At halftime of this game, I was feeling a bit complacent. After visiting 75 stadiums for nearly 300 games, I wondered what adventures lie ahead that could shock or surprise. After all, Texas A&M has been my number one bucket list stadium for years, and it exceeded expectations. Don’t get me wrong, college football never disappoints, but today, it’s timing was epic. Any wisps of dormancy that emerged to my senses were obliterated by the most unexpected, mouth-gaping, 7-overtime thriller of a finish that I have ever experienced.
My task is not to provide a play-by-play of the game, but rather to provide a fan perspective of the games I attend. Besides, to recap the LSU/A&M frenzy would feel redundant – if you are reading this, you probably know what happened. If not, check ESPN for the background knowledge: http://www.espn.com/college-football/story/_/id/25380193/reliving-lsu-texas-seven-classic
The Thanksgiving Saturday atmosphere at some stadiums can sometimes fall flat as fans are still under the spell of a turkey-induced coma. Students may be out of town. The game might be of little significance. None of these factors affected Texas A&M. The energy ignited with Midnight Yell practice, where thousands gather to recite a chorus of shouts in a well orchestrated machine. Verbal explosions in the form of “Gig Em Aggies,” “Farmers Fight,” and “Beat The Hell Outta LSU” echoed against the giant slabs of concrete that support Kyle Field.
The Aggie spirit carried over into the sunny side of Saturday where the tailgates and Aggie Marching Band kept the fans anxiously anticipating the 2018 home finale. As kickoff loomed, “The Aggie War Hymn” reverberated through the cool Lone Star air as A&M fans locked arms to sway and song in unison. The stage was set.
The majority of the game saw the Tigers and Aggies trading blows, and it appeared as though LSU was about to pull away at the very end. However, on Texas A&M’s final drive, an overturned interception and an additional second added to the clock led to a crowd-exploding completion in the end zone to tie the game as the time expired.
Overtimepalooza ensued – 7 overtime periods saturated with 4th down conversions, miracle catches, and hold-your-breath kicks. Exhaustion became a factor both on the field and in the stands. Many fans removed their boots to ease the soreness of standing throughout this record breaking game. In the end, a two-point conversion lifted the Aggies to a 74-72 victory, which lifted the fans out of their seats and rushing toward the field in celebration. Fans in the upper decks sprinted down the cavernous concourses within the stadium to join the mass of maroon that flooded the field. “The Aggie War Hymn” was sung locked arm in arm – an effervescence of pride for A&M.
The game resulted in the highest combined point total in FBS history, a tie for the longest amount of overtime periods, and a resurgent spirit in this college football tourist.