Throwback Thursday: 1968 Cotton Bowl, Alabama vs. Texas A&M

J. Bank

Big plays and Alabama mistakes, the kind that led head coach Paul “Bear” Bryant to claim that his defense could outscore the offense earlier in the 1967 season, were too much to overcome.

His one time prodigy, and future coach of the Crimson Tide agreed.

"The big plays won for us again,” Texas A&M coach Gene Stallings said after his team's  20-16 triumph in the Cotton Bowl. 

That was an understatement. Alabama made mistakes and the Aggies took advantage. 

It didn't stop Bryant, who coached Stallings at A&M in the 1950s, from giving Stallings a Bear hug at midfield after the game ended and carrying him around the field. 

Stallings didn't have much of a choice, Bryant outweighed him by about 75 pounds.

The Aggies took the field with a 6-4 record compared to Alabama’s 8-1-1. The Aggies were also playing in their first bowl game in 26 years.

Ken Stabler ran for two Alabama touchdowns, and Steve Davis kicked a 36-yard field goal for Alabama's early scores. 

However, the heavily-pressured quarterback also had three interceptions. 

Alabama scored first on an 80-yard drive with Stabler running the last three. A&M’s Tommy Maxwell intercepted a Stabler pass to set up the tying touchdown, made by Larry Stegent, who took a 13-yard toss from Edd Hargett.

Davis kicked his field goal opening the second period, and Alabama led 10-7. 

With only 21 seconds left in the half, the Aggies scored after a 56-yard drive with Hargett throwing for 59 (the other three followed a loss). His 7-yard toss to Maxwell in the end zone made the score 13-10 due to a missed extra point attempt.

Early in the third quarter, Texas A&M, behind the passing of Hargett and the running of Housley, slammed 52 yards for what would be the game-winning points. 

Alabama countered with an 83-yard drive for a touchdown, with David Chatwood running for 28, Ed Morgan chipping in with a 6-yard dash and Stabler passing for 41. Stabler went over tackle from the 7 to compete the scoring. 

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