“I even know the play I scored on,” Larry Gatlin told me in a 1998 interview for the Daily Cougar. “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 subbed for Wright 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.
It would end up Houston 100, Tulsa 6.
After Gatlin’s score, kicker Terry Lieweke made the PAT. 93-6. “I’m getting cramps in my legs from kicking so much,” Lieweke said on the sideline. After the game, he explained further.
“My knees were a little shaky,” Lieweke confessed. “Everybody on the sidelines was kidding me and saying, ‘Don’t take the gas, don’t choke.’ It was an embarrassing situation, but I could feel the pressure.”
Tulsa stalled on the next drive and, with 30 seconds left in the game, punted to UH senior Mike Simpson. Simpson broke free and returned the kick 60 yards for the final TD. The score was now 99-6.
“I wasn’t thinking of 100 points when I caught that last punt,” Simpson said. “After I scored, though, I started thinking about those 100 points. That has to be my greatest thrill in my three years here.”
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. The Cougars had scored the last 10 times they had the football.
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 have always been accusations that the Cougars ran it up. And there’s also a lot of false information.
The score was 24-6 in the 3rd quarter. It was a competitive game. Afterward, 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.
The Game In Context
The Coogs finished with 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 555-86.
The game was a revenge game for Tulsa’s 21-13 home win in 1967. Many UH players saw 1968 as their chance to get even.
“Coach Yeoman was kind of bewildered,” Lieweke said in the postgame. “I don’t think he wanted to run up the score but everyone was up for the game. Last year, we were rated 10th in the country and went up to Tulsa and lost.”
In his book Eat Em Up Cougars, Jerry Wizig quoted UH guard Bill Bridges on the 1967 game. “They’d humiliated us and the Veer offense up there the year before,” Bridges said. Other players agreed.
“Have we been thinking about this one very long? About a year, I’d say,” center Pat Pryor 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.
After Tulsa scored on the opening drive of the 2nd half, UH scored 76-unanswered points to end the game.
Fame Found Many From That Game
Twenty members of the ’68 Cougar team would be selected in the NFL Draft. Larry Gatlin topped the country music charts. And 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:
“Boy I tell ya, nobody breaks a hundred on me!” – Dr. Phil
Record Breaking Cougars
In just 3 quarters of action and in his last game in the Astrodome, Paul Gipson ran for 282 yards and 3 touchdowns. 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 UH achievements from 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) – then a school record for points. 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.
The Houston Post headline exclaimed, “Wow! UH Tallies 100.” Other headlines from around the country had more fun with it: