Cotton Bowl



Texas A&M 36

Auburn 16

Texas A&M Fight Song


Fifty years of history, a Heisman Trophy winner and a team making its first New Yearís Day appearance in Dallas in 18 years presented the Cotton Bowl a unique twist for its Golden Anniversary game (video). Texas A&M, a school rich in tradition but absent from the Cotton Bowl since 1968, brought a sparkling 9-2 record to Dallas to face Auburn. At 8-3, the Tigers had finished fifth in the Southeastern Conference. However, with the presence of running back Bo Jackson, Auburn was very much in the nationís eye. Jackson gave the Cotton Bowl its second consecutive Heisman winner. And, true to the 50ís theme, Jackson was the 50th player to win the coveted award as college footballís outstanding player.


As for Auburn, the Tigers were playing in their second golden anniversary game. In 1984, Auburn had participated in the 50th Sugar Bowl Classic. As for the two coaches, A&Mís Jackie Sherrill had once played under Auburnís Pat Dye when Dye was an assistant coach at Alabama. It seemed the ironies of coincidence were endless.


While Auburn relied primarily on its Heisman winner, A&M was more balanced. Offensively, the Aggies were averaging 419.3 yards per contest. Defensively, the numbers were just as impressive, yielding just 281.9 yards per game. A&M dominated the SWC in both categories. Still, Jackson gained the lionís share of the media attention during Cotton Bowl week.

But, waiting in the wings for the spotlight to shine was A&M quarterback Kevin Murray. Murray virtually robbed the Auburn defense blind, passing for a record 292 yards. By halftime, his passing total of 184 yards was good enough to place ninth in the bowlís record book. But, at that point, he barely had gotten started. The first two quarters saw the lead change hands four times, Auburn scored first, followed by a pair of A&M touchdowns. With the Aggies holding a 12-7 lead, Jackson then turned a routine screen pass into a 73-yard scoring play to move the Tigers back in front, 13-12. A Scott Slater field goal just before the half gave A&M a 15-13 advantage heading into the third quarter. By the time the fourth period rolled around, A&M still was clinging to a slim 21-16 lead.

But, Auburn was ready to challenge. Moving from their own six-yard line, the Tigers chewed almost eight minutes off the clock. As the third quarter came to an end, Auburn had driven to the A&M six. It took the Tigers 14 plays to move 88 yards. Now, with a first-and-goal situation on the Aggiesí doorstep, Auburn was primed to regain the lead. However, thatís when A&M erected its brick wall. Three consecutive bursts by Jackson netted only four yards. With fourth down at the two, the decision was to go with Jackson one more time. It may have been the gameís biggest play. The Heisman winner drove into the middle of the line only to come face-to-face with A&Mís freshman linebacker Basil Jackson. The play lost a yard, and maybe more for Auburn. A&Mís goal line stand was short-lived, however.


Auburn held the Aggies to one first down and soon was threatening again, moving to the A&M 27. But, another fourth down situation left the Tigers two yards short. Jackson again got the call, and the A&M defense broke up the play.


With Auburnís scoring threats put to rest, Murray took charge. It took the Aggie sophomore just nine plays to seal the A&M victory. Two long pass plays moved the Aggies into scoring position. On second down at the Auburn nine, Murray connected with running back Keith Woodside for the touchdown with 2:22 left to play. A two-point conversion pushed A&M to a 29-16 lead. Seconds later, strong safety Domingo Bryant snagged his second pass interception of the day to set the Aggies up for one last score. It came with just three seconds left when Anthony Toney powered over from the one, wrapping up a hard-earned Aggie victory, 36-16.


The "Wrecking Crew" buries Bo.


Bo carries in Cotton Bowl.

Woodside carries for A&M.


Attendance- 73,137

Scoring Summary

First Quarter
AU- Jackson 5 run (Johnson kick)
A&M- Johnson 11 run (kick failed)
A&M- Woodside 22 run (pass failed)

Second Quarter
AU- Jackson 73 pass from Washington (run failed)
A&M- FG Slater 26

Third Quarter
A&M- Toney 21 run (pass failed)
AU- FG Johnson 26

Fourth Quarter
A&M- Woodside 9 pass from Murray (Bernstine run)
A&M- Toney 1 run (Slater kick)

Individual Statistics


AU- Jackson 31-129, Agee 5-36, Ware 8-31, Fullwood 5-25
A&M- Toney 17-22, Vick 15-67, Woodside 3-32, Johnson 5-22

AU- Washington 2-7-82, Burger 5-10-72
A&M- Murray 16-26-292

AU- Jackson 2-73, Parks 2-32, Waygand 1-31
A&M- Bernstine 6-108, Woodside 3-88, Walker 3-40