NCAA Football: Mississippi State at Texas A&M

Texas A&M used a “12th man” unit to cover the kickoff in a 38-10 win over Abilene Christian. The lineup held Abilene Christian’s returner to just a few yards on the return before sprinting into the end zone for a snap.

The Aggies have a long relationship with the “12th Man,” dating back to when a former basketball player came out of the stands to stand at attention in case he needed to enter the game in 1922. Former coach Jackie Sherrill created the first “12th man”. Man Kickoff Team” in 1983 as a walk-on unit to provide kickoff coverage. He advertised in the school newspaper that he was looking for a team of non-scholarship players who would sacrifice their bodies for a chance to give Texas A an advantage &M.

Sherrill’s walk-in unit later became one of the most successful in the country. Sherrill was in the building and honored at Kyle Field during Saturday’s victory.

Texas A&M has moved away from the walk-on kickoff coverage team, but retains the identity with a “number 12 man” who wears number 12 and participates on special teams. Senior defensive back Sam Mathews is the 12th man in 2023. However, to celebrate Sherrill, Texas A&M interim coach Elijah Robinson brought the unit back for a week.

“On Senior Day, I was trying to figure out how we could attract as many seniors as possible, especially the kids who come here every day,” Robinson told reporters. “They’re on the scout team, they don’t get recognition, they don’t get to play. How could we give those guys a chance to get on the field? They’ll never forget it.”

Texas A&M dominated Abilene Christian thanks to 106 rushing yards from running back Rueben Owens and 104 receiving yards from receiver Moose Muhammad III, who he put on his sleeves in a seemingly light toward former Aggies coach Jimbo Fisher during a standout performance. The Aggies held ACU to just 242 yards of total offense.

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