In anticipation of the Horns and Red Raiders getting together in Lubbock we go all the way back to forty freaking years ago and an epic UT/Tech matchup.
Get ready for four minutes of awesome kids.
Let's get to the Bullets!
- The 1976 Longhorns were the last edition under legendary coach Darrell K. Royal. It was also the only time a Royal team at Texas would finish .500 or worse.
- It's hard to overestimate the influence of Royal on football in the state of Texas. Hell it's hard to overestimate his influence generally. When Texas hired him, he was 17-13 as a head coach at Mississippi State and Washington and never finished higher than fourth in conference.
- In 20 years at UT Royal's Longhorns won three national titles, won or tied for first in the SWC three times and went to 16 bowl games when going to bowls games was an accomplishment.
- Future Texas Tech coaches Spike Dykes and David McWilliams were on Royal's staff. McWilliams would take the head coaching job at Texas, his alma mater, as well.
- Texas appeared very talented heading into 1976, Earl Campbell, Johnny Jones, and eight defensive starters were back. Campbell tore his hamstring in the spring of '76 and never fully recovered. He would win the Heisman in 1977.
- Texas started three different quarterbacks in 1976, none were very good, so after a preseason ranking of 7th, the Horns faltered quickly. It was a great time to get your licks in on the Longhorns and Royal, the only time Texas showed any vulnerability during his tenure.
- The results were hardly typical. Boston College beat the Horns on opening Saturday, OU and Texas would tie, and Tech, Houston, Baylor and A&M all piled losses on Texas.
- Meanwhile in Lubbock, a renaissance was happening under coach Steve Sloan.
- Before Robert Hall, Zebby Letheredge, Kliff Kingsbury, Graham Harrell, et al there was Rodney Allison. Allison threw for over 1,600 yards and ran for over 600 yards, a true duel threat quarterback for the era.
- Sloan led the Red Raiders to consecutive bowl games in 1976 and '77 and the '76 team came as close to a Cotton Bowl birth as any Tech squad would until they finally broke through in 1995.
- Tech lost an epic to Houston later in 1976 that cost the Red Raiders a conference title and assured the Cougars their first trip to the Cotton Bowl in their first year in the league.
- The Red Raiders ended the season as the 13th ranked team in all the land and lost to Nebraska in the good old Bluebonnet Bowl.
Here's four minutes of awesome. Enjoy. Thanks to ogelpro on YouTube for preserving this special unicorn.