Plagued by yet another bout of rainy weather, on Saturday we braved the steady drizzle to witness our first game at Kyle Field pitting the Aggies of Texas A&M against the formidable Bears of Baylor University.In spite of the dreary weather, we were invigorated by the awe inspiring pep rally the night before, and the 40 yard line student section seats expertly procured by our friend Christina.As you have heard me preach before, student sections are the lifeblood of any college stadium atmosphere, and our fortune put us in the heart of the action between the Aggie Band and the Aggie Corpsman.
The in stadium atmosphere at Kyle Field is simply awesome.Despite the inclement weather and a lackluster opponent, 82,106 bodies packed the house to cheer on their Aggies.Additionally, the student section at A&M is widely considered among the great student sections in College Football.Unlike many other student sections which are tucked into a awkward corner of the stadium, at A&M the students enjoy some of the best seats in the house straddling the 50 Yard line. The students respond by standing the entire game, never leaving early, and continuously cheering through a series of complex “yells” directed by the Yell Leaders.The energy never takes a break, and you are cheering on every play.Of course all of this support contributes to what is famously known as the A&M 12th man…
The “12th Man” is an Aggie legend referring the always standing and vociferous students playing an active role in the game.It’s not only a moniker, but the term is emblazoned in block letters on the façade of the second tier.Furthermore tradition dictates that one lucky student, from among hundreds that tryout, is permitted a spot on the kickoff team during live Aggie games.The student wears the cherished #12 jersey, and is honored as a live representative of the 12th man during game action.You can read or watch about the entire history of this unique tradition below.
The game itself was predictably lopsided, as without their injured star quarterback Robert Griffin, the Baylor offense has sputtered all season.While their enigmatic defense managed to put the brakes on Baylor, the Aggie offense has been dominating the Big 12 all season, and recently laid a 65 point lashing on the Oklahoma Sooners a week before.The passing attack was led by quarterback Jerrod Johnson, who has quietly put up season statistics comparable to his ballyhooed neighbor to the South and heralded Heisman hopeful; Colt McCoy.On the ground, the Aggie rushing attack is equally formidable between the backfield tandem of Christine Michael and Cyrus Gray.In fact, phenom freshman running back Michael peeled of an impressive 97 yard touchdown run early in the second quarter that turned out to be the longest running play in Aggie history.This would prove to be the first of his two touchdowns and 116 yards on the day.Between the freshman Michael and stud sophomore Cyrus Gray (who ran for 106 yards himself), the future of the imposing Aggie ground attack is in talented hands.The Bears went down with nary a fight.
Final Score: Texas A&M 38 – Baylor 3.
But much to our delight, the festivities at Kyle Field hardly end after the final whistle.One final touch capping off this phenomenal experience, is that Kyle Field is open to the public following home games.Fans are free to mingle on the field, boot a few through the uprights, toss the pigskin around with the kids, and dive headfirst over the pylon.This is a rare, yet subtle touch that encapsulates the mutual respect that Texas A&M has for its fans and alumni.Every University should take note.
In the end, I would be hard pressed to think of a more complete and quintessential college football game day environment than Texas A&M.Between the passionate, generational fan base, the raucous student section standing the entire game, a student led pep rally that is second to none, Yell Leaders in place of pom-poms, a band that utterly dominates all other University bands (more on this to come), a field open to the public after games, great “college town” vibe, the 12th Man, and a storied program steeped in tradition, Texas A&M earns it’s reputation among the top of all College Football atmospheres.It is quite simply the most complete game day experience that you will find, and truly a treasure among College Football.
Gig Em’ Aggies!Whoop!
Big thanks to our friend Christina for the special experience of student tickets.More thanks to our Aggie friends Allison and Melissa, for putting together a spectacular itinerary for us and introducing us to the Aggie tradition.Thanks to Fed for the jersey, and Pablo for correcting a few of my oversights…
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