I’ll admit, I didn't think we had a chance of winning against Alabama — especially considering I was still going through the five stages of grief after our loss to Mississippi State. Toward the end of last week, I was in the bargaining stage. “Maybe our loss will be a wake up call,” I told myself. “Maybe we won't get beat that bad.”
Then Saturday came.
I wake up early in the morning to the sound of music blasting in my living room. “It’s ‘Bama weekend!” yells one of my dear, dear roommates. Usually an occurrence like this would bother me, but any annoyance I might have had was diminished by my excitement. After all, it was gameday in College Station, a holy day of matrimony between SEC football and the 12th Man — and that is something I’ll never be upset about.
I picked out my finest A&M Polo, put on my throwaway Chuck Taylor All Stars and began the pre-game festivities. After a couple of hours, my group and I headed over to every A&M football fan’s holy ground: Kyle Field.
No place in college football has the same atmosphere as Kyle Field. The energy the 12th Man exudes cannot be described adequately by words — it’s something you have to experience yourself to truly understand.
We arrive at our seats — first deck, by the way; sorry, freshman — and I anxiously waited for the instrumental of Kanye West’s “Power” to play. As it did, the Ags came running out of the tunnel; as always, the crowd went crazy. Something felt different this time, though. That’s when I got an instinctual feeling. I turned to one of my friends with whom I was standing — the 12th Man never sits — looked at him and said, “We’re going to win this game.”
Before I knew it, we were up three to zero, and the stadium was going berserk — all 106,815 of us. I tell myself that it’s still early, that it’s only a field goal, that it's best to remain cautiously optimistic. But I still had this gut feeling that we were going to pull this one off.
Fast forward to the half and the Ags were up 24-10. At this point, my voice is nearly gone and I’m fighting a massive headache from how much I had been screaming. But I didn't care. We were beating the No. 1 team in the country!
After the band performed and we continued our 127-year undefeated streak of winning halftime, the team came back on the field to be met with an even bigger roar of applause than when they came out at the start of the game.
To no one’s surprise, the Crimson Tide rolled in with a score early in the third quarter. And then to everyone's surprise, Devon Achane, topping out at a speed fast enough to get pulled over in most school zones, went coast to coast to score on a kick return. The simultaneous rumble of the student section and the silent shock from the Alabama section was music to my ears.
Fast forward to the fourth quarter: Alabama scored, managing to pull off the two point conversion, making the score 38-31 with only five minutes left. A stunt like this might deter some student sections — but not A&M’s. At this point, the spirit of the 12th Man made it seem like the stadium was shaking strongly enough to trick a seismometer into registering a low-magnitude earthquake. With just over three minutes left in the game and a blitz incoming, quarterback Zach Calzada threw it deep to Ainias Smith for a touchdown. While the stadium was going insane, Calzada was struggling to get up after he was bulldozed and rolled over by one of the Alabama linemen. As he was carried off the field, I felt a pit in my stomach.
Meanwhile, the ball is returned to Alabama. After an unsuccessful drive — thanks to the wrecking crew being out in full force — Calzada returns to the field. The 12th Man, along with the college football gods, surely gave him the strength to do so, since most people couldn’t only minutes after a hit like the one he took. He easily gets us into field goal range, and suddenly the spotlight is on Seth Small.
Along with every Aggie in the stadium, my heart seemed to stop. Time slowed, and it felt like everything was moving in slow motion.
With two seconds left on the clock, Small makes the biggest play of the game, kicking from the 28-yard line.
It’s good. He got it. We just took down the No. 1 team in the country for the upset of the year — and arguably the best game to ever take place in Kyle Field.
People around me were jumping up and down, hugging, crying and everything in between. My brand new Ray-Bans came off my head and were crushed beneath my fellow Aggies’ stomping feet. But I didn't care. I was way too happy to worry about something as trivial as a $200 pair of shades.
We stormed the field in absolute awe. Thinking back on that moment and writing on it now gives me chills. It was the experience of a lifetime, and worth every penny.
I’m graduating this December, and I could not have asked for a better memory during my last semester in Aggieland. To the 12th Man, our relentless football team and our amazing university, I have only one thing to say: Thanks and Gig ‘Em.
Sam Somogye is a political science senior and columnist for The Battalion.