Many times last season, I heard complaints about the New England Patriots running up the score. Also, earlier this season, Miami accused Florida of running up the score. I wonder if these accusers really know what it means to have the score run up on you.
Tonight, the Houston Cougars play the SMU Mustangs. So, I figured this was a perfect time to show everyone what it really means to have the score run up on you.
On October 21, 1989, the Houston Cougars faced the SMU Mustangs. Houston was in the midst of the run-and-shoot offense, with Jack Pardee at head coach and Andre Ware, who would win the Heisman Trophy, at quarterback. SMU was in its first season back from the death penalty, was starting 14 freshmen and basically fielding a team of walk-ons. Bunch of college students who just happened to want to play football.
Ware completes 25-of-41 passes for 517 yards and six touchdowns - in the first half. His five TDs in the second quarter alone are an NCAA record, as are his passing yards for a quarter (340) and a half. The Cougars led 59-14 at the half. Andre Ware's day was done as there was no reason to keep throwing and scoring. Right?
David Klingler came in after halftime and then he had 20 pass attempts of his own. That's right. Houston threw the ball 20 times with a 45 point lead. 12 of those passes were "bombs". The Cougars became the most offensive team in college football history with an astounding 1,021 yards (771 passing, 250 rushing), the first team to gain more than 1,000.
So, even with a 45-point halftime lead, the Cougard throw for another 254 yards in the second half. Against a group of walk-ons. They weren't playing football players who just happened to be going to college. They were playing college students who just happened to be playing football.
The final score was Houston 95 SMU 21.
"I'd never run up the score like that on a group of freshmen and sophomores. I hope they're really proud of their accomplishment. It was a sad day for college football." Thus said SMU head coach Forrest Gregg.
Whenever I hear someone complaining about a team going for it on 4th down with a big lead or kicking a late field goal with a 2 or 3 score lead, I just want to laugh. Don't ever tell one of those Mustangs that someone ran the score up on your team if all that happened was someone kicked a late field goal with a 20-point lead. I don't think they will be listening.