|1986 Cotton Bowl Classic|
|50th Cotton Bowl Classic|
|Date||January 1, 1986|
|MVP||Domingo Bryant (A&M SS)|
Bo Jackson (Auburn RB)
|Favorite||Auburn by 2 points|
|United States TV coverage|
The 1986 Cotton Bowl Classic was the 50th edition of the college football bowl game, played at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, Texas, on Wednesday, January 1. Part of the 1985–86 bowl game season, it matched the sixteenth-ranked Auburn Tigers of the Southeastern Conference (SEC) and the Texas A&M Aggies of the Southwest Conference (SWC). A slight underdog, Texas A&M won by twenty points, 36–16.
Main article: 1985 NCAA Division I-A football season
Main article: 1985 Auburn Tigers football team
Auburn was highlighted by running back Bo Jackson, who rushed for 1,786 yards and won the Heisman Trophy for a team that had at one point was ranked #1 before losing to Tennessee. They finished 8–3, but that was only good for sixth in the SEC, finishing behind the three teams that had beaten them (Tennessee, Florida, and Alabama).
Main article: 1985 Texas A&M Aggies football team
Jackie Sherrill was in his fourth year as head coach of the Aggies, his previous three years finishing with a combined 16–16–1. They won the Southwest Conference championship for the first time since 1976; their previous appearance in the Cotton Bowl was eighteen years earlier in 1968.
Televised by CBS, the game kicked off shortly after 12:30 p.m. CST, as did the Fiesta Bowl on NBC.
Bo Jackson started the scoring for Auburn with a touchdown run early in the game after a fumble recovery. But A&M responded with their own touchdown run by Harry Johnson, and they scored just three minutes later, but it was only 12–6 A&M, due to a missed extra point and a failed conversion attempt. Jackson stuck back for Auburn by catching a 73-yard touchdown pass from Pat Washington to give Auburn the lead again, though they missed the conversion attempt. Scott Slater kicked a 26-yard field goal to give A&M the lead again at halftime, 15–13.
Anthony Toney increased A&M's lead with a two-yard touchdown run early in the third quarter, but another failed conversion attempt meant it was still a one possession lead at 21–13. Auburn mustered a field goal by Chris Johnson to make it 21–16 entering the fourth quarter. Auburn drove to the A&M six-yard line as the fourth quarter began, but they were stuffed four times. Auburn was given another chance when A&M punted, but Jackson was stuffed again at A&M's 27. From that point on, A&M took control. With 2:22 to go, Keith Woodside caught a touchdown pass, as they also succeeded in gaining the two-point conversion. After an interception seconds later, Anthony Toney added on with his second rushing touchdown of the day to make it 36–16 as time expired.
|Time of possession||30:46||29:14|
Texas A&M played in the next two Cotton Bowls (1987, 1988), winning the latter. Auburn went on to five more consecutive bowl games under Dye before he resigned after the 1992 season. They returned to the Cotton Bowl 21 years later, and defeated Nebraska, 17–14.
((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)