Nov. 23, 1977: Horns, Aggies shoot for the Cotton

Jim Lefko

Despite a 10-0 record, a probable Heisman Trophy winner in the backfield and perhaps the coach of the year on the sidelines, Texas puts the entire season on the line Saturday in a crucial battle with Texas A&M in College Station.

“The stakes are high,” said coach Fred Akers. “But it’s been that way for years and years. It’s a great rivalry. There will be some clean, hard football out there.”

Earl Campbell, Texas’ all-everything running back, whom Aggie head coach Emory Bellard said “is as good as anybody that has ever played college football,” thinks the game will be very tenacious.

“There’s some big people out there, but I think we’ll pull it out all right,” he said.

The Aggies, highly regarded across the nation, ranked 11th by UPI this week, are led by fullback George Woodard, who weighs in at 265 pounds, down from 285 after a monthlong diet, and placekicker Tony Franklin.

Curtis Dickey and David Brothers complement Woodard with tremendous speed in the backfield while senior quarterback David Walker provides the guidance. Absent from last Saturday’s 52-23 mauling of TCU, Walker will be 100 percent for this week’s 1:30 p.m. kickoff, recovering from minor bruises, coach Bellard said.

The Aggies set a Southwest Conference record in total offense against the weak Horned Frogs, amassing 687 yards.

“We have a lot of respect for that offense,” said defensive tackle and placekicker Steve McMichael. “They have some real threats back there.”

McMichael, who tilts the scales at 235, is not accustomed to tackling people heavier than himself.

“I’ll have to get my feet planted and hit him right. I’m just looking at him like any other back,” McMichael said.

The last time a Texas football team lost three straight to the Aggies was in 1910 after two shutouts in 1909.

Texas A&M would like nothing better than to update that statistic, and with a 7-2 record overall this season, 6-1 in conference, “we’re still in contention,” Bellard said. A 41-3 passing at the hands of Michigan on national television and a heartbreaking loss to Arkansas are the only blemishes on the Aggie record.

Last week, after the TCU victory, the Aggies accepted a bid from the Bluebonnet Bowl, for if they do not got to the Cotton Bowl.

Putting the Cotton Bowl out of the picture, at least for this week, Akers said Tuesday’s practice was one of the best of the year.

“Everyone knows the importance of this game,” he said, “and I expect the intensity to get better and better as the week progresses.”

Printed on Wednesday, November 23, 2011 as: Campbell ready to run over Ags