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Texas A&M cadet saves Reveille: Breaking down the play of the week

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The most important play of the week involved a falling wide receiver, a guardian and a very important pup, who remains just about oblivious to the whole thing.

There were a lot of big plays in college football this weekend ... a game-winning Hail Mary for Arizonakey turnovers in FSU-Clemson, Indiana's game-winning drive against Mizzou.

But none stood out to us like the one that took place on the sidelines of a 58-6 Texas A&M blowout of SMU. A guy on the sidelines threw his body in front of a hurtling football player to protect a dog:


We feel this play deserves an in-depth breakdown. First, let's get to know the dramatis personae involved:

1. Der'rikk Thompson, SMU wide receiver


A senior for SMU, Der'rikk is a man on an island. He is the only SMU receiver with 10 receptions on the year and the only receiver with 100 yards receiving. In three games, the Mustangs have only scored one offensive touchdown. This play begins with hopes that Thompson can reel in a TD, but these hopes fade fast. The pass is overthrown and falls incomplete, and Aggies DB Nick Harvey bumps into him after the ball hits the ground, leaving him speeding out of bounds and off balance.

2. Reveille VIII, Texas A&M collie


Reveille is the beloved mascot of Texas A&M University.

She is a female rough collie, as were Reveilles III through VII. She is the highest-ranking member of the Texas A&M Corps of Cadets, a student military organization that trains A&M students. Her primary duty is being a source of school spirit for A&M, which includes attendance at all football games. Tradition states that if she barks in a class, that class will be excused, and when she dies, she will be buried in a special cemetery outside Kyle Field where a miniature scoreboard has been erected for Revs past to see the Aggies win for all eternity.

This is her final season as A&M's mascot -- after seven years, she will retire in the spring, with a search committee soon to begin looking for Reveille IX. She is 100 percent unaware of the vast majority of the things we just wrote, because she is a dog.

3. Ryan Kreider, Texas A&M sophomore

Bob Levey, Getty Images

Kreider is the mascot corporal, a position handed to a different sophomore in the Corps of Cadets Company E-2 every year. After a freshman year that essentially served as an audition for handling Rev, he's now in charge of her day-to-day life.

This has its ups and downs: on the one hand, he gets to chill with a dog all the time and he gets the best seat in the house at games. On the other hand, he has to bring the dog to class with him and gets stopped about 15 times a day for pictures, as this story about a previous handler describes.

Have you ever dogsat? Remember that stress of knowing that you're caring for someone else's beloved pet? Kreider does that every day, and its not just one person's pet, but rather the pet for a very large university and its very large alumni and fan bases. If something were to happen to Rev, he'd be the scapegoat.

The play

Thompson was just sprinting full-speed trying to catch a football. Now he faces a different task: not dying.


Thompson realizes that if he doesn't slow down by the time he hits the brick wall ahead of him, he will die. However, he also recognizes that the wall can help him fix his balance:


Reveille, meanwhile, is chilling on a cool pillow with a fan pointed at her. She is nonplussed by the situation, because she is a dog.

Thompson prepares to square up to the wall, perhaps not even noticing her. Kreider realizes she is in danger and begins to turn his body to protect her:


Rev remains nonplussed by the situation, because she is a dog.

This looks like a potential disaster: Kreider, an unpadded bystander with no momentum, is squaring up to deliver a hit on a wildly careening football player wearing pads and a helmet:


However, Kreider's blow is quite deft. Instead of trying to tackle or completely stop Thompson's momentum, he merely redirects him. He uses the full force of his body while protecting his head.


He directs Thompson up and to the side, out of the way of Rev. Rev remains nonplussed, because she is a dog.


Thompson protects himself and comes to a stop against the brick wall. Most impressively, Kreider hasn't let go of the leash -- or even pulled it taut. Notice the slack:


Rev remains nonplussed, because she is a dog.


Kreider has become somewhat of a hero for his actions. His story's gone viral, he's been interviewed, Good Bull Hunting made him a brief music video, and he received a free pair of senior boots from the commandant of the Corps -- quite an honor around College Station.

In another world, we'd be shocked. This guy just jumped in front of a sprinting, falling man trying to gain balance, and forced him to run into a brick wall instead of a padded one. The reason he did this was to protect a dog. That's insanity.

But this is the world of college football. It is by nature insane as well as wonderful. And so we celebrate Ryan and Rev, a valiant protector and his worthy protectee.

Reveille remained nonplussed, because she is a dog.

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports