One day, three glorious victories for the Aggies, Frogs and Astros

When Kay and I left Arlington at 7 Saturday morning for an 11 a.m. kickoff at Kyle Field, we were excited about getting to spend the day together at a Texas A&M football game — something we’d done only twice in the past 20 years (1999, 2017). Even though she’s a Horned Frog and we’d had TCU season tickets in 2015 and ’16, I’m always saying we should just pick a TCU game (cheaper) instead of going to an Aggie game (way more expensive). That’s why we rarely go to A&M games.

But she’s always saying no, we should go to a TAMU game, bless her heart. And when we have gone, she’s swayed right along with me and the rest of Kyle Field to the Aggie War Hymn. Bless her heart again. And she’s kissed me every time the Aggies have scored a touchdown, just like Ags do. Really bless her heart for that.

We snapped this selfie just as the Aggies’ victory ended. (Photo by Frank Christlieb)

Early in the season, we picked out Saturday’s matchup with Mississippi State — the same opponent we saw the Aggies lose to two years ago, 35-14 — and I asked for the day off at the newspaper. As game day got closer and I hadn’t bought tickets yet, we got lucky and scored the unused upper-deck north end zone season tickets of dear friend and former DMN colleague Frank Smith, Class of ’87, who was going to be out of town and wouldn’t be using his. (Thank you, Frank!)

A&M’s had no luck against the Bulldogs in recent years, losing three in a row. Plus, the Ags — with the toughest schedule in the land — came in already having lost three games, to two No. 1-ranked teams, Clemson and Alabama, and the team ranked No. 8 at the time, Auburn.

So it had to come as a surprise to most of the 102,000-plus in attendance when the Aggies built leads of 28-7, 42-17 and 49-24 on their way to a no-sweat 49-30 win, one of their most impressive over an SEC opponent in recent years.

The Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band never loses a halftime, but there was no halftime competition on this day. (Photo by Frank Christlieb)

But for Kay and me, the Ags’ game was only one of three that mattered big-time to us Saturday. Her Horned Frogs also hosted No. 15 Texas that afternoon, and my Astros (actually, they became “our Astros” early in our 25-year marriage) played the Nationals in Game 4 of the World Series that night.

We talked before Saturday and on the way to College Station about how awful it would be if our teams went 0-for-3. I thought the Aggies had a good chance of winning, but neither of us were confident about TCU, which had shown flashes of both greatness and not-so-greatness so far. And I just wasn’t sure about the Astros, who had taken Game 3 the previous night to cut their series deficit to 2-1.

To be blunt, and not to sound like we don’t have faith in our teams (we’re pessimists by nature), we didn’t expect to go to bed Saturday night reveling in three wins by the only three teams we really care about.

Aggies 49, Bulldogs 30
Horned Frogs 37, Longhorns 27
Astros 8, Nationals 1

Can you say win-win-win?

Luckily, Kay and I were able to listen to the second half of the TCU-Texas game on the drive home. Kay dozed off after the Frogs took a 10-point lead on a field goal early in the fourth quarter. Somewhere between Hillsboro and Fort Worth, she opened her eyes enough for me to tell her the ’Horns had just scored to cut the lead to three with just under seven minutes left, and at that point, rather than Fear the Frog, I feared her Frogs were going to choke away the game.

Thanks in large part to three turnovers, the Aggies had little trouble beating Mississippi State on Saturday at Kyle Field, ending a three-year losing streak against the Bulldogs. (Photo by Frank Christlieb)

But as we drove into south Fort Worth, just miles south of where the action was taking place at Amon Carter Stadium, Kay and I celebrated when freshman quarterback Max Duggan calmly led TCU on a 75-yard drive and took it in himself from 11 yards out to bump the Frogs’ lead back to 10 with 1:59 to play. We celebrated victory when a fourth interception of the ’Horns’ Sam Ehlinger wrapped up TCU’s fifth victory in the past six years over UT, and sixth out of eight under coach Gary Patterson.

More Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band greatness. (Photo by Frank Christlieb)

After picking up dinner for the kids, we got home after the Astros had already taken a 2-0 lead over the Nats in the first inning, an early sign of great things to come. On the strength of rookie Jose Urquidy’s masterful five shutout innings, Robinson Chirinos’ two-run blast and Alex Bregman’s grand slam, the Astros pulled away to pull even in a series that had looked, after two games, like a potential Washington sweep.

Can you Aggies yell WHOOP? Can you Horned Frogs yell Riff, Ram, Bah, Zoo, Give ’em Hell, TCU? Can you Astros fans say Attaway, Astros?

For the Christlieb family, at least, it was a great Sports Saturday (that doesn’t include the kids, who don’t care a whit about sports).

And lest you think I’ve forgotten, we did score another win Saturday: The thrill and honor that come with getting to see the Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band. There’s no finer group of marching musicians in the land, and their performances fill me with pride and awe. And there’s no better place to sit than in the north end zone, where the band sets up for halftime and comes off after forming its legendary Block T.

The Aggie Band forms its famous Block T, marching back toward the north end zone before running off the field.

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