This is The Rest of the Story following our tweets (here and here) about this game.
September 25, 1976
After two weeks on the road, the Houston Cougars faced Texas A&M in their first “home” game of the season. The Aggies came into the game as the #9 team in the country. Danny Davis threw 2 touchdowns to Eddie Foster and another to Robert LaVergne as the Coogs shocked the Aggies, 21-10. 70,000 people flocked to Rice Stadium to seed UH’s first SWC game in the city of Houston.
Going into the season, most writers had picked UH to finish in the middle of the pack in the SWC. Those same writers believed the Aggies could win the league and head to the Cotton Bowl. In fact, all of Texas, Arkansas, and A&M were coming off of 10 win seasons in 1975. The SWC was stacked.
The Aggies came into the game after dismantling Virginia Tech and Kansas State in the first two weeks. But A&M was still reeling from their late-season collapse in 1975 when a blowout loss to Arkansas derailed their national title hopes. USC shut them out in the Liberty Bowl to end what was once a magical season.
The Cougars had opened 1976 at Baylor and won their first SWC game, 23-5. UH went to Gainesville and lost to the Florida Gators, 49-14, in week two.
The Aggies were in the midst of their first sustained run of success in the modern era. From 1974 to 1978, A&M averaged 9 wins a season (44-15 record). And the A&M defense was the nation’s best – allowing just 11 ppg from 1974-1976. All of which made UH’s 21 points in their first SWC clash more impressive.
As a stipulation of joining the SWC, visiting schools were allowed to decide whether to play the Cougars at the Astrodome or Rice Stadium. That arcane rule has never been repeated in major sports history – due to it’s singular implementation, it should be known as the Yeoman Rule.
The teams started off the game by trading punts before the Aggies mounted a bit of a drive. Cougar DB Mark Mohr put an end to that as he intercept Aggie QB David Shipman late in the opening quarter. A few plays later, sophomore QB Danny Davis hit TE Eddie Foster for a touchdown and Lennard Coplin added the PAT. The Cougars led the Aggies 7-0.
After the Ags punted again, Davis connected with flanker Robert Lavergne for another Cougar score. The Aggies went down and kicked a field goal before Danny Davis hit Eddie Foster from 18 yards out. The Aggies added another TD but were never in the game after Shipman’s early INT.
The real story of the game, as it often turned out to be, was the Cougar defense. The Mad Dogs were on the attack the entire game. Mark Mohