During the 1985 season, nobody could stop Heisman Trophy winner Bo Jackson. He was a man amongst boys for the Auburn Tigers and ran through the SEC with ease. Closing out his college football career in style seemed inevitable, but that was before he met the Texas A&M Aggies in the 50th Cotton Bowl Classic.
Don’t get it twisted. Jackson was still dominant during that New Year’s Day clash in Dallas. He was one of the game’s Most Outstanding Players with 129 rushing yards on 31 carries, 73 receiving yards and two total touchdowns. When the game was on the line, though, Jackson was denied.
Under head coach Jackie Sherrill, Texas A&M boasted a strong defense that helped the Aggies win the Southwest Conference. They earned even more respect that day on CBS, too.
Texas A&M Stuffs Auburn’s Bo Jackson
Early in the fourth quarter, and Texas A&M clinging to a 21-16 lead, Auburn had the ball at the 6-yard line and looking for the go-ahead touchdown. They ran Jackson three times, but the superstar couldn’t find the end zone.
Instead of going for a field goal, Auburn head coach Pat Dye elected to go for it on fourth down. Everyone in the United States knew where the ball was going. It was just up to the Aggies to stop Jackson from two yards out.
Then, Texas A&M freshman linebacker Basil Jackson made the play of his life. Jackson was denied once again and the Aggies eventually won, 36-16.
”I think if we had scored on that fourth-down play, we would have won the ball game,” Dye said, via the New York Times. ”But when they stopped us, it gave them the edge and the momentum.’’
When it was all said and done, Jackson was stuffed six times for no gain in the fourth quarter. The Aggies swarmed him time and time again. The rest is history.
Texas A&M quarterback Kevin Murray set a Cotton Bowl record with 292 passing yards, wide receiver Keith Woodside caught a fourth quarter touchdown, and running back Anthony Toney rushed for 122 yards and two scores.
Aggies safety Domingo Bryant had two interceptions to earn Most Outstanding Player honors along with Auburn’s Bo Jackson.
That NCAA bowl game is still a classic, and that goal line stand was the real MVP that day.