In the greatest comeback since Harry Truman defeated Thomas Dewey, Texas A&M came from behind to defeat Arkansas 35-28 in an SEC West showdown in Jerry’s World Saturday. Quarterback Kenny Hill threw a laser to on the first play in overtime for the winning touchdown. The man he replaced Johnny Manziel was on the sidelines watching as Hill looked sharp in the comeback.
Judge Barney Fudge, of Wichita Falls, Texas was also present. Fudge was student body president when he attended A&M and now serves as judge of the 78th District Court in Wichita Falls, Texas. Judge Fudge drives a firetruck to College Station for all the Aggie home games, but he said the truck wasn’t at this game since it was played in Dallas.
The undefeated Aggies looked like they were in a hopeless situation when they trailed 28-14 in the second half before Southlake Carroll graduate Hill brought them back with an 86-yard touchdown pass to Edward Pople. Things still looked bleak for the 5-0 Aggies though as they trailed 28-21 with a little over two minutes left in the crucial showdown.
But Hill was cool under pressure as he hit Josh Reynolds with a 59-yard touchdown pass to tie the game and force overtime. Arkansas won the toss and chose to defend in the overtime period. Losing the coin toss didn’t bother the Aggies at all though as Hill fired a perfect 25-yard touchdown pass to Malcome Kennedy who was wide open over the middle at about the five-yard line. Kennedy than sprinted unscathed into the end zone.
The Aggie defense then rose to the occasion and stoopped the Razorbacks on fourth down during their only overtime possession to seal the deal. The Aggies remain in the thick of the SEC West race with a perfect 2-0 conference mark. More importantly, with their No. 6 national ranking, they are still in the hunt to make the four-team playoff for the national championship.
Pat Haden, USC athletic director, who is also on the committee which will pick the four teams, reportedly said Saturday he was taking notes on several of the games Saturday to help him prepare his own personal rankings. The committee’s rankings will not begin until October.
Former Secretary of Defense Condoleeza Rice will have the tie-breaking vote on the committee which will pick the first Final Four in the history of the top level of college football.
Since the BCS computers have been unplugged and replaced this year by the blue ribbon committee which also includes Archie Manning, there is no way of telling how the Aggies thrilling come from behind victory against Arkansas will affect the committee’s voters. Manning played quarterback for Ole Miss and has fond memories of his days in the SEC.
Texas A&M can guarantee itself a place in the playoff by winning all its games and claiming its first SEC championship in history this year. Coach Kevin Sumlin would probably prefer his players not cut it so close in future games though. He was complimentary of his players in this game saying his team did well “in all three phases of the game in the fourth quarter” after falling behind at the end of the third quarter.
Sumlin formerly coached as an assistanat to Baylor coach Art Briles at Houston before Briles left for Baylor. Both coaches were named as two of the top offensive coaches in the nation in a recent poll by coaches around the nation. It would be quite a reunion if the two coaches were to lead their teams into the four team playoffs and play against each other for the national championship.
With Manziel and Judge Fudge both present Saturday, the Aggies almost had to win. Maybe the team needs to encourage these two avid fans to attend all the rest of their games this year. Fudge and wife Lisa traveled all the way to Columbia to watch the Aggies upset favored South Carolina earlier this year.
Anyone interested in receiving free updates of future National Places and Faces articles may click on the subscribe link adjacent to this article or type in Edward Lane, National Places and Faces Examiner.