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1970 The End of the Long Longhorns Run
Dan Jenkins
January 07, 2006
Despite a loss to Navy in the Cotton Bowl, Texas claimed it's third title
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January 07, 2006

1970 The End Of The Long Longhorns Run

Despite a loss to Navy in the Cotton Bowl, Texas claimed it's third title

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IT WAS THE DAY DARRELL ROYAL EITHER LOST THE meat on his Wishbone or found a Woo in his soup, a day the Texas Longhorns, who had been No. 1, 1-a or 1-b since before the midi, bombarded Notre Dame with so many fumbles the Cotton Bowl looked like an Easter egg hunt for leprechauns.

The day will go down in college football history as the greatest thing to happen to Nebraska since the Union Pacific started laying track out of Omaha. When it was all over, all that anyone from Texas or Ohio State could say was, Here's to the New Year, all you good folks in Nebraska. Win streaks and Buckeye leaves are out. Corn husks are in.

Naturally, this final explosion of the 1970 season took a lot of doing by a lot of people. Not the least was Joe Theismann of Notre Dame. Theismann got a second chance against Texas in Dallas, having lost to the Longhorns in the 1970 Cotton Bowl. With a big and angry Notre Dame defense giving him the ball every two seconds, Joe passed for one touchdown and ran for two more in the game's first 16 minutes. After that, not even LBJ, sitting up near midfield in his burnt-orange shirt and his maxi hair, nor Texas's own quarterback, Eddie Phillips, could do much about the Longhorns' situation.

So it sank in on the believers of Saint Darrell. Texas was finally going to lose a football game after winning 30 straight, and Royal was going to say, "I guess a defeat is good for you now and then, but I don't really recommend it."

Texas's loss to the Irish was required if the day of the big bowls was to have any prolonged drama for the followers of Ohio State or Nebraska. The reason was that Texas had already captured 1� regular-season No. 1s, those of UPI (which the Longhorns won outright by wrapping up an undefeated regular season with a 42-7 win over Arkansas) and the Hall of Fame (for which the Longhorns tied Ohio State). Moreover, Texas held a big lead over Ohio State and Nebraska, in that order, for the remaining national championship awards, those of the AP and the Football Writers' Association. Thus there might never have been any suspense on Jan. 1, 1971, had Texas experienced about eight fewer fumbles and a little less Theismann.

Dan Jenkins
Reprinted from SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, Jan. 11, 1971

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