The 2018 season marks the 20th anniversary since Mack Brown’s first season at Texas. Brown coached the Longhorns for 16 seasons, won the 2005 BCS National Championship and put together the second most successful coaching tenure in Texas history.
That said, there is a first time for everything. To help you with your Texas football trivia, here is a list of the first time something happened at Texas under Mack Brown.
The first game
On Sept. 5, 1998, Texas faced New Mexico State
Mack Brown began his Texas tenure with a whopping 66-36 win over New Mexico State on the 40 Acres. Coached by Tony Samuel, New Mexico State went 3-8 in 1998, so it’s exactly an Earth-shattering accomplishment that he won, but there are some things you should know:
- 66 points is the most points scored in the modern era for a first-year Longhorn coach. Only Eugene Van Gent in 1916 had a better debut in the scoring department, when his team beat SMU 74-0.
- The win marked the first time a first-year Longhorn coach had won his debut since Fred Akers’ 44-0 win over Boston College in 1977. That 44-0 win is also the biggest win in a debut in the Texas modern era, if we you consider the modern era anything after the Dana X. Bible. Only Brown, Akers, Ed Price, Charlie Strong and Blair Cherry have won coaching debuts at Texas since the end of World War II.
- Brown’s 30-point win is the fourth largest margin of victory among those winners. After Akers’ win is Cherry’s 33-0 win in over Texas Tech in 1947 followed by Strong’s 31-point win over North Texas in 2014. Price, meanwhile, won his debut over No.6-ranked Kentucky in 1951, 7-6.
- The win is the first of 158 at Texas. That trails only Royal, who had 167 wins from 1957-1976.
The first touchdown
The first touchdown came from the only Heisman Trophy winner Brown coached and perhaps the second greatest player in program history, Ricky Williams. The running back scored on a modest 4-yard run that capped a 7-play, 76 yard drive that lasted 1:50 minutes with 11:03 left in the first quarter. Kris Stockton hit the extra point. Texas never trailed in the game.
The first play from scrimmage
Texas lost the coin toss and started the game on defense. The first play was a Ty Houghtaling incomplete pass to Dustin Guin. When Texas got the ball back following a NMSU punt, the first offensive play from Brown and his offensive coordinator Greg Davis was a 15-yard run by Williams, because their running back was Ricky Freaking Williams, and they weren’t recreating the wheel. The first three plays of the Brown era were Williams runs of 15, 11 and 11 yards. The first passing play was an incomplete pass from Richard Walton intended for Derek Lewis.
The first touchdown pass
Walton hit Lewis with14:35 left in the first half for a 21-yard touchdown that capped a 2:06 minute, 59-yard, 6-play drive. Stockton hit the extra point. It sparked a 24-point quarter that blew the game wide open.
The first field goal
Mack Brown’s tenure is full of memorable kicks, from several notable ones against Nebraska and Texas A&M, to the first one against NMSU. Stockton hit a 52-yard field goal with no time left in the first half that gave Texas a 31-3 halftime lead.
The first sack
Aaron Humphrey’s one sack for a seven yard loss kicked off a tenure that would see lineman from Brian Orakpo and Alex Okafor to Brian Robson and Lamarr Houston terrorize quarterbacks. The sack came in the second quarter with Texas up 14-3, and Houghtaling was the quarterback.
The first interception
Brown’s introduction to DBU came on the next defensive possession, when De’Andre Lewis (not a DB, BTW) picked off Houghtaling. He returned it 11 yards to the Texas 36. Williams would turn it into a touchdown five plays later with a 20-yard run.
The first turnover
Texas turned the ball over against NMSU, proof that not everything went as planned in Brown’s debut. Hodges Mitchell fumbled in the fourth quarter with the score 59-30. NMSU took over on their 48-yard-line. They would scored a few plays later, cutting the lead to 59-36.
The first loss
On Sept. 12, 1998, Texas traveled to Pasadena to play UCLA
The irony is that the location of Mack Brown’s first loss at Texas is the same spot of his biggest win, possibly his two biggest wins, and his biggest loss, the Rose Bowl. Obviously we don’t need an entire Vince Young history lesson to explain the 2005 Rose Bowl and the 2006 BCS National Championship Game. Those both occurred in Pasadena. The 2010 BCS National Championship, where Texas lost to Alabama and thus was the beginning of the end for the Mack Brown era, was at the Rose Bowl.
His first trip was in the regular season against UCLA, and the Bruins beat Texas 49-31. The bright side was that it wasn’t as bad of a beating as 1997, when UCLA came to Austin for the infamous 66-3 game where unranked UCLA blasted No. 11-ranked Texas.
UCLA led 21-3 after the first quarter and never looked back. Texas cut the score to 42-24 midway through the fourth quarter, but UCLA responded with a touchdown to further push the lead.
