If I told you Houston scored 100 in 1968, chances are you’d assume it was Guy Lewis’ basketball squad led by the great Elvin Hayes, Don Chaney and Ken Spain, but in November of ‘68 Bill Yeoman’s football team dropped 100 on woeful Tulsa in the dome. A week earlier Houston set a school record with 77 points in a win over Idaho. The scoring bug continued against a two-win Golden Hurricane squad.
The slaughter started rather inauspiciously, with the Coogs building a 24-0 halftime lead thanks to touchdowns by fullback Paul Gipson, receiver Elmo Wright, and quarterback Ken Bailey. Tulsa feigned a comeback with a touchdown to start the third quarter when the extra point failed Houston held an 18 point lead. Some credit Wright with the first endzone dance he executed while playing for the Coogs.
The floodgates opened or perhaps exploded. Maybe the floodgate never existed, or it was part of our collective subconscious. Whatever the explanation, Houston commenced beating Tulsa like a rented mule.
Houston scored 27 in the third as Gipson went about a career day with three scores and 289 yards in just under three quarters. Gipson injured his hip in the first half, but the medical staff offered up some treatment at halftime. He finally came out of the game with 16 seconds to go in the third. Imagine what he could’ve done with two good hips. Wright added a second touchdown on a 66-yard score. Kicker Terry Lieweke probably had dead leg for a week after a field goal and thirteen extra points.
On the game, Houston ran for 555 yards, threw for another 207 for a 762 yard total or 28 yards more than Pat Mahomes threw for against Oklahoma in 2013. Mahomes and Tech lost that day. The Coogs wracked up 37 first downs, scored on an interception return and a punt return. The punt return, with 22 seconds left put the score at 99-6 when Lieweke knocked in the final point. The 100 points is a record, and most consider the two-game total a modern record, though for some reason the NCAA didn’t track individual team numbers back then.
Tulsa rebounded with a win over Wichita State a week later in their season finale. Houston couldn’t keep the good times rolling, losing to Florida State to end the 1968 season 6-2-2.
All told Houston score 49 points in the final quarter. Twelve Cougars scored On the same day, out in sunny California, Orenthal James Simpson of USC set the NCAA rushing mark, beating Mercury Morris’ mark set when he played for West Texas State. Simpson did so in a Trojan win over UCLA. If my math is correct, USC scored 72 fewer points than Houston that day.