“I even know the play I scored on,” Larry Gatlin told me in a 1998 interview. “It was 3rd-and-12 on the 26-yard line. I was in the game in place of Elmo (Wright) at wideout on the right side. The play was ’53 R Out.’
Gatlin had replaced Elmo in the lineup because the score was 86-6. It was late in the 4th quarter of what would become the biggest blowout in the modern era of college football.
Tulsa. 100-6. November 23, 1968.
After Gatlin’s score, kicker Terry Lieweke made the PAT. 93-6.
Tulsa stalled on the next drive and, with 30 seconds to left in the game, punted to UH senior Mike Simpson. Simpson broke free and returned the kick 60 yards for the improbable final TD. Now it’s 99-6.
Following the return, Lieweke said he was ‘never as nervous’ as he awaited that last snap and hold. “I was on the spot,” he admitted. Nevertheless, Lieweke boots it through to hit the century mark.
There it was. 100-6.
Lieweke caused some anxiety as well: when tallying the stats from the game, the NCAA realized that their computers could not process 100 points in a game. They’d been set up to accept scores up to 99 points.
Did UH Run It Up?
Because of the final score, there’s always been a lot of curiosity about this game. There’s also a lot of false information. A lot of “Houston ran it up” nonsense.
The score was 24-6 in the 3rd quarter. It was a competitive game. Afterwards, TU coach Glenn Dobbs tried to explain away the result by telling the media that most of his players were suffering from the flu. Coach Yeoman dismissed that line of excuses by saying, “I don’t think the Tulsa kids played very hard.”
Tulsa guard Dick Miller tells a different story. He says the Tulsa team was there to compete.
“You may not believe this, but we thought we could stay right with them,” Miller said. “We thought if we could stay within a couple touchdowns, we might get lucky.”
Unfortunately for Tulsa, that wasn’t the case. UH scored the last 10 times they had the ball. In all, the Cougars scored 14 touchdowns. 13 extra points (Lieweke missed one in the 3rd quarter). And a field goal.
|Score by Quarters||First||Second||Third||Fourth||Final Total|
The Game In A Historical Context
All told, the Cougars accounted for 762 yards as 12 different players scored six different ways (rush, pass, field goal, INT return, punt return, PAT). The Cougars threw only 16 passes in the game and out-rushed Tulsa 555 yards to 86.
The score was not an aberration. It was, in fact, revenge. Revenge for Tulsa’s 21-13 home win in 1967. I’ve asked several players from that team about this game and most saw 1968 as their chance to get even.
In his book, Eat Em Up Cougars, Jerry Wizig quotes guard Bill Bridges on the 1967 game. “They’d humiliated us and the Veer offense up there the year before,” Bridges said.
In the 1966 game, UH had blown out the Golden Hurricane, 73-14. And after the 100-6 result, Tulsa wouldn’t beat UH again until 1974. It seems that 1967 was the aberration.
I’m not sure it’s a record but after Tulsa scored on the opening drive of the 2nd half, UH scored 76-unanswered points.
Ok maybe it’s not a record. I know 77-straight happened at least once.
Fame Found Many From That Game
Over the next couple years, players left the program and went on to other things. 20 members of the ’68 team would be selected in the NFL Draft. Larry Gatlin topped the country music charts. Wade Phillips became a household name as a head coach for 6 different NFL teams. But the most famous alum from that infamous game didn’t even play for the Coogs.
That would be Dr. Phil. He shared the story of the game on Letterman in 2013:
Record Breaking Cougars
In just 3 quarters of action, Paul Gipson ran for 282 yards and 3 touchdown. Gipson set school records for single-game and career-rushing that night. The single game mark would stand for 34 years until it was broken by Joffrey Reynolds, who had 300 yards vs ECU in 2002.
Gipson’s accomplishment is more impressive as he played the game with a broken nose, suffered the week before.
Many of the feats UH achieved that night are still atop the NCAA record books. Those include: most points in a half (76), most points in a quarter (49), and most PATs made (13). The NCAA also considers the game the “most points vs. a major college opponent.”
The week before, the Coogs scored 77 on Idaho (77-3). So in two games, UH scored 177 points – almost a point and a half per minute. The 177 points in consecutive weeks is also an NCAA record.
1968: The Year of the Cougar
As we celebrate 50 years of the 1968 team, the Tulsa game is just one of their accomplishments. Besides Tulsa, the 1968 team:
- tied SWC champs & #3 Texas in Austin, 20-20;
- beat then-#17 Ole Miss and Archie Manning in Oxford, 29-7;
- tied Sugar Bowl-bound and #8 Georgia Between the Hedges, 10-10;
- scored 70+ in wins over Cincinnati (71-33) and Idaho (77-3);
- went as high as #10 in the polls before finishing the year at #18.
In January of 1968, Cougar basketball won The Game of the Century. But thanks to a Houston Chronicle headline, Tulsa is known as the “The Game of Century.” The Post headline exclaimed, “Wow! UH Tallies 100.”
100 points is legend. It’s never been matched and never will be. 1968’s record-setting Cougars will forever stand alone.
More Photos from 100-6
Box Score From The Game
|Score by Quarters||First||Second||Third||Fourth||Final Total|
|Scoring by Quarter||Scoring Details|
|HOU – Gipson 35 Run (Lieweke kick)||HOU, 7-0|
|HOU – Wright 60 pass from Bailey (Lieweke kick)||HOU, 14-0|
|HOU – Lieweke FG 36 yards||HOU, 17-0|
|HOU – Bailey 1 Run (Lieweke kick)||HOU, 24-0|
|TUL – Burkett 14 pass from Dobbs (Kick failed)||HOU, 24-6|
|HOU – Bell 21 Run (Lieweke kick)||HOU, 31-6|
|HOU – Gipson 17 Run (Kick failed)||HOU, 37-6|
|HOU – Wright 66 Run (Lieweke kick)||HOU, 44-6|
|HOU – Gipson 14 Run (Lieweke kick)||HOU, 51-6|
|HOU – Heiskell 7 Run (Lieweke kick)||HOU, 58-6|
|HOU – Stewart 19 pass from Clark (Lieweke kick)||HOU, 65-6|
|HOU – Strong 26 pass from Clark (Lieweke kick)||HOU, 72-6|
|HOU – Peacock 34 pass interception (Lieweke kick)||HOU, 79-6|
|HOU – Clark 11 Run (Lieweke kick)||HOU, 86-6|
|HOU – Gatlin 25 pass from Clark (Lieweke kick)||HOU, 93-6|
|HOU – Simpson 60 punt return (Lieweke kick)||HOU, 100-6|
|Venue: Astrodome; 11/23/1968||Attendance: 34,089|
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