John David Crow didn't understand the bedlam going on around him on Nov. 29, 1956. He dashed into the south end zone of Memorial Stadium during the first quarter of the annual rivalry game between Texas and Texas A&M. And all hell broke loose.
"I came back to the huddle and everyone was going crazy, our fans were just going crazy," Crow said. "I said, ‘Good gracious it's the first quarter. What in the world is going on?' And a Texas-born teammate said, ‘John, this is the first time A&M has ever scored on this side of the stadium.'"
"We absolutely despised the University of Texas beyond any sort of reality," said Pat Robertson, class of 1959.
"It was very, very intense," said Gerald Still, class of 1958. "There were very few baseball games back then that didn't result in a fistfight between Aggies and Longhorns. It was usually an awfully hostile environment. And of course, A&M being all-male at the time, there was testosterone raging more than it probably should have."
However much hate the Ags had for their Austin brethren, it hadn't seemed to matter on the gridiron. A&M had made 16 trips to Memorial Stadium — which opened in 1924, replacing Clark Field — and had yet to win. But on that November day in 1956, the Aggies made history.
With coach Paul "Bear" Bryant and players including Crow, running back Jack Pardee and defensive lineman Charlie Krueger, A&M outclassed the Longhorns from the start.
The Aggies jumped out to a 13-0 lead, but the Longhorns came back and got within 20-14 at halftime. Pardee returned the second-half kickoff 85 yards and scored three plays later. The Aggies held on for dear life, riding Crow and Roddy Osborne for the majority of the game. The team finished with 336 yards on the ground. The Aggies eventually prevailed 34-21.
"I just remember how early we pounced on them," Still said. "Our players played at their best. Back then, there wasn't a lot of passing. It was just real smash-mouth football, and we had some good horses to bring that about."
Even exiting the stadium was memorable for Still. Aggie fans were chanting "poor teasips," just as Longhorn fans would say "poor Aggies" after a win over A&M.
"It would echo down the ramp as we were exiting the stadium," Still said. "I had my eye out for some teasip to come at me. And sure enough, some teasip girl hit me square in the lips."
Crow said the players were exhausted after the game, but threw Bryant into the showers to celebrate the win.
Mickey Herskowitz, who covered the team for the Houston Post, recalled the locker room scene to the Houston Chronicle:
"I was in the locker room when Bryant spoke to the players," Herskowitz said. "He had told them they couldn't stay overnight in Austin, and they were down about that because they all had girlfriends at Texas. He brought the roof down when he said, 'I lied. We're going to stay overnight. You guys can see your girls.'"
When A&M's first Heisman Trophy winner looks back on his career in the maroon and white, that scamper into the south end zone and what it meant to his school tops the list.
"I think this would be the one I remember most," he said.