Coach Darrell Royal of Texas talks with his quarterback Donnie Wigginton on the sidelines during the Texas-Oklahoma game in Dallas, Oct. 9, 1971, as the Longhorns were being defeated by the Sooners. A short time later Wigginton was injured and had to leave the game. Oklahoma defeated Texas 48-27. (AP Photo)

BEVO BEAT Football

50 in 50: When Texas football’s offense sputtered

Posted March 15th, 2017


We’re now deep into Texas Spring Football and the spring game is now nearly a month away.

If Tom Herman and his offensive staff have their way, Texas’ offense will be highly productive, putting up points, moving the chains and bringing some fun back to the 40 Acres. But if things don’t work out, they could end up on this list.

But we’ll be honest, they would have to be really, really, really inept to make this list.


Here are some offensive numbers to know, because if you forget them, you could be doomed to repeat them:

Fewest points scored in a season

From 1893 to 1938, Texas football broke and set this record over and over again. Now, how bad were these numbers in their era is another post altogether.

The worst scoring offense in Texas history is 1938 when the Longhorns scored just 52 points in nine games. Now, Texas scored 50 points in one game last season, and the single-game record is 92 in the early 1900s against Daniel Baker College.

But yes, the ultimate low scoring output for the season is 52 points, which is eight fewer points from the previous season, which is No. 2 on the list. Flexing out the number of games played to 10, the lowest output is 1902, when Texas scored 87. Obviously the 1938 team is also the record-holder for lowest scoring average with 5.8 points per game.

Fewest plays in a season

The offense in 1938 was really bad. They had just 412 plays, the lowest in Texas history.

But if we’re saying the modern era of Texas football began with Darrell Royal, the fewest plays ran by Texas came in 1960, when Texas had just 580 plays in 10 games. The 2016 team had more than 400 more plays (999) and is third on that list.

Fewest yards in a season

Alas, the 1938 team is not last here. The 1937 team had 30 less yards than 1938 with a grand total of 1,407 yards in nine games. That’s an average of 156.3 yards per game. In the modern era, Royal’s 1958 team had just 2,409 yards of offense, an average of 240.9 yards per game.

Fewest yards per play in a season

The 1939 team averaged just 3.31 yards per play, 490 snaps for 1,624 yards. The 1958 team averaged 3.80 yards per play.

Fewest passing yards in a season

The 1937 team had 358 passing yards, while the 1959 team had just 479 yards.

Fewest passing touchdowns in a season

Darrell Royal really didn’t like passing. In 1972 Texas threw just one passing touchdown. In fact, nine of Texas’ 10 lowest passing touchdown season came under Royal, whose teams threw just 11 touchdown passes from 1971-1974 (four of those touchdowns came in the 1973 season).

Fewest net rushing yards in a season

The 1938 team had 721 rushing yards. The lowest total from the Royal era and beyond is 1,351 yards in 1956, which is the fifth lowest in team history. The 1986 team is sixth in the list with just 1,489 net rushing yards, while the 1994 team is seventh with 1,506 yards.

Fewest rushing touchdowns in a season

In 1956, the last year before the Royal era began, Texas had just six rushing touchdowns in the season. Ricky Williams once rushed for six touchdowns in a game — twice. In 1989 Texas rushed for just 13 touchdowns in a season, the second worst in program history.

Fewest first downs in a season

Last but not least, but in this case it’s almost the least, the 1939 team had just 64 first downs in nine games. That is the worst. In the modern era, the lowest total came in 1960 with 132 first downs in 10 games.


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