Mac Engel

It’s good for Texas if Aggies can dethrone Alabama

Trevor Knight is seeking his second victory over Alabama. He led Oklahoma past the Tide in the 2014 Sugar Bowl.
Trevor Knight is seeking his second victory over Alabama. He led Oklahoma past the Tide in the 2014 Sugar Bowl. AP

On behalf of all things Texan and all things sports, Aggies, please pull a Johnny one more time and defeat Nick Saban and the Alabama Crimson Tide.

Those in Austin, Waco, Lubbock and right here in Fort Worth are not going to like to hear this — we are all Aggies on Saturday.

There is no reason to expect the Aggies to do anything other than getting tossed out of Tuscaloosa with a loss just like everybody else. The No. 6 Aggies are 18-point underdogs against No. 1 Alabama. For reference, they were two-touchdown ’dogs when John Manziel defeated the Tide in Tuscaloosa in 2012.

The Aggies need a good game to show the world they have evolved beyond what remains the signature win of the Kevin Sumlin era: a 29-24 win over No. 1 Alabama.

The great state a’ Texas needs a good showing to prove that all of the money and resources we spend on football is more than for show. There is the matter of state pride here and, despite our self-proclamation that football is better in Texas, it’s high time we do more than roll over for the Tide.

The man to do this now is a guy who has done it before, and needs an apology from the people (cough, cough: me) who thought he was a giant bust before he landed near the Dixie Chicken: Trevor Knight, you and your new head coach were right and we were all wrong. But if this is going to happen Saturday, Mr. Knight needs to channel his inner New Orleans and pull out another Sugar Bowl.

“I think we haven’t mentioned [the 2012 upset] until this point, but I think our players respect the team that Texas A&M has and what they are capable of,” Saban, the Alabama coach, said during Wednesday’s SEC conference call when I asked him if he had mentioned that loss to his players. “I hadn’t really thought about it; it’s been so long ago.”

Sumlin said he has not mentioned that win to his team, and that only perhaps for fans and alums does it remain a point of discussion. Let me help you out Coach Swag Copter; it does. Despite that win being four years ago, Johnny Manziel and the Aggies over the Tide remains on the very tip of Reveille’s tongue.

The only thing missing from that win is a banner hanging from Kyle Field (sorry — that is never going to get old).

It’s time to move on, and even though the Aggies are deserved big ’dogs, Knight has demonstrated he can beat ’Bama.

In January 2014, Knight led Oklahoma to a 45-31 upset over ’Bama in the Sugar Bowl.

His career, however, never did take off from that point; he went sideways in Norman, lost his job to future Heisman Trophy candidate Baker Mayfield last fall, and transferred to College Station for one final season.

Knight has only completed 53.5 percent of his passes with a blah nine touchdown passes and five interceptions, but the Aggies are No. 6 in the nation, 6-0 overall and 4-0 in the SEC; as such, give the man credit. The Aggies win because of their defense, but give this man his due for making it all work.

Most one-year rental transfer players don’t do this well.

And if Kyler Murray is this team’s quarterback, I am not betting the Aggies are 6-0. Kyle Allen? That’s a different argument.

“My conversation with [OU coach] Bob Stoops during the transfer was that [Knight] was a tremendous leader and a great person and had a skill set,” Sumlin said Wednesday during the same SEC conference call. “He just lost his job to Baker Mayfield, who was playing at a high level. He filled a void for us, and we filled a void for him. He wanted another chance to play in meaningful games on a big stage.”

Son, here you go.

Knight is one of the few quarterbacks in college football to have actually defeated Alabama. Since he led the Sooners to that win over Alabama, only three other quarterbacks can claim victory over Nick Saban — Chad Kelly and Bo Wallace at Ole Miss, and Cardale Jones at Ohio State.

Against the Tide, Knight completed 32 of 44 passes for 348 yards with four touchdown passes and one interception. Did he do this against a Tide team that had checked out because it was not playing for the national title? That’s not an uncommon disclaimer, but nothing should take away from Knight’s performance.

“He played a great game against us and he’s played very well for them all year long,” Saban said. “I am not sure we need to go back [to that Sugar Bowl] to figure anything out. I think people see what he’s doing in this system and how effective he’s been. I see a guy that is very gifted, and I don’t think there is a comparison necessary [to the Sugar Bowl win].”

Alabama is once again so good that no one, especially the oddsmakers, expects anything other than another Bama beat-down. The Tide has allowed a total of 105 points in seven games, 43 of which came from Ole Miss.

But upsets are what make college football so wonderful, and it’s time for Texas A&M — and the state of Texas — to have another signature win.

It’s been too long, and there is no reason why Texas should be second to any state in football.

As such, this Saturday, we are all Aggies.

Listen to Mac Engel every Tuesday and Thursday on Shan & RJ from 5:30-10 a.m. on 105.3 The Fan.

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