Cotton Bowl

1968

 

Texas A&M 20

Alabama 16

Texas A&M Fight Song

 

DALLAS, Tex. (AP) - "The big plays won for us again," said Coach Gene Stallings of Texas A&M as he reviewed his team's 20-16 triumph over Alabama in the Cotton Bowl Monday.

 

Yes, big plays and Alabama mistakes- the kind of mistakes that led Paul "Bear" Bryant, coach of Alabama, to contend long ago that the defense can outscore the offense.

 

Trouble was that the pupil was beating the teacher with his own philosophy- Alabama was making the mistakes and the Aggie defense was cashing in on them.

 

Bryant, who coached Stallings at Texas A&M, then took the young man with him to Alabama as his assistant, lamented over his team's mistakes, but not too long.

 

Rather, he spent his time telling Stallings how proud he was that he could bring Texas A&M out of a four-game losing streak to the Southwest Conference championship, then victory in the Cotton Bowl to run his winning string to seven.

 

Bryant came across the field and carried Stallings around like a football team often does a winning coach. Stallings couldn't help himself- the Bear outweighs him by about 75 pounds.

 

"He sure is strong isn't he?" mused Stallings when Bryant finally let him down.

 

It was a battle in which pupil triumphed over teacher as Gene Stallings, who "Bear" Bryant played at A&M for and helped him coach at Alabama, guided the Aggies to one of the great comebacks in Southwest Conference history.

 

The Aggies took the field with a 6-4 record compared with proud Alabama's 8-1-1. The Aggies, playing in their first bowl game in 26 years while Alabama was in its 21st, cashed in on a pass interception and a recovered fumble for touchdowns, then saw Wendell Housley, who missed part of last season with a broken foot, smash 33 yards in two runs for the touchdown that sealed the Tide's doom.

 

Ken Stabler, left-handed passer, ran for two Alabama touchdowns, and Steve Davis kicked a 36-yard field goal for the Alabama scores. The field goal was only one yard under the Cotton Bowl record.

 

Stabler worried the Aggies throughout with his passing. He had three of his throws intercepted and was smothered repeatedly by the vicious Aggie rush.

 

It was cold and damp but without rain, and about 2,000 of 75,504 who had bought tickets failed to show up for the game.

 

Alabama scored first on an 80-yard drive with Stabler running the last three yards.

 

Tommy Maxwell intercepted a Stabler pass to set up the tying touchdown, made by Larry Stegent, who took a 13-yard toss from Hargett.

 

Davis kicked his field goal opening the second period, and Alabama led 10-7.

 

With only 21 seconds left in the half, the Aggies scored after a 56-yard drive with Hargett throwing for 59, three of which made up for an Aggie loss. His seven-yard toss to Maxwell in the end zone brought the score. Charlie Riggs missed the extra point try when the ball hit the cross bar and A&M led 13-10 at the half.

 

A 28-yard kick by Davis set the Aggies up on their 48 early in the third period, and A&M, behind the passing of Hargett and the running of Housley, slammed 52 yards for the touchdown that gave Stallings his victory over his teacher.

 

Hargett passed for 10 and ran for one and Stegent ran for seven before Hargett turned it over to Housley, who battered the Alabama line for 13 yards and then 20 more and the touchdown.

 

Alabama came back fighting and surged 83 yards for a touchdown, with David Chatwood running for 28, Ed Morgan chipping in with a six-yard dash and Stabler passing for 41. Stabler got the score with a smash over tackle from the seven.

 

There was no more scoring as the Aggies failed to cash in on a Stabler interception and again fumbled the ball away on what appeared to be another touchdown drive.

 

The Aggies had pushed to the Alabama 22 when Hargett fumbled and Alvin Samples recovered on the Tide 27. Alabama then started its last desperate drive with Stabler passing all over the place. The Tide was aided by a personal foul against the Aggies that put the ball on the Alabama 44. Stabler pitched to All-American Dennis Homan on the A&M but the Aggies held and took over on their 26.

 

Hargett, who completed 11 of 22 passes for 143 yards and two touchdowns, was named outstanding back. Housley was second in the voting by sports writers covering the game.

 

Bill Hobbs, Texas A&M's All-American linebacker, was selected outstanding lineman.

 

Barney Harris, Aggie split end whose father died Saturday night at San Antonio, Tex., attended funeral services Monday and returned in time to play in the game.

 

Ed Hargett drops back to pass.

 

Larry Stegent breaks into the endzone with the Ag's first touchdown on a pass from Hargett.

 

Curley Hallman and Bill Hobbs (55) force a fumble by Alabama's Percy Willis in the second quarter.

 

And, the Aggies drove 56 yards for the score. Tommy Maxwell got the TD on a 7 yard pass from Hargett.

 

Hallman and the Aggie defense kept Bama's All-Americans, Ken Stabler and Dennis Homan (above), in check.

 

Gene Stallings got a lift from The Bear.

Alabama's Ken Stabler

 

Attendance: 75,504

 

Scoring Summary

 

First Quarter

UA- Stabler 3 run (David kick)

A&M- Stegent 13 yard pass from Hargett (Riggs kick)

 

Second Quarter

UA- FG Davis 34

A&M- Maxwell 7 yard pass from Hargett (kick, failed)

 

Third Quarter

A&M- Housley 20 run (Rlggs kick)

UA- Stabler 7 run (run failed)

 

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