When you go to bed tonight, ask yourself, “how many records did I set today?” Chances are, unless its some related to those deliberately addicting Taco Bell Nacho Fries, you lagged behind Mike Richardson’s afternoon in November of 1968.
Richardson ran for Hayden Fry and his pesky 1960s SMU Mustangs. Fry’s Mustangs were known for an areal assault led by Chuck Hixson, but on this November day at the Cotton Bowl, the Ponies went to the ground. Forty-two thousand fans witnessed the Mustangs take on Texas A&M in the venerable Cotton Bowl. SMU, two year’s removed from a Conference Title threatened another in 1968 and to do so, they beat the defending conference champs, the Aggies, 36-23.
The story was Richardson, the stocky senior from Fort Worth, and his assault on the record book.
That afternoon Richardson set a school and SWC record with 39 carries. He crushed a 23-year-old school rushing mark with 244 yards, besting Paul Page’s 145 yards set back in 1945. His four scores tied Don McIhenny’s school mark, and he beat Kyle Rote’s single-season rushing mark, setting the number by nearly 40 yards with two games left to play.
At one point, SMU drove 89-yards to tie the score, after penalties, Richardson gained 91 yards on the drive by himself. In the fourth quarter, desperate to stop Richardson, A&M employed a seven-man defensive front. After seven straight runs from Richardson, Hixson to lofted a 33-yard touchdown strike to Ken Flemming and the final score of the game.
Richardson’s single-game carry and yardage mark still stand.
A&M’s Edd Hargett turned the record book inside out as well with a historic passing day, setting a career mark for completions and almost catching Sammy Baugh for single-game completions. After the dust settled the marks that fell looked like this:
SWC Record for Carries in a Game: 39 - Mike Richardson (Chris Gilbert-Texas, David Dickey-Arkansas - 38)
SMU Single Game Rushing: 244 - Richardson (Paul Page - 145)
SMU Single Game Touchdowns: 4 - Richardson (Don McInhenny - 4)
SMU Single Season Rushing Yards: 1,100 - Richardson (Kyle Rote - 777)
SWC Career Completions: 357 - Edd Hargett (Terry Southall - Baylor 328)
SWC Total Offense: 418 - Hargett
The Mustangs lost a week later at #10 Arkansas but got a pretty nice consolation prize in a win over Oklahoma in the Astro-Bluebonnet Bowl. Richardson went on to a six year career in the AFL, the NFL, and the WFL.