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.
The 1972 season saw a major change for Darrell Royal’s coaching staff. Innovated co-offensive coordinator Emory Bellard left Texas to do something no Texas assistant has ever done since: he left the Longhorns to become the head coach of the Texas A&M Aggies.
Of course Texas also retained co-coordinator Fred Akers, who wouldn’t leave for a head coach position until after the 1974 season. But Akers wasn’t the lone OC on staff, Willie Zapalac, also the offensive line coach, was given co-coordinator duties.
Texas took the changes in stride and went 10-1 in 1972, the only loss coming to No.2-ranked Oklahoma 27-0. Outside of that game, Texas, ranked 14th in the preseason poll, rolled to 10-wins. Texas had close calls against SMU (17-9) and in the bowl game against Alabama, 17-13, but the for the large part, beat most of their squads rather comfortably.
Texas handed Bellard a 38-3 loss to end the regular season.
Jumping on the scene was one of the greatest running backs in the history of Texas football, Roosevelt Leaks. A sophomore in 1972, Leaks (a Brenham native) rushed for 1,099 yards and eight touchdowns in 1972. He was the first 1,000-yard rusher since 1968 (Chris Gilbert).
At quarterback was Alan Lowry, who rushed for 661 yards and a team-high 11 touchdowns.
Also of note is Lowry’s back-up was Marty Akins who would go on to break a number of Texas quarterback records. Akins was eligible to play as freshman thanks to the NCAA lifting its rule against freshman. Which could make you wonder what would have happened if Texas had Leaks as a freshman in 1971.
In the bowl game against coach Bear Bryant and the Crimson Tide, Lowry broke off a 34-yard touchdown with 4: 22 left in the game to give Texas the lead and the win. Lowry, a senior, was named the Cotton Bowl MVP along with linebacker Randy Braband.
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