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50 in 50: The Texas football defenses that dominated

Posted March 19th, 2017

Spring football is here and the Texas football spring game is weeks away. One of the the things coach Tom Herman will be focusing on is the defense that struggled so much in 2016 that head coach Charlie Strong had to take over the reins and serves as the defensive coordinator for much of the season.

That unit will not be on the “best of” list. But here are some that are.

The fewest points allowed in the season

We’re not going to count the No. 1 team because the 1895 squad played just five games and allowed no points. Of the Texas teams that played at least nine games, the best defense is the 1920 Longhorns who allowed just 13 points.

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Fewest points per game

The 1920 team allowed just 1.4 points per game in nine games. The 1930 team allowed just two point per game in 10 games.

Fewest total yards allowed

The top defense yards-wise in Texas history is the 1943 team that played in just eight games. They allowed 1,110 yards. If we’re assuming the modern era of Texas football began with Darrel Royal, the best defense would be the 1961 team that allowed 1,761 yards in 10 games.

There is one team with a defense that ranks in the top 10 that came after 1964, and that is the 1979 team that allowed 2,029 yards, good for 9th all-time in Texas history.

Fewest first downs allowed

The 1943 Texas team allowed just 50 first downs in eight games. The modern era of Texas football, the 1961 team allowed just 102 first downs in 10 games. In fact the 1961, 1963, 1962 and 1964 are the last four teams in the top 10.

Fewest pass completions allowed

The 1956 and 1943 teams allowed just 45 pass completions.

Most interceptions in a season

Yes, “DBU” might of started in 1940 when Texas intercepted 34 passes in 10 games. The 2009 team, a squad that featured future All-Pro Earl Thomas is seventh on this list with 25 passes. The 1969 team intercepted 27 passes, the most of the modern era of Texas football.

Most forced fumbles in a season

Texas’ defense forced 46 fumbles in 1975 in 11 games. The 1954 team is second with 45 and the 1999 squad had 43 in 13 games. The 1982 team, however, had the most fumble receoveries with 27. The 1975 team may have forced the most fumbles, but they weren’t recovering them.

Fewest points allowed in a game

There have been 277 shutouts in Texas football history. The last one was in 2014 when Texas beat Kansas 23-0. Seven times  Texas has allowed just two points, the last time it happened was in 1960 against TCU.

Interestingly enough, Texas has more shutouts in its history than games where they’ve allowed 3,6,7,10, 12 and 14 points.

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