Trying something new this week.
In addition to keeping my normal notes during the game, I also timestamped the moments that I thought were big or interesting. Some are the plays on the field, others are not. But here’s a look back at OSU’s huge win at Texas A&M, and my first and only trip to Kyle Field for a college football game.
12:45 About 15 minutes after we arrived at the stadium, the OSU bus pulled up. The Cowboys greeted by a fairly large group of fans (I’m terrible at estimating crowd size). The players and coaches walked straight from the bus to the field, where they gathered near the 35-yard line, locked arms and prayed. Then they headed to the locker room.
1:30 The first Cowboys are out for pregame warm-ups, sporting the fourth different uniform look in as many games, highlighted by the debut of the gray helmet to go along with white tops and gray pants. The helmet looked especially sharp from upstairs, and many in the press box compared the look to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ road uniform.
2:18 OSU leaves the field, while the A&M players gather in two lines and face the crowd. The yell leaders, well, lead a song that I couldn’t make out from the press box. But it seemed like the fans were following along.
2:28 The A&M band plays the national anthem and fight song from the stands, rather than the field. More unified cheers follow.
2:39 Ah, the swaying press box. I had been warned about this before I arrived. But because I went through an earthquake in the PETCO Park press box during a Padres game last year, the feeling wasn’t quite as jarring as it could have been. But I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t a bit freaky.
2:41 The game kicks off, with Texas A&M starting its first drive at its own 20 following a Quinn Sharp touchback.
2:44 A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill makes the game’s first big play—with his legs. He parts the middle of the OSU defense and shows his wide receiver speed on his 65-yard touchdown run to give the Aggies a 7-0 lead barely a minute into the game. The crowd of more than 87,000 at Kyle Field was rockin’ early.
2:48 Joseph Randle takes a huge hit from A&M defensive back Terrence Frederick. But on the very next play, Randle took a handoff to the outside and gained 31 yards. That helped the Cowboys set up their first field goal—and their only score of the first half. Kind of crazy looking back on that now.
3:18 An 11-yard “catch” by Hubert Anyiam clearly hit the ground before it was corralled, and the crowd expresses its displeasure when the replay is shown on the big screen. But the Cowboys snap the ball before the officials can review the call.
3:20 After a facemask penalty and back-to-back sacks of Brandon Weeden, the Cowboys face your average third-and-43 situation at their own nine-yard line. Kidding. I know Todd Monken is an offensive guru, but I doubt he has many plays dialed up for that down and distance. This is when the Cowboy offense just looked slow, conservative and ineffective.
3:35 Jeff Fuller’s first catch of the game is a big one, as his 17-yard touchdown grab gives A&M a 17-3 advantage early in the second quarter. Markelle Martin had good coverage on the play, but Tannehill put the ball in the right spot.
4:02 A kickoff return for a touchdown by Justin Gilbert is wiped out because of a holding call, squashing a possible momentum shift late in the first half.
4:10 Weeden is sharp initially on the Cowboys’ final drive of the first half, guiding OSU to the Aggie 46. But after three consecutive incomplet passes, Mike Gundy lets the clock run down to three seconds. And rather than allow Sharp to try a 61-yard field goal, which he has the leg for, the Cowboys opt to try for a Hail Mary. But Weeden is sacked for the third time, and a brutal half for OSU comes to a close. A&M 20, OSU 3.
4:12 The Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band takes the field for the coolest halftime show I’ve ever seen. The music wasn’t anything overly impressive, but the marching absolutely was. I’m no expert on marching bands, but I’ve never seen so many smooth formation changes with so much intertwining. Some people commented that the band does the same routine every game, but Berry Tramel, who has seen his far share of A&M games, said it was different. I take his word for it. Regardless, it was awesome to watch.
4:36 The second half kicks off, and almost immediately, the Cowboys march down the field and score. Jeremy Smith’s 13-yard touchdown run straight up the middle silences the A&M crowd. Cowboys pull within 20-10.
4:55 A Weeden2Blackmon 11-yard touchdown connection near the pylon of the right corner of the end zone is originally ruled incomplete, but an official review reverses the call and cuts A&M’s lead to 20-17. OSU players held their hands up signaling “touchdown” before the referee could even finish explaining that the call was overturned.
5:03 Momentum switches in about 2.5 seconds when Kenric McNeal catches a 33-yard pass but fumbles at the OSU 43. Nine plays later, Weeden finds a leaping Tracy Moore in the end zone for the four-yard touchdown. Suddenly, the Cowboys lead 24-20. Boy, that happened quickly.
5:15 Brodrick Brown adds to his resume of athletic plays in the secondary when he dives in front of Fuller to snag an interception at the A&M 23. He was then called for an unsportsmanlike penalty for his celebration after the play.
5:18 The Justin Blackmon fumble out of the end zone. Need I say more?
5:21 The Aggies can’t take advantage of the gigantic break Blackmon has given them. Tannehill tosses his second interception in less than three minutes of game time—this time to Justin Gilbert.
5:24 The wackiest quarter I’ve witnessed in person comes to a close. My mind was spinning at this point from trying to digest everything that had happened, from the quick scores to the turnovers to Blackmon’s bonehead play.
5:47 It looks like the Aggies get a big stop on third-and-one in the red zone when Smith loses three yards on a run play. But a personal foul penalty keeps the drive alive for the Cowboys and sets up an 18-yard field goal by Sharp to give the Cowboys a 30-20 lead with just over five minutes left. Weeden clearly overheard the officials discussing the penalty and showed some emotion by signaling first down before the call was announced.
6:07 The Aggies make things interesting when Fuller scores his second touchdown of the day to make the score 30-27 with 2:20 left. Apparently I was on TV at this moment as Fuller ran into that sideline. Thanks, friends who sent texts and tweets.
6:17 A&M forces OSU to punt, giving the Aggies 1:47 to try to tie or win. But Tannehill is picked off by James Thomas two plays later, which all but preserves the win. The small group of orange fans start chants of “Big 12!” It was fitting and yet ironic at the same time. They could have been chanting Pac-12 if things had gone according to plan earlier in the week. Either way, it was a jab at the Aggies that are bolting to the SEC.
6:24 In one of the more bizarre endings to a game, Blackmon lines up in the shotgun and takes the five seconds remaining on the clock to run out of the back of the end zone for a safety. Blackmon admitted that he had never run that play before in practice. After finishing off the 30-29 win, the OSU players gather near the section of orange fans and sing along to the Alma mater before heading to the locker room to celebrate.
It was definitely an entertaining contest and one of the more memorable ballgames I’ve seen. And I’m glad I got to experience the Kyle Field atmosphere before the Aggies take off.