Longhorn Legends: Cotton Speyrer
1969. The Horns had completed a perfect season and beaten Arkansas 15-14 for the National Title. Perhaps because of the famous 4th and 3 pass from Street to Peschel, the game became known as the "game of the century."
Texas was headed to the Cotton Bowl to play Notre Dame, who hadn't been to a bowl game in decades. Joe Theismann was leading the Irish, and they had one of the best linebackers in the country by the name of Bob Olson.
They had held teams to an average of 85 yards rushing per game. They were confident they could hold back the Longhorn runners who had averaged 363 yards per game. (The Horn runners racked up 331 yards that day in the Cotton Bowl).
But the game would probably have been a win for the Irish except for Cotton Speyrer. It was late in the game, fourth-and-2 on about the Irish 9. Score: ND-17/Texas-14. Darrell, as he had done in the Arkansas game, called for a passing play.
I was watching on TV when I saw Street throw the ball, but the camera man lost sight of the ball and I did't see the completion. I held my breath. Only when I heard the roar of the crowd did I know it was complete.
The eight yard completion set up a 1-yard run by Billy Dale to win the game 21-17. The catch by Cotton was the key play.
1970. I was living in Sulphur Springs, laying on my bed while listening to the radio broadcast of the Texas/UCLA game. UCLA was ahead by four points and the game was almost over. My thought was "Our 23-game win streak is coming to an end."
Eddie Phillips, under a heavy rush, threw the ball down field in the direction of Cotton Speyrer. The skinny split end was double covered when he jumped up with the two UCLA defenders all over him.
Amazingly, he caught it on the 20 and pulled away from the defenders to make the 45-yard play the winning TD with 12 seconds on the clock. I fell off the bed.
Final Score: Texas 20, UCLA 17. The winning streak would continue until it reached 30. We would not have that record except for Cotton.
Wherever you are Cotton, good going. We owe you a lot.
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