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.
After going 30-2-1 in three years, coach Darrell Royal had as much leeway from fans as any coach the program had ever had. He brought to Austin a national championship in 1963 and was one point away from winning another one in 1964.
So Texas fans could tolerate a rebuilding year. The 1965 season saw Texas go 6-4 and finished 3-4 in the Southwest Conference, fourth overall. Texas began the season ranked No. 2 in the poll and climbed to No. 1 after starting the season 4-0. But a three-point loss, 27-24, to Arkansas on the road began a three-game losing streak. It was the longest such streak since Texas lost eight straight in 1956.
Texas finished the year unranked and out of the bowl picture. A 21-17 win over Texas A&M gave Longhorn fans some bragging rights heading into the winter. Texas had also reached eight straight wins over rival Oklahoma earlier in the season.
Texas did make news following the season. Tommy Nobis graduated and became the first Longhorn ever selected No. 1 in the NFL Draft. This has happened only twice since the 1966 draft. Diron Talbert was also drafted, starting a long NFL career, as was Phil Harris and Pete Lammons.
Nobis’ No. 1 selection was well deserved. Coming off his Orange Bowl heroics from the season before, Nobis won the Knute Rockne Award, the Outland Trophy and the Maxwell Award. He finished seventh in the Heisman voting. Royal called Nobis, who often times was the lead blocker on offense when not playing linebacker, “the finest two-way player I have ever seen.”
Atlanta made him the organization’s first-ever draft pick and Nobis was inducted into the team’s ring of honor after a 10-year career withe Falcons. “Mr. Falcon,” as he’s known by in Atlanta is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame, was a 5-time Pro Bowler, a member of the 1960s NFL All-Decade team and set a rookie record with 294 tackles in 1966.
His No. 60 jersey is retired not only by the Falcons, but the Longhorns.
The 1965 season can also be noted for its unusual first game. Texas was supposed to play Tulane in New Orleans, but Hurricane Betsy hit the Crescent City hard, causing damage throughout the area. The two programs decided to change the game to Austin, where Texas won 31-0.