A&M was looking to build off an improved 4-5-1 season. But the team dropped its first four contests — three by four points or less. The team lost to Big Ten power Purdue, 28-21, and fell 17-6 to LSU. At 0-4, A&M faced a fifth consecutive defeat as Tech scored to take a 28-24 lead in Lubbock with 53 seconds remaining. However, quarterback Edd Hargett led the Aggies to the Raiders' 25-yard line with three seconds remaining. After a timeout, he ran in for a game-winning touchdown as time expired. The team would win its next five, included a convincing win over SWC superpower Arkansas, in which Hargett threw for three touchdowns. The six-game winning streak ended with a conference-clinching 10-7 win over Texas. Hargett found Bob Long for an 80-yard touchdown pass early in the fourth quarter. A&M qualified for the Cotton Bowl — the team’s first bowl game in 26 years. In Dallas, A&M shocked mighty Alabama, and former coach Paul "Bear" Bryant, when Wendell Housley ran in for the game-clinching touchdown. The 20-16 win was the Aggies' first Cotton Bowl victory in 27 years. Bryant, who coached Stallings at A&M, carried his protégé around the field after the game. Bryant told The Eagle, "[Stallings] did a better job with his team than I did with ours. I hate to lose, particularly for our seniors. But if we had to lose, I’d rather it would be to the Aggies." The Aggies finished the season 7-4. Stallings was awarded with a contract extension.

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