The first bowl win
On Jan. 1, 1999, Texas faced Mississippi State in the Cotton Bowl
The Longhorns were on the minds of many college football fans. Ricky Williams had broken Tony Dorsett’s rushing record in November in the win over No. 6 Texas A&M and followed that by winning the Heisman — both Brown and Akers coached Heisman winners in their first seasons. Against Mississippi State, coached by former A&M coach Jackie Sherrill, the Longhorns used a 59-yard touchdown pass from Major Applewhite to Wane McGarity, then a 52-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter by the same guys to take a 14-0 lead. Texas won 38-11.
Things to know about his bowl debut:
- Tom Herman, Brown and David McWilliams are the only coaches since Darrell Royal retired to win their bowl debut in their first season. Akers famously lost his game to Notre Dame during his first year, otherwise Texas would have won the national championship. Mackovic and Price didn’t reach a bowl game in their first seasons, while Royal lost to Mississippi 39-7 in his bowl debut. Cherry did win his bowl debut in his first season, beating Alabama in the Sugar Bowl in 1947.
- Brown’s 27-point win is the biggest margin of victory in a debut, first year bowl game in the Texas football modern era. Cherry’s 20-point win, followed by Herman’s 17-point win are the three largest.
- In general, Brown’s first bowl win came in the Cotton Bowl, same as Price in 1952 (16-0 win over Tennessee) and Royal in 1961, a 12-7 win over Mississippi. Royal, the most successful coach in Texas history, was 0-2-1 in bowl games before that win.
- Brown’s 27-point margin of victory in his first bowl win is second to Akers, who in 1978 led the Longhorns to a 42-0 win over Maryland in the Sun Bowl.
The first recruiting class
Depending on how you want to look at it, there are two first recruiting classes. The first class that signed with Mack Brown was the Class of 1998. But Brown was hired just a few months before signing day in February. So then the 1999 recruiting class would be his first true full recruiting cycle.
In February of 1998, where a Statesman archive search brings up a list of prospects and an unfavorable movie review of “Blues Brothers 2000,” Texas signed these players:
- Marcus Wilkins, LB, Westwood
- Adam Dunn, QB, New Caney, (No. 38 on Fab 55)
- Mike Williams, OL, The Colony, (No. 16 on Fab 55)
- Ahmad Brooks, WR, Abilene (No. 50 on Fab 55)
- Beau Baker, OL, Clear Lake
- Beau Trahan, QB/DB Bay City
- Jon Wyndham, DB, Manor
- Chris Robertson, RB/LB, Denison
- Victor Ike, RB, Bowie (No. 9 on Fab 55)
- Everick Rawls, LB, Texas City (No. 17 on Fab 55)
- Ervis Hill, ATH, Texas City (No. 45 on Fab 55)
- Tyrone Jones, DB, Texas City
- Jamal Joyner, DB, Dallas Carter (No. 51 on Fab 55)
- Antwan Kirk-Hughes, OL, Waxahachie (No. 1 on Fab 55)
- Jermain Anderson, LB, Texas City (No. 20 on Fab 55)
- Miguel McKay, LB, Lufkin
- Montrell Flowers, WR, Dallas Skyline (No. 2 on Fab 55)
- Lee Jackson, DB, Longview (No. 29 on Fab 55)
Yes, that is former Major League Baseball star Adam Dunn (who signed with the Cincinnati Reds instead of playing quarterback). Mike Williams would eventually be drafted fourth overall in 2002, while Ahmad Brooks would play cornerback for Texas and become one of Brown’s first standout players.
The 1999 class was even better, and included one of the top quarterbacks in the country, Chris Simms. But this class was much more, and more loaded:
- Cory Redding, DE, North Shore
- Roderick Babers: Houston Lamar
- Robbie Doane: Coppell
- Artie Ellis: Spring Westfield
- Kenny Hayter: Cypress Creek
- Ryan Haywood: Denver Jefferson
- O.J. McClintock: Westwood
- Cole Pittman : Shreveport Evangel
- Alfio Randall: Houston Yates
- Tyrone Richardson: Clarksville
- Bo Scaife: Denver Mullen
- Ivan Williams: Cleveland
- Adam Hall: QB, Westlake
- Antonio Moore: DB, Del Valle
- Brett Robin: RB, Westlake
- Monti Collier: DB, Dallas Carter
- Reed Boyd: LB, NB Canyon
- Marcus Tubbs: TE, DeSoto
- Kendrick Turner: DE Dallas Kimball
- Monti Collier, CB New Braunfels Canyon
- Derrick Dockery, OL, Garland Lakeview Centennial
- Shane Hudnall, ATH, Tyler Lee
- Dakarai Pearson, CB, Dayton
- Chad Stevens, TE, Cy Falls
- Gerald Hanson, WR, Houston Jersey Village
- Tillman Holloway, DL, Faith Christian Academy, Colo.
- Matt Trissell, RB, Teague
- Chris Simms, QB, Ramapo, New Jersey
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