The Texas A&M Aggies have had their fair share of iconic moments over the years. From stuffing Auburn’s Bo Jackson at the Cotton Bowl to winning the Big 12 title to Johnny Football taking home the Heisman Trophy, there are simply too many to count. All of them have been great, too, but perhaps none were greater than the program’s first victory over the nation’s top college football team.
Quarterback Reggie McNeal came off the bench to throw for four touchdowns, wide receivers Terrence Murphy, Bethel Johnson and Greg Porter played big roles, and the Aggies defense did just enough to slow down the Sooners.
It was a glorious day, and the end of the first half made the historic stadium go absolutely berserk.
2002 Texas A&M vs. Oklahoma Highlights
Texas A&M starting quarterback Dustin Long was struggling. The Aggies needed a spark. So head coach R.C. Slocum made the decision to put in freshman quarterback Reggie McNeal, and boy did he deliver in a big-time way on ABC.
McNeal threw for 191 yards and four scores to lead the Aggies to the 30-26 upset victory. His 40-yard touchdown bomb to wide receiver Greg Porter just before halftime helped tie the game and made everyone believe it could happen.
With 18 seconds remaining in the second quarter, McNeal dropped back to pass, waited patiently in the pocket, and let it fly before taking a big shot. The ball was perfect, and it dropped right into the hands of Porter in the back of the end zone.
You could probably hear the roars in Bryan and maybe even Houston. That’s how loud it seemed.
“We were just trying to score. At the last second, I saw Porter and took a hit for the team, but I found him,” McNeal said. “I knew I’d have chances to go deep on them. It’s a great feeling to beat the No. 1 team in the nation. I knew going into the game that I would play a little, but I didn’t know I’d play almost the whole game.Advertisement
“I just gave it 110 percent and it worked out. I was able to get in the groove of the game and that might have helped. Coach told me if I got in to play like I knew I could play. After the first touchdown to Murphy, I felt like tonight was the night. We had that mindset and we were going to do anything it took.”
It was a magical night indeed, and that touchdown ignited a big second half and fourth quarter.
The 2002 Aggies season wasn’t spectacular, by any means. Big 12 wins over Baylor and Kansas were nice, but they struggled in losses to Virginia Tech, Texas Tech, Nebraska, Oklahoma State, Missouri and the Texas Longhorns. That was all wiped away by helping take the Sooners out of the BCS and NCAA national title picture.
Making history made everything great and that day will love on forever for Aggies fans everywhere.