Photo courtesy of Texas A&M athletics
Ask any NFL fan who the best coach of the 1980s was and Bill Walsh is likely to be a popular answer. Walsh coached the San Francisco 49ers to three Super Bowl victories during the decade.
His head coaching career, however, began and ended with stints at Stanford. On this day 30 years ago, Walsh’s second stint started off on the wrong foot.
In the Pigskin Class, Texas A&M rallied with 10 fourth-quarter points to stun the Cardinal, 10-7.
Setting the Stage
Coming off an 8-4 season under another eventual accomplished NFL coach in Dennis Green, Stanford was ranked No. 17 as it arrived for the Pigskin Classic in Anaheim on Aug. 26, 1992. Walsh had gone 17-7 in his first stint at Stanford in 1977 and 1978 and was looking to pick up where he left off.
Texas A&M was ranked No. 7 as R.C. Solcum began his fourth season in College Station. The Aggies had finished 10-2 the year prior and won the Southwest Conference for the first time since 1987.
Through three quarters, a 5-yard touchdown plunge by Stanford fullback J.J. Lasley had accounted for all the scoring. Texas A&M was sparked by a change at quarterback.
Corey Pulig was replaced by Jeff Granger midway through the third quarter. Early in the fourth, Granger pulled the Aggies even with a 21-yard touchdown pass to tight end Greg Schorp.
After Aaron Glenn’s interception of Steve Stenstrom thwarted a potential scoring opportunity for the Cardinal, Granger’s 33-yard scramble put Texas A&M in Stanford territory. With less than five minutes to play, Terry Venetoulias connected on a 39-yard field goal for the winning score.
Los Angeles Times
Stanford managed just 236 yards in Walsh’s return but things would turn around. The Cardinal finished the year with a 10-3 record and a No. 9 national ranking after defeating Penn State in the Blockbuster Bowl.
Texas A&M completed a perfect 12-0 regular season before falling to Notre Dame in the Cotton Bowl. With a 12-1 record, the Aggies finished seventh in the AP Poll.
Two teams that finished in the top 10 gave fans a great show to open the 1992 campaign. They did so on this day three decades ago.
Mike Ferguson is the managing editor for Fifth Quarter. Be sure to follow Mike on Twitter at @MikeWFerguson. Follow all of Mike’s work by liking his Facebook page.