’s why the video link is below. When I have a spare moment I would love to see the Viva The Matadors’ readers experiences with this play. Were you a student at the game, watching it with family or friends, or re-listening to the call on radio while you drove to that Aggie friend’s house to collect a bet? Either comment below or tweet me @ConnerCrisp! GUNS UP!