The Gator Bowl played out like a storybook for the Texas A&M program. Jimbo Fisher ended the program’s three-year bowl drought in his first season in College Station by blowing out N.C. State 52-13, Trayveon Williams set the school rushing mark by adding 236 yards to his season total, Mike Elko’s defense played as well as they had all year and the 12th Man scored the first touchdown of his career.
That’s right, even Cullen Gillaspia got in on the scoring action in the Gator Bowl.
If you missed it, Gillaspia was given an opportunity near the goal line late against N.C. State. The former walk-on linebacker, who flipped over to fullback — a largely thankless position in today’s college football — to help the program fill a gap created on the roster following the hire of Fisher, simply would not be denied when given a chance to score.
A penalty leading up to this play made it seem like Gillaspia may not punch it in but not even three N.C. State defenders could keep the 12th Man out of the end zone as the game came to a close.
— Texas A&M Football (@AggieFootball) January 1, 2019
Following the game, Jimbo Fisher was asked if Gillaspia requested to be put in the game for the touchdown attempt.
“No, not one bit. Gilly never said one word, and it was something we did, and it was a play we wanted to run, and if we could get it in there and do what we wanted to do it,” Fisher answered. “Like I say, it’s special, and what that represents for the 12th man and Texas A&M, that is A&M. That is what A&M is about.”
While Trayveon Williams may have had the best night of his career in the Gator Bowl, the highlight of the game for him came when Gillaspia carried the three N.C. State defenders into the end zone.
“That was probably one of the best moments I’ve ever been a part of at this university, man, not only just having that moment for Cullen but having a moment for the 12th man,” Williams said after the game. “We were always talking about the whole season, we were always saying, Cullen, we’re going to get you in the end zone one way or the other, and the coaches wanted that, too, and they called the right play.
“They called a good fullback run play and Cullen made a play. He broke about three tackles and he was determined to get in the end zone and he got in, and if you couldn’t see, this whole team, we erupted and we all ran to him, and that was a big moment for us and this university.”
The 12th Man is tasked with carrying the flag for the entire Texas A&M program while he proudly wears that jersey and Gillaspia did just that in the Gator Bowl — and a few N.C. State players with him — as the program’s fullback summed up the entire game on the final offensive play for the Aggies on the final play of his A&M career.