“For a lot of guys, their first day game is difficult,” said A&M safety Trent Hunter. “Emotions were high, a lot of sweat pouring, a lot of intensity in the second half.
“I think it just built up and snowballed a little bit.”
The Cowboys offense set the pace and the defense followed, working hand in hand.
“I think our offense really wore out their defense in the second half,” said OSU defensive coordinator Bill Young. “We were trying our best to get off the field. We were telling our players, get them back out there, because it was hot. It was really hot.
“It's tough to play under those conditions, and we're throwing the ball from sideline to sideline and 30 yards down the field. You're wearing people out.”
The Cowboys defense, after stressing fundamentals and installing fixes at the half, pitched a second-half shutout until the Aggies got a final touchdown late. Young's crew allowed just five first downs in the second half and forced four turnovers, contributing to a third quarter that featured the OSU offense on the field for 37 of its staggering 95 total plays.
“I thought we wore their D down,” said Cowboys receiver Josh Cooper, who finished with a career-high 11 catches for 123 yards.
The Aggies didn't disagree.
“We knew in the second half they would pick up the tempo,” said Aggies defensive back Terrence Frederick. “We couldn't adjust to it, and we let things get out of hand.”
Frederick added: “You've got to have a will and a want to. Everyone didn't have that will and want to.”
On the other sideline, the Cowboys had it in abundance.
“We just kept persevering,” said OSU cornerback Brodrick Brown. Great teams don't get down on themselves. We just kept telling ourselves, ‘Be strong, be courageous.'
“Playing in a hostile environment, getting down how we did, we responded. We responded well.”