Joe Harrington

American-Statesman Staff

Column

Important dates in Longhorns history: Darrell Royal’s first game at Texas

Posted September 21st, 2017

Today marks the 60th anniversary of legendary Texas coach Darrell Royal’s debut game at Texas.

His Longhorns, unranked and coming off a 1-9 season, opened the 1957 season with Royal as their coach on the road at Georgia on Sept. 21. Texas led 13-0 at halftime and added two more scores to beat the Bulldogs in Atlanta 26-7.

Mike Dowdle scored two touchdowns and led the Longhorns with 60 yards rushing. Quarterback Walter Fondren added 54 yards and another touchdown. He also was 3 for 4 with 41 yards passing. The other UT quarterback Bobby Lackey was 1 for 4 with 7 yards passing and a rushing touchdown.

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The Texas defense allowed 128 yards rushing and just 180 yards of total offense.

The win over Georgia snapped an eight game losing streak for the Longhorns going back to the previous season; Texas would go on to have a surprising 1957 campaign and end the year ranked No. 11 in the nation with a 6-4-1 record.

Royal went on to win 166 more games at Texas and finish 167-47-5 before retiring after the 1976 season.

As far as debuts are concerned, Royal fared better than David McWilliams, who lost his 1987 debut 31-3 against No. 5 Auburn, and also did better than John Mackovic, who lost his debut against No. 21 Mississippi State 28-10.  Royal, Fred Akers and Mack Brown — UT’s three winningest coaches — all picked up wins in their debuts, with Akers bashing Boston College 44-0 to start the 1977 season.

Charlie Strong beat North Texas 38-7 in his UT debut in 2014, but he and Brown are the only coaches since Royal whose Texas career didn’t begin against a current “Power 5 program.” Brown beat New Mexico State 66-36 in 1998.

Tom Herman made his debut at Texas earlier this month and dropped a home game to Maryland 51-41.

Akers, Mackovic, Brown and Strong all had home games to start their first seasons, while McWilliams opened at Auburn and Royal played Georgia on a “neutral field” in Atlanta.

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