The 1986 Cotton Bowl Classic was an American college football bowl game played on January 1, 1986 at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, Texas….as it was the 50th Cotton Bowl Classic held….in a game featuring the Texas A&M Aggies and the Auburn Tigers….featuring Heisman Trophy winner RB Bo Jackson.
Coach Jackie Sherill was in his fourth year with A&M….while in his previous three years the Aggies finished with a combined 16–16–1….when in 1985 season they won the Southwest Conference championship for the first time since 1976….and played in the Cotton Bowl for the first time since 1968.
Auburn’s season was highlighted by RB Bo Jackson….who rushed for 1,786 yards….while winning the Heisman Trophy for a team that had at one point in the season was ranked #1 before losing to Tennessee. They finished 8-3….but that was only good for 6th place in the Southeastern Conference (SEC)….while finishing behind the three teams that had beaten them in Tennessee, Florida and Alabama.
Bo Jackson started the scoring for Auburn with a touchdown run early in the game after a fumble recovery….as the Aggies responded with their own TD on a run by Harry Johnson….then 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….when Bo Knows Bo then stuck back for Auburn by catching a 73-yard touchdown pass from Pat Washington to give Auburn the lead again….but they too missed the conversion attempt….then Aggie kicker 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 2-yard touchdown run early in the third quarter….but another failed conversion attempt meant it was still a one possession lead at 21–13….as Auburn then mustered a field goal by Chris Johnson to make it 21–16 entering the fourth quarter. Auburn drove to the A&M 6-yard line as the fourth quarter began….but they were stuffed four times in an outstanding Aggie goal line stand. Auburn was given another chance when A&M punted….but Jackson was stuffed again at A&M’s 27….and from that point on….A & M took control….and with 2:22 to go in the game….Aggie’s Keith Woodside caught a TD pass…and they also were successful in gaining the 2-point conversion….then just seconds later the Aggies intercepted an Auburn pass….when RB Anthony Toney added his 2nd rushing touchdown of the day to make it 36–16 as time expired.
Texas A&M went on to play in the next two Cotton Bowls….losing in 1987 and winning in 1988….while Auburn would go on to five more consecutive bowl games under Coach Pat Dye before he resigned after the 1992 season.
Bo Jackson would finish off his Auburn career by winning the 50th Cotton Bowl Classic MVP….which really makes this MUST SEE TV for any and all college football fans.