Twelfth Man team fuels win A&M 9, Nebraska 6
Fanatical effort all around
Published: Sunday, November 21, 2010
Updated: Wednesday, July 25, 2012 21:07
Following senior "joker" Von Miller's game-clinching sack of Nebraska quarterback Taylor Martinez and Martinez' ensuing incompletion, the largest student crowd in the history of college football began flinging Twelfth Man towels into the air; fitting after this program threw 12 years of irrelevancy, mediocrity and utter despair to the wind with a memorable performance, a 9-6 victory over No. 9 Nebraska — on a majestic evening at Kyle Field.
Those 90,000 plus in attendance can attest to just how special it was.
There was junior running back Cyrus Gray's performance.
Gray worked for every one of his 202 all-purpose yards. Against a fast, physical Blackshirt defense, Gray was patient with his reads and decisive with his cuts. For the fifth consecutive game, he eclipsed 100 yards rushing — the first Aggie to do that since 1990.
"I'd say extraordinary," Head Coach Mike Sherman said of Gray's effort. "With all the catches and the runs and picking holes. I thought he played extraordinary. But nothing he does ever surprises me."
There was the performance of the Wrecking Crew who has now given up six points in six quarters.
Against the No. 2 scoring offense in the Big 12, the Aggie defense was fanatical and relentless. For much of the game, the Nebraska offense started with solid field position. However, the Wrecking Crew continually stepped up during dire situations. They corralled the high-powered Huskers' attack — Nebraska's average length of touchdown was 35 yards. And with a 9-6 lead late in the fourth quarter, Tim DeRuyter's unit emphatically slammed the door shut and sent Kyle Field into pandemonium.
"I'm just really, really proud of them," DeRuyter said. "We knew Nebraska had a great defense ... We talked all week to our guys that we had to be a better defense today… And we had to win the takeaway battle. The overall effort of all our guys was just great."
There were the performances of Miller — one of the best defenders in A&M history — and Michael Hodges in their final home game.
Hodges again led the team in tackles. His emotion and toughness rubbed off on the defense and on the crowd.
Miller was again all over the field. Whether he was coming off the edge or blitzing up the gut, Miller was consistently the best player on the field. And his two sacks on Nebraska's final drive was the perfect ending at Kyle Field.
"He's special," DeRuyter said. "When he gets in that environment and the Twelfth Man gets behind him I haven't seen anything like that. He goes to another level. He's got a knack and a sense to make big plays at big times."
Lastly, there was the performance of the Twelfth Man.
More than 31,000 students were in attendance to witness the rebirth of a program. The students and former students turned Kyle Field into the best atmosphere in all of college football. The yelling was deafening and unyielding. They absolutely played a part in getting this program's second signature win of 2010.
"The Twelfth Man was three quarters of the victory," junior safety Trent Hunter said. "The defense is playing well, the offense is playing well, on every point of the game, we were playing well, but what set us over the edge was that we had the Twelfth Man."
Just five weeks ago, this team was left for dead and the Mike Sherman era was on its last legs. Five victories later and this team is talking about a 10-win season for the first time since 1998.
As the students rushed the field following the upset, there was an unmistakable feeling of jubilation; an aura of elation; a sense of relief.
More than anything, there was the growing sentiment that A&M football is back.
Game of firsts
- Twelfth Man record attendance set, 90,079 strong.
- It's the first time A&M has won three games in the month of November since the 4-0 month to close out the 1997 regular season and win the Big 12 South
- The Aggies have eight regular season wins, first time since 2006 with a 9-4 record.
- The Aggies' 9-6 victory marked the fewest points in a victory since a 7-0 win against Rice in 1994.
- The win increased the Aggies' win streak to five games, which is the longest since the 2004 Aggies won six straight.
- The Aggies' five-game Big 12 winning streak is the longest since the 1998 team reeled off seven straight on its way to the Big 12 Championship.
- It's the first time that Texas A&M has beaten Nebraska two games in a row.
- It's the first time that A&M has beaten two teams in the top 15 of the AP poll since 1998 when the Aggies beat No. 2 Nebraska, No. 13 Missouri and No. 3 Kansas State.