Texas A&M brings a lot of firepower to its football games at Kyle Field. Several players from UMass figured that out in a very loud way.
We’re thankful the cannon was loaded with blanks. Josh Pate, a college football podcaster, tweeted the video of what happened. UMass players Jalen Stewart and Jalen Mackie had just finished pre-game warmups. The two then kneeled in the far corner of the end zone to say a prayer.
Meanwhile, the members of the Texas A&M corps, who are in charge of the cannon, fired the big gun. We’re not sure if the two players still could hear after the blast. But it definitely became a viral college football moment. It was pure coincidence that A&M had its annual salute to the military game scheduled for Saturday.
Texas A&M is all about tradition and pageantry. And the cannon, aka ’02, is part of it. The refurbished cannon has been part of the Kyle Field game scene since the late 1980s. It’s shot after every Aggie score. Yes, it is very, very loud. Opponents who travel to Kyle Field on the regular know all too well how loud it can get inside the stadium. The cannon adds to the football ambience. But UMass doesn’t know anything about Texas A&M traditions. Plus, the two players are from Pennsylvania and Florida. This is certainly foreign to them.
Given how the game is unfolding, this pre-game scene probably was the biggest highlight, at least in the first half. If you’re a Texas A&M football fan, you know how miserable it is right now around College Station. The Aggies haven’t won a game since September. Blame it on injuries, suspensions or inexperience. But the Aggies, who were ranked sixth in the country in preseason, have lost six straight games. The last time the program experienced this sort of losing streak was in 1972, back when current head coach Jimbo Fisher was in the first grade. Athletic director Ross Bjork was a newborn.
A game against UMass seemed to be the perfect elixir for a team in the doldrums. But the Aggies were only ahead 10-3 at halftime. A&M then added a field goal in the third quarter and expanded the cushion to 20-3 late in the game. Keep in mind UMass, a low-level FBS school, is 1-9.
After the Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band marched at halftime, most of the announced crowd of 90,000 bolted for the exits. Temps were in the low 40s, which isn’t prime football watching weather when the team is struggling.
Brent Zwerneman, who covers A&M for the Houston Chronicle, shared a panoramic video, showing the sparse crowd as seen from the press box. He captioned the video: “Update early in 2nd half, never seen Kyle Field like this, no matter the weather and even in the Fran years.” The last line was a reference to former coach Dennis Franchione, who A&M fired in 2007.
But bright side, the Aggies did win the cannon war.