Big 12: Kwame Cavil

Williams' dramatic run ranks as the Big 12's No. 13 memory

June, 24, 2009
6/24/09
6:30
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

No. 13

Run, Ricky, run
Date:
Nov. 27, 1998
Place: Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium, Austin, Texas.
Score: Texas 26, Texas A&M 24

Ricky Williams entered the final game of the 1998 regular season needing only 11 yards to break Tony Dorsett's career rushing leader.

But the Texas running back did it in dramatic style, breaking the record on a 60-yard TD run where he broke three tackles.

Williams finished the game rushing for 259 yards on a career-high 44 carries as he later broke Napoleon McCallum's NCAA career all-purpose rushing record -- without the benefit of a kick return to help boost his totals.

With 1:13 left in the first quarter, Williams spun through massive clearing blocks by left tackle Leonard Davis and left guard Roger Roesler. After surging past Texas A&M linebacker Warrick Holdman, Williams took advantage of a lead block by fullback Ricky Brown. That pushed him into the secondary as he streaked down the left sideline.

Williams powered through a tackle attempt by Texas A&M safety Rich Coady at the A&M 12. He then took advantage of a devastating downfield block by wide receiver Wane McGarrity, barging past cornerback Jason Webster's desperate tackle at the end zone.

The game was briefly stopped while Williams received the game ball and was honored by a group of dignitaries including Dorsett, who had set the record 22 years before.

The festivities seemed to affect Williams, who fumbled on the next play after the record run, providing a miscue that enabled A&M to score its first touchdown of the game. A 20-yard pass from Randy McCown to Derrick Spiller on the first play of the second quarter accounted for that score.

But as big as Williams' record-breaking run was, there were other big memories in the game that ranks among the classics between the two bitter rivals.

Williams' record-breaking run remained Texas' only touchdown through three quarters as three Kris Stockton field goals boosted them to a 16-7 lead.

The Longhorns extended that lead to 23-7 on a 10-yard pass from Major Applewhite to Kwame Cavil with 9:46 left.

But Texas A&M, which had already clinched the Big 12 South title coming into the game, charged back with a 30-yard field goal by Russell Bynum 77 seconds later.

And on the play after Williams broke McCallum's all-purpose record -- his career-high 41st carry of the game -- Holdman forced him to fumble again. That led to a 17-yard TD pass from McCown to Spiller that trimmed Texas' lead to 23-17 with 7:39 left.

The Aggies again forced a defensive stop and a 35-yard punt return by Webster to the Texas 25 set them up. McCown then scored on a 1-yard keeper on fourth down with 2:20 left that gave them their first lead at 24-23.

Texas responded with the game-winning drive keyed by Applewhite, who completed 7-of-8 passes for 55 yards on the possession. That set up Stockton's game-winning 24-yard field goal with five seconds remaining.

Factoids to note: Williams finished with 6,279 career rushing yards -- a total that remains a Texas record. He became the eighth player in NCAA history to rush for 2,000 yards in a season, tying Marcus Allen's record for most 200-yard rushing games in a career ... Texas A&M linebacker Dat Nguyen provided 14 tackles to push his career total past 500 ... Applewhite completed 24-of-35 passes for 232 yards and a touchdown and an interception ... Stockton's late game-winning kick redeemed him after he earlier misfired on attempts of 50 and 28 yards ... The Texas defense was the underrated story of the game, holding the Aggies to minus-7 yards rushing and 173 total yards ... Texas produced 483 yards in the game against an A&M defense that was ranked second nationally in total defense coming into the game ... The loss snapped a 10-game A&M winning streak after a season-opening loss to Florida State.

They said it, part I: "I had a smile on my face after I broke that one tackle. I knew I had broken the record," Texas running back Ricky Williams on his record-breaking run.

They said it, part II: "It's been a special year because of Ricky Williams. He is the best player I have ever seen. I think he is one of the best, if not the best, college football player ever," Texas coach Mack Brown on Williams, the key player in Brown's first season with the Longhorns.

They said it, part III: "That drive epitomizes what our offense has been the whole year. There was never any doubt we would win the game," Texas quarterback Major Applewhite, about the Longhorns' game-winning drive.

The upshot: Williams' big day cemented his position in the Heisman race, which he won two weeks later. It also catapulted the Longhorns into the Cotton Bowl, where they posted an impressive 38-11 victory over Mississippi State that enabled them to finish 9-3 and 15th in the final Associated Press poll.

Texas A&M didn't mope about the loss very long. The Aggies charged back to claim a dramatic 36-33 double-overtime victory over Kansas State the following week in the Big 12 championship game (but more about that later). The Aggies then played in their first and only BCS bowl game, where they were beaten in the Sugar Bowl by Ohio State, 24-14. A&M finished the season 11-3 and No. 11 in the final AP poll.

The countdown:

14. Wild game, wilder post-game rants when Gundy and Leach meet.
15. Rout 66: No, that score wasn't a typo.
16. KSU finally slays the Cornhuskers.
17. Kingsbury and Long hook up in a passing duel for the ages.
18. Henery and Suh make Colorado blue.
19. Stunning OSU rally leads to Stoops' first home loss.
20. It's never over for Texas Tech until it's over.
21. Reesing to Meier. Again and again.
22. A Texas-sized comeback -- Texas over Oklahoma State in 2004.
23. A Border War unlike any of the rest -- Missouri over Kansas in 2007.
24. Seneca Wallace's wild TD run vs. Texas Tech in 2001.
25. Baylor's "So Much for Taking a Knee" against UNLV in 1999.

Shipley's return provides another big weapon for Texas

December, 22, 2008
12/22/08
9:04
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

The return of Texas wide receiver Jordan Shipley really never was in doubt. His hardship case appeared as air-tight as one could expect considering he missed all of his first two seasons with knee and hamstring injuries.

But still, his return guarantees Colt McCoy's most explosive receiving threat will be back for another season. And if he grabbed 79 balls while sharing the featured receiver status with Quan Cosby this season, he might be able to make a run at Kwame Cavil's school record of 100 receptions next season.

I think that Shipley's return makes McCoy that much more comfortable about returning for his senior season. And having a top receiver back might make his chance of claiming the elusive Heisman Trophy that much easier.

It makes Texas that much better next season and provides another reason why I think the Longhorns merit the early designation as the South Division's best team for 2009 and a potential challenge for the national championship.

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