Williams among A&M heroes that trigger rally in 2018 Gator Bowl

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BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) -- The Texas A&M football team got a huge effort from running back Trayveon Williams Monday night in their 52-13 Gator Bowl win over North Carolina State rushing for 236 yards. By doing so Williams set a Gator Bowl record and earned Most Valuable Player honors.

Despite the lopsided score, the Aggies were down in the game 13-7 in the second quarter until Williams' two yard touchdown triggered a 45-0 run by A&M as Jimbo Fisher completed a 9-4 record in his first season in Aggieland and saw the team snap a three game bowl losing streak.

"Coach has been harping on us that nobody here has won a bowl game so that was kind of a big emphasis. Not that we were focusing on that too much but the fact that we had to be our best today because we wanted to come out here and get this win for sure and we got it in tremendous fashion so I couldn't be happier," said defensive end Landis Durham.

"To be able to get this win means a lot. It brings a smile to my face to this whole team's face and we fell really good right now. It's good to feel like that," continued defensive lineman Kingsley Keke.

The Aggie defense was solid Monday night not allowing N.C. State to convert a third down on 13 tries. A&M finished the game with 11 tackles for loss and kept the Wolfpack out of the end zone early in the game, making them settle on field goals to build their 13-7 second quarter lead.

"It turned out to be huge. They didn't score, they got those two field goals and that was it for them. If they would have scored two touchdowns that would have been some momentum to build off of but either way third down came everybody just had to go out there and do their jobs whether it was covering, putting pressure on the quarterback or what ever it was. We went out there and did that and got a good win," added Durham.

The Aggies had five rushing touchdowns against N.C. State tying an A&M bowl record for rushing touchdowns in a bowl game.

The final one came courtesy of 12th Man Cullen Gillaspia. It marked the first time ever a 12th Man has scored a touchdown.

"It's a cool feeling. There's a lot of great 12th Men before me that laid the foundation and it's a cool deal that I got to go out there and represent them, be able to put one across the line for them," said Gillaspia.

The 16 seniors on the A&M roster will leave on a high not with a bowl win. The senior class had a career record of 32 and 20.

Now there were several heroes in last night's Gator Bowl victory. Williams was the biggest hero setting a pair of single season records, but there were others that helped the team end the season on a four game winning streak.

Coach Fisher didn't have to worry about any players sitting out of the bowl game in fear of getting hurt prior to the NFL Draft, but the Aggies were short handed with linebacker Otaro Alaka and defensive back Donovan Wilson both missing the game due to injury.

Linebacker Tyrel Dodson and the A&M defense answered the bell against their ACC opponent which had a 3,000 yard passer, as well as a 1,000 yard rusher and 1,000 yard receiver. Dodson had an interception that resulted in a touchdown early in the third quarter that helped the Aggies build a 28-13 lead.

"I studied a lot of film and I saw they ran trips, and it was 3rd and 5 and they liked to run little slant routes to the sticks and stop, kind of a spacing route. So Coach Elko said if I see it, go get it, and I went to go get it and ended up with a touchdown," said Dodson.

The Aggies first year head coach has praised his seniors throughout the year and showed his appreciation to them by putting in Gillaspia, the team's 12th Man, and watching him score in the final seconds of the game.

"Last play of my college career to go out with a touchdown that's something special. Thanks to this university and thanks to this coaching staff and thanks to my teammates for allowing me to wear this number 12 and be able to do that," said Gillaspia.

The Gator Bowls most valuable player was A&M junior running back Trayveon Williams. He rushed for a bowl record 236 yards and three touchdowns. His last TD run covered 93 yards and established two new single season school records. With 2,038 all purpose yards and 1,760 rushing yards.

"That was a big moment, but most important that we got that bowl win. That bowl win that we've been kind of missing out on the last four, five seasons, and we got that, the first bowl win under Coach Fisher, and we're definitely molding and showing where this program is going in a new direction, so this is the first game for the beginning the 2019 season, and we've got to get this thing going right, and we got that win," added Williams.

"You give him enough touches and great things are going to happen in every phase of the game and that's what great players do. And we knew if we kept giving it to him good things were going to happen," continued A&M Head Football Coach Jimbo Fisher.

"I saw him break those long runs and I was confident him him. He's a great player, a great guy and that was nothing less than what was expected," concluded Durham.

The Aggies will put their season ending four game winning streak on the line in the 2019 season opener on Saturday August 31st at Kyle Field against Texas State.