....RoosterBowl V: The Shootout
October 5, 2002 was the game at Kyle Field called "The Greatest Game No One Saw" (We called it Cinco de Rooster). For some reason, there was no TV broadcast of the 2002 matchup between A&M and Tech. A&M had struggled all season, with an anemic offense, and RC had just dumped another offensive coordinator, putting interim OC Kevin Sumlin at the helm. Also making his debut was freshman Aggie kicker John Pierson. Sumlin and Pierson would both have a major impact on the game, but so would diminutive Texas Tech receiver Wes Welker.
The emergence of Kevin Sumlin's "Gulf Coast Offense" was felt quickly. After a short Tech possession, A&M QB Dustin Long hit Bethel Johnson on the first offensive play of the game for a 73 yard touchdown. The Aggies would score again quickly to go up 14-0, and led 28-17 at the half. When the Gulf Coast Offense struck first in the second half, with an 82 yard pass to Jamaar Taylor, A&M was sporting an 18-point lead, and all the momentum, heading into the fourth quarter. Some Tech fans were heading to the ramps, and even Sugar Shane Weisberg had one foot out the door. Listening at home in Lubbock, Maurice turned off the radio in disappointment at the certain Tech loss.
Not so fast.....Tech's offense got hot, and scored two quick touchdowns, starting with a 21-yard strike to Welker. Just like that, the Aggie lead is closed to 4 points. With 2:48 remaining, the Aggies had to punt, clinging to that 4-point lead. A deep punt and some defense would preserve the win, but instead, Wes Welker took the ball at the 12, and went 88 yards down the East sideline for a TD and a 3 point Tech lead.
Now, it was the Red Raiders needing some defense, to preserve their only lead of the day. However, neither the Wretched Crew nor the Red Carpeteers came to play any defense on this day. In less than one minute, Dustin Long took the Aggies the length of the field, hitting Stacy Jones for a go-ahead TD, which would give A&M another 4-point lead to protect, with 1:41 to play. My first thought: "we left them too much time". What happened next, no one expected. Freshman kicker John Pierson had just been elevated to start his first game over veteran Todd Pegram. Pierson stepped up, and promptly MISSED the PAT, thus leaving A&M with only a 3-point lead.
Tech took the ensuing kick and quickly moved down into field goal range, allowing Robert Treece to kick a game tying 42-yd FG with 0:02 on the clock, sending the game into overtime (Thank you John Pierson).
Getting the ball first in OT, A&M scored a TD quickly, seemingly putting the pressure back onto Tech. Unbelievably, Pierson proceeded to miss his second consecutive PAT, thus leaving the Aggies with only a 6 point lead. Four plays later, Kingsbury hit a strutting Nehemiah Glover for a touchdown. Treece fulfilled his covenant, hitting the extra-point for the OT win (thank you John Pierson).
At the end of the day, Dustin Long and Kliff Kingsbury had thrown 7 and 5 TD passes, respectively. Wes Welker had 10 catches for 120 yards and 1 TD, 4 rushes for another 41 years, and 6 returns for 166 yards and another TD, for a total all-purpose day of 20 touches for 327 yards and two touchdowns. John Pierson never wore an Aggie uniform again, and Todd Pegram went on to become a four-year letterman, and the most accurate kicker in Texas A&M history.