Coach Darrell Royal, center, of the University of Texas, chats with two of the team's captains, David McWilliams, left, and Scott Appleton, tackle, Dec. 27, 1963, in Austin, Texas. (AP Photo/Ted Powers)

BEVO BEAT Football

Daily Longhorn football history: The 1963 season

Posted July 11th, 2017


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. 

It took Texas 70 years to win its first national title.

In that time, Texas had numerous coaches, quite a few due to fan and media pressure, coaches die before and during the season, boosters drive coaches away from the program, program build ups, program collapses, big wins followed by big loses– Texas football had been through a lot in 70 years.


Finally, in 1963, Texas became the consensus best team in the nation when the Longhorns won its first national championship. Several times before then Texas could have captured the title, but something always happened. The only undefeated seasons prior to 1963 came in 1923, although they tied Baylor that year and went 8-0-1, and 1920, when Texas went 9-0. But that 1920 season lists California, Georgia, Harvard, Notre Dame and Princeton as national champions, so in other words, there really wasn’t a national champion that season.

In 1961, Texas would have likely won a title if not for a 6-0 loss to TCU at home.

However, Texas went 11-0 in 1963. They were named the national champion before its bowl game, then beat No. 2 Navy, and quarterback Roger Staubach, in the Cotton Bowl 28-6 to cease any doubt that they weren’t the best team.

One of the reasons Texas won the title was the Longhorns won a bunch of close games that had nipped them in the past. A 7-0 win at home against Baylor, where Texas’ Tom Stockton scored the only touchdown in the third quarter was key. Texas’ defense clinging to a 17-0 halftime lead in a 17-12 win at SMU, was key. Texas keeping Rice out of the endzone for three quarters in a 10-6 win, was big.

And finally, there was the Texas A&M game. This is where Texas claimed the national title. Trailing the Aggies 13-3 in the fourth quarter, Texas scored 12 points in the final 13 minutes to win the game. Tommy Ford scored with just over 12 minutes to play to make the score 13-9, with Texas A&M winning at home.

With 1:19 left, the Kyle Field crowd no doubt going crazy, Texas capped off an 80-yard, 15-play drive with a 1-yard Duke Carlisle touchdown to capture a 15-13 lead.

Texas won despite missing both extra point attempts.

Scott Appleton, who the Dallas Cowboys would draft fourth overall, won the Outland Trophy and was a consensus All-American. Ernie Koy, Jr., whose father was a legend at Texas in the 1930s, and Olen Underwood would go on to be drafted in 1964. And Tommy Nobis, the only sophomore to play for the Longhorns in 1963 would one day become the first-ever No.1 overall pick in the 1965 draft.

It was Royal’s seventh season at Texas, and since the start of the 1960s, Royal was 37-5-1.

He wasn’t even 40-years-old yet.

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