No. 5 – 1986 Cotton Bowl
Coming off three consecutive seasons that had Aggie fans scratching their heads on whether coach Jackie Sherrill was the right answer all changed with the 1985 season.
The Aggies opened with a loss to Alabama, but we figured everything out to win its first outright championship since 1967. The last time the Aggies were in the Cotton Bowl was the win over Bama.
This Cotton Bowl had previously ranked No. 1 Auburn and Heisman Trophy winner Bo Jackson coming to Dallas. The Tigers ended up in Dallas due to losses to Tennessee, Florida and Alabama.
This game comes in at No. 5 for a variety of reasons. Jackson would be Auburn’s most outstanding player and strong safety, Domingo Bryant, would be A&M’s most outstanding player. Interesting that the winning team’s player of the game is on defense. Something else most people do not know is that coach Sherrill played for Auburn coach Pat Dye when Dye was an assistant at Alabama.
A&M would lead 15-13 at halftime in a first half filled with mistakes. The one big highlight came on a 73 yard screen pass that Jackson took to the house.
In the second half the Aggies were leading 21-16 when the famed goal line stand happened early in the fourth quarter. The “Wrecking Crew” would stop Jackson and the Tiger offense again on fourth down. This time quarterback Kevin Murray would drive the Aggies 72 yards to put the game away.
A&M would add a late touchdown with three seconds left to play to close out Auburn 36-16. Jackson would have 202 yards running and receiving. Murray would throw for 292 yards.
The Aggies would finish 10-2 and ranked No. 6 in the final AP and No. 7 in the final coaches polls.