When the Texas Longhorns take the field at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium on Saturday to take on the Kansas Jayhawks, they will do so wearing throwback uniforms that were unveiled to the team during a Tuesday meeting and to the public shortly thereafter.
The helmet and gloves pay homage to the 150th season of NCAA football, while the jersey eschews the typical block Texas across the front and numbers on the shoulders, as well as the Big 12 patch.
The overall looks pays tribute to the 50th anniversary the 1969 national championship team that won the school’s second title in the second year of the Wishbone offense run by head coach Darrell K Royal and offensive coordinator Emory Bellard.
Texas will also honor members of that team throughout the game, including special recognition on the field at halftime.
Here’s the recap of that season from the school:
Texas entered the season ranked No. 4 and, with Darrell Royal’s vaunted Wishbone Offense clicking on all cylinders, won its first three games by a combined score of 122-24 to climb to No. 2.
The Longhorns went on to topple No. 8 Oklahoma, 27-17, in the Cotton Bowl and in their next four wins, beat in-state rivals Rice, SMU, Baylor and TCU by a combined score of 201-35.
Prior to the 1969 season, ABC television executive Beano Cook arranged for Texas and Arkansas to play the final game of the regular season, moving their usual October date to the first weekend in December.
With some upsets along the way and dominant performances by both teams in the final weeks of the season, everything lined up perfectly. The epic matchup of the top two ranked teams in the country had the eyes of the nation on Fayetteville, Arkansas, including President Richard Nixon, who would award a plaque symbolic of the National Championship to the winner.
In the 100th year of college football, it truly was the “Game of the Century.” The Longhorns overcame turnovers and a 14-0 Arkansas lead to post a 15-14 victory. Texas scored all 15 points in the final period as quarterback James Street scrambled for one touchdown, got a two-point conversion and then hit tight end Randy Peschel on a dramatic 4th-and-3 play late in the game to set up running back Jim Bertelsen’s game-winning touchdown run.
Entering the Cotton Bowl as AP National Champions, that game prompted a great deal of interest with No. 1 Texas hosting No. 9 Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish were making their first bowl appearance since the “Four Horsemen” beat Stanford, 27-10, in the 1925 Rose Bowl. Ara Parseghian’s 8-1-1 squad was ending its 44-year self-imposed departure from bowls.
Again, it took some dramatics for a Texas win. UT trailed 17-14 midway through the final period before Street directed the Horns on a 76-yard drive for the winning score. Billy Dale’s 1-yard run capped the drive and gave UT a 21-17 lead and the 500th win in school history.
In the locker room afterward, Royal gave Freddie Steinmark the game ball. Just weeks earlier, Steinmark underwent surgery for the removal of his leg because of bone cancer. The Longhorn safety would become a national symbol of courage in the aftermath, as he battled cancer for 18 months before passing away in June 1971.
An ABC-TV poll of sportswriters tabbed Royal Coach of the Decade after wrapping up the 1960s with a pair of national titles. Tackle Bob McKay earned consensus All-America, while linebacker Glen Halsell, wide receiver Cotton Speyrer, running back Steve Worster and offensive tackle Bob Wuensch earned All-America recognition. Street, tackle Leo Brooks and defensive end Bill Atessis each earned consensus All-SWC honors.