The Notre Dame upset by Purdue last Saturday merely emphasized the crazy kind of season it quickly has become. It began with Houston getting bushwhacked by Arizona State in Tempe, not remarkable in itself except that the score was a lopsided 30-9. The next week No. 5-ranked USC was beaten badly by Arkansas 22-7 while Missouri fell to Mississippi.
But it was the third week that clearly established the pattern. Nebraska, which had given folks the impression it might be another Bob Devaney-type power, was tripped by Wisconsin. Iowa had lost 12 games in a row, but it landed on 12th-ranked UCLA like a sack of grain, winning 21-10. Penn State-Navy is often good for 40 points or so, all of them State's, but this time only 13 were scored in the rain of University Park, and Navy came away with the lucky seven. LSU, ranked ninth, fell to Texas A&M, while Houston reinforced the opinion that it was overrated by losing to Miami of Florida. And lest anyone think Arkansas was a giant after it knocked down USC, the Razorbacks proved otherwise in a 26-7 loss to Oklahoma State.
Nothing last week—in fact, all season—compared to Notre Dame's fall from power, but Arizona State and Tennessee were surprising as they managed to total 0 points while being beaten by Missouri and Auburn. In the grand tradition of the season, Oklahoma State showed that just because it beat the team that beat USC did not mean it was invincible. It lost to Baylor. And down in Lubbock, the once-proud Longhorns put on an odd display of ineffectiveness as a fine Texas Tech team cut them up into little pieces, indicating that Texas' long reign in the Southwest Conference may be over.
All the scoring at Lubbock came in the first half when the Raiders took a 26-3 lead on a six-yard run by Larry Isaac and three passes from Tommy Duniven to Lawrence Williams. "I shut our offense down in the second half," Tech Coach Jim Carlen said afterward, "because I felt it would be better to make Texas work for the score rather than risk giving them an easy one on an interception."
October 6, 1974
An easy one is precisely what the Longhorns needed because they could not do a thing for themselves. "This is about as bad as I can remember us looking offensively in a long, long time," said Darrell Royal.
Ten years, to be exact, Darrell, because that is how long it has been since Texas failed to score a touchdown against a Southwest Conference team. The loss also ended a 19-game league winning streak and was Texas Tech's first victory over the Longhorns since 1968. But beware. Texas came back that season to win the first of six straight titles.
Tech was simply overpowering in the first half, outgaining the Longhorns 248 yards to 58. Actually, Texas looked as good as ever when it went ahead 3-0 on Billy Schott's 40-yard field goal. But then the Raiders marched 80 yards in 11 plays to take a lead that grew like Topsy.
It was third and 16 on the very next possession when Tech scored again. Williams hauled in a 77-yard TD pass when Longhorn Defensive Back Terry Melancon misunderstood his coverage assignment. "I was supposed to cover deep, and I played a curl instead," he said. For his mistake, he got the taunts of Williams, who danced into the end zone with the ball held high and the home crowd cheering.
The second Duniven-Williams connection was a 17-yarder, which came on another third-and-long situation. They were back again less than a minute later when Gary Monroe recovered Alfred Jackson's fumbled kickoff at the three. A clipping penalty erased one score and set the ball back to the 18, but Williams got loose in the corner for his third reception.
In the second half Duniven's passing statistics stayed right where they were at the end of the first, seven completions in seven attempts for 145 yards and three touchdowns. And Texas, despite its big deficit, did not go to the air much, either. The Longhorns threw only eight times, completing two, and tried to make do with the Wishbone. They threatened twice, gaining first downs inside the 10, but they never could score.
With Texas down (but not out), all the Raiders have to worry about now is three consecutive games against other Top 20 teams, that is teams now in the Top 20—Oklahoma State, Texas A&M and Arizona. "The season is just beginning," sighed Carlen.
Meanwhile, the Longhorns have Oklahoma coming up. The Sooners should win, but don't bet on it. It's that kind of season.