BEVO BEAT Football

Daily Longhorn football history: The 1973 season

Posted July 21st, 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. 

The 1973 Longhorns featured breakout 1972 star Roosevelt Leaks as a junior and sophomore quarterback Marty Akins. But also Raymond Clayborn, who would go on to a Pro Bowl Career with the New England Patriots as a cornerback, was in the backfield for Texas.

Leaks had one of the best rushing season by a Longhorn in decades when he went for 1,415 yards and 14 touchdowns. Akins added 492 yards with eight touchdowns while Clayborn had 320 with four scores. Also pacing the Longhorns attack was Joe Aboussie who went for 357 yards while Mike Presley rushed for 255 yards with nine rushing yards.


These season also saw future College Football Hall of Famer Doug English emerge. English may be one of the greatest defensive players to hail from Texas and he recorded 62 tackles off the defensive line for Texas. Wade Johnston led the Longhorns in tackles with 65.

On the field, Texas went 8-3 but a perfect 7-0 in Southwest Conference play. The undefeated conference season yielded a sixth-straight SWC title. No. 3 Texas was surprised by unranked Miami in their first game, and dropped to 2-2 on the season with No. 6 Oklahoma beating Texas 52-13, one of the worst loses Royal suffered to Oklahoma, who had promoted its offensive coordinator Barry Switzer to the head coaching job before the season.

Texas won its next six games, including a 34-6 win over Arkansas and a 42-13 win over Texas A&M.

Texas finished the regular season ranked No. 8 in the country and set to play in the Cotton for the sixth straight season.

The Longhorns’ opponent would be  Nebraska, who was also coached by a first-year, former offensive coordinator: Tom Osborne. Another fun fact: Osborne’s defensive coordinator that season was Monte Kiffin, who would go to revolutionize NFL defenses in the 1990s with his Tampa-2 defense.

Nebraska won the Cotton Bowl 19-3. It was the second time in three years that Texas failed to score a touchdown in the Cotton Bowl.

Luckily for the Longhorns, a Tyler Rose was on the way.

News on Bevo Beat is free and unlimited. Access to the rest of is included with an Austin American-Statesman subscription in addition to and the ePaper edition. Subscribe today at