- Created on Saturday, 31 December 2011 20:09
- Last Updated on Thursday, 16 May 2013 07:51
- Written by Travis Pulver
Rather than let things break them down, the Aggies used the recent losses as something to rally around. With the Northwestern Wildcats on fire and the game on the line, seniors Ryan Tannehill, Jeff Fuller, and Ryan Bullock made some key plays late in the game to give the Aggies a 33-22 victory in the Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas.
For a good part of the fourth quarter Saturday it looked like it was going to be yet another second half collapse for the Aggies in what had become a season of epic meltdowns. Tack on the stress that goes with seeing your head coach fired and it would not have been surprising to see another one.
Add the loss of offensive lineman Joseph Villavisencio to a tragic car crash two days before Christmas to the equation and no one would have blamed the Aggies if they had trouble focusing on the game.
"When you go through the adversity our guys have been through ... there was just a sense that things weren't quite right," interim head coach Tim DeRuyter said. "As a coach you're a little bit unsettled. But when we came out and started fast, I thought: 'These guys are really ready to play.'"
DeRuyter will he leaving the team as well; he has already taken the head coaching job for Fresno State.
Senior Jeff Fuller likely caught a few NFL eyes with seven catches for 119 yards and one touchdown. His 29 yard catch on 3rd and 6 late in the fourth quarter kept a key drive alive and led directly to Randy Bullock’s fourth field goal of the day and a 33-22 lead.
Quarterback Ryan Tannehill gave NFL scouts something to watch by completing 27 of 40 passes for 329 yards and a touchdown. The performance was good enough to earn him MVP honors for the game.
"It's been a long year with a lot of ups and downs," quarterback Ryan Tannehill said. "To get a bowl win for the first time in 10 years, to play for Joey V. most importantly and his family and Coach Sherman -- there's many different levels to it, but a win satisfies them all."
The win allowed the Aggies to finish the season on a positive note and with a winning record at 7-6. It also gives them some much needed momentum as they look to compete in the SEC next season. New head coach Kevin Sumlin is expected to name his staff in the next week.