9/27/08 Ralph Barrera/AMERICAN-STATESMAN; Texas legendary players Bobby Layne and Tommy Nobis had their numbers retired in a ceremony at halftime before a large crowd in the Horns victory over Arkansas 52-10. Nobis accepts his jersey at right as Layne's son Alex Layne, left, accepts for the Layne family.

BEVO BEAT Football

Daily Longhorn football history: The 1964 season

Posted July 12th, 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. 

So how close was Texas to winning back-to-back national championships in 1964?

Try one stinking point.


Remember when Texas was bashing Arkansas seemingly every season in the 1930s and 1940s? Well, the Razorbacks had their revenge in 1964.

Texas, the defending national champions and winners of 15 games in a row, hosted No. 8 Arkansas on Oct. 17. Texas, ranked No. 1 at the time, trailed 7-0 at halftime, tied the game early in the fourth quarter, but Arkansas retook the lead when Fred Marshall hit Bobby Crockett with a 34-yard pass to make the scored 14-7.

Texas drove down the field and scored with 1:27 left in the game following a Ernie Koy Jr. 1-yard touchdown run.

But a failed two-point conversion ensued and Texas lost 14-13. So image what the Stephen A. Smith hot takes on that call would have been like.

Arkansas, coached by Frank Broyles, didn’t lose a game that season and claims a share of the national championship after being voted No. 1 by the FWAA. The AP gave the title to Alabama, but again, national titles were given before the bowl games back in those days which is important because Alabama lost its bowl game.

“But who did they lose to, Joe,” you might ask. Well that would be the Texas Longhorns.

After losing to Arkansas, Texas went right back to winning games, reeling off five straight wins to close the regular season out. They finished No. 5 in the AP poll after thrashing Texas A&M 26-7  to end the regular season.

The Longhorns were invited to the Orange Bowl to play Joe Namath and the national champion Crimson Tide.

During this game, Tommy Nobis made one of the greatest defensive plays in the history of the program. In fact, it might be the most famous.  With Texas holding a 21-17 lead late in the game, and Alabama having the ball on fourth-and-inches near the goal line, Nobis made the game-winning tackle as the defending champions beat the reigning champions.

See the five minute mark of this video:


The 1964 season also saw a changing of the guard. In Norman, Oklahoma was breaking in a new coach following the retirement of Bud Wilkinson at the end of the 1963 season. Texas coach Darrell Royal had led Texas to six straight wins over his alma mater. Instead of trying to lure Royal away from Texas, Oklahoma hired Gomer Jones to replace Wilkinson.

Royal’s squad welcomed Jones with a 28-7 beatdown in Dallas that October.

Following the season, Texas standouts Koy  and Olen Underwood were drafted into the NFL.

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