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Matt Bumgardner’s 36-Yard Catch Set Up Sirr Parker’s Heroics
Screenshot from YouTube

All the Kansas State Wildcats had to do was get a stop.

Halt the Texas A&M offense in the final minutes of the 1998 Big 12 Championship Game in St. Louis, Missouri, and a place in the BCS National Championship Game was theirs.

Before running back Sirr Parker cemented himself into Texas A&M lore with the game-tying touchdown catch, two-point conversion and game-winning touchdown, the Aggies needed a huge play.

They got one from sophomore wide receiver Matt Bumgardner.

Matt Bumgardner’s Incredible Catch vs. K-State

RELATED: Sirr Parker’s Big 12 Title TD Made Him an Aggie Legend Forever

The Aggies were down 27-19 and had driven to midfield. Two minutes and 16 seconds remained in the fourth quarter.

Quarterback Branndon Stewart snaped the ball, did a little play action and looked downfield.

He saw Bumgardner in single coverage on the outside. He fired.

It’s an all-around beauty. Stewart placed the ball on Bumgadner’s outside shoulder in a place that only he could catch it. Bumgardner outstretched himself to haul in his only grab of the game. It couldn’t have come at a bigger time.

The rest is history.

Sirr Parker tied the game in regulation and later scored perhaps the program’s most legendary touchdown in double overtime to secure a 36-33 win.

K-State’s coverage wasn’t concerned with Bumgardner. Why would they be? He hadn’t made a catch all day.

It ended up costing them college football glory. Who knows what K-State head coach Bill Snyder would’ve done in the national title game?

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Bumgardner’s set-up catch personified Texas A&M‘s never-say-die attitude. By the time of the grab, the Aggies cut a 15-point deficit to eight and had taken all the momentum. Anyone on the roster was expected to make a play.

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By all means, Parker’s late-game heroics deserve the recognition. But let’s not forget the play that put him in position to become a legend.

Matt Bumgardner is just a guy who set up another guy who set up his team to win a conference title.

MORE: Sirr Parker’s 100-Yard Return Historically Embarrassed the Longhorns

Joe Grobeck About the author:
Joe is a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and lives in Austin, Texas. He believes Ndaumkong Suh should've won the 2009 Heisman and is an avid basketball fan.
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