With a fair amount of static that this could be the Legend’s final season, I felt it appropriate to take a look at what I feel are the ten biggest wins between both of his tenures. I tried to choose the best games that both had a significant impact on the program and in Bill’s coaching career. Starting August 23rd, I’ll be adding the next game in the countdown every day until kickoff. Enjoy.
September 19th, 1998 – #5 KSU 48, Texas 7
It was the first matchup between the two programs as members of the Big 12 (and first overall since 1943). Texas had fallen on hard times in the mid-’90s after perennially headlining the old Southwest conference for over 75 years, but in 1998 they had a promising new head coach in Mack Brown and a senior running back named Ricky Williams anchoring their backfield. Williams had averaged over 190 yards per game and was coming off a 1997 campaign in which he accrued over 2000 yards from scrimmage.
The Wildcats had obliterated their first two opponents (Indiana State and Northern Illinois) by a combined total of 139-7, however their performances had failed to turn many heads due to the level of competition. Any question of their legitimacy was put to rest in this one.
Williams (the eventual Heisman winner) quickly found out how good KSU’s defense was, rushing for just 43 yards on 25 carries and was often swarmed by three or four defenders. Freshman quarterback Major Applewhite was victimized as well, throwing two picks (one of which linebacker Jeff Kelly took to the house) and was visibly frustrated for most of the afternoon.
Meanwhile, the offense abused the Longhorn run defense, finishing with over 230 yards and three scores from three separate players on their way to a 35-0 halftime lead. They coasted in the second half, though storied returner David Allen made his way into the record books with this jaw-dropping 93 yard punt return TD – his third consecutive game doing so.
Texas would lose just once more that season, while the Wildcats loudly presented themselves as national title contenders with a bludgeoning win over a historic power and the best player in America.
***Highlights can be found HERE (at the 6:33 mark)***
Jake is also a writer at www.big12country.com. Find his other stuff plus much more by clicking the link.