Texas fans cheer during a NCAA football game at Royal-Memorial Stadium on Sunday, Sept. 4, 2016. (Stephen Spillman / for American Statesman)

Football

Daily Longhorn football history: The 1985 season

Posted August 2nd, 2017

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The Texas football program dates back to 1893. Each day, we look at a little piece of Longhorn history. We’re starting by looking at each Longhorn football season. 

For the first time since 1966 Texas was not in the preseason AP rankings, and that’s only because from 1961-1967, the AP only ranked the top 10. Texas was No. 19 in the coaches’ poll to start the season, and Texas would climb to No. 17 in the AP poll, but that was it.

Entering the game against No. 2 Oklahoma as the 17th-ranked team in the nation, Texas would go toe-to-toe with the Sooners. Oklahoma scored with 12:25 left in the game to take a 14-7 lead Texas would never recover from.

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Texas bounced back to beat No. 4-ranked Arkansas the next week 15-13 to get back in the polls. But a 44-14 loss to SMU took Texas out of the polls. It took back-to-back wins over Texas Tech and Houston to get back in the coaches’ poll and four straight wins to get back in the AP poll.

Of course as soon as that happened, Texas finished the season with a 42-10 loss to Texas A&M.

The Longhorns still tied for second in the Southwest Conference, finishing with a 6-2 record. They were invited to the Bluebonnet Bowl where they played No. 10 Air Force.

Air Force coach Fisher DeBerry called the 1985 season the “best season ever” for Air Force. The Falcons were 11-1 and Western Athletic Conference champions.

Ranked No. 8 against Texas in Houston, the Longhorns took a 7-0 lead on a Brett Stafford 34-yard touchdown pass to William Harris, but Air Force scored two unanswered touchdowns to take a 14-7 lead.

Air Force pushed its lead to 21-10 before two Longhorn field goals by Jeff Ward made the score 21-16. Air Force put the finishing touches on Texas when Tom Ruby made a 40-yard field with 1:06 left to play to push the score to 24-16.

The 8-4 record Fred Akers had in 1985 would be his last winning season at Texas.

Maybe the most notable thing that happened in 1985 was the debut of one of the greatest, but often overlooked, Longhorns of all time. Eric Metcalf joined the Longhorns as a freshman and averaged 9.5 yards per punt return and 19.5 yards per kick return. He had eight catches for 267 yards and two touchdowns and averaged 5.0 yards per carry with 293 rushing yards.

Metcalf led the Longhorns in total yards with 1,091.

Charles Hunter led the Longhorns with 717 yards with touchdowns while Darron Norris added 441.

Stafford and Todd Dodge spent time at quarterback with the current Westlake High school head coach passing for 802 yards and five touchdowns and Stafford 943 yards with three touchdowns.

Defensively, Richard Peavy had a team-high 115 tackles.

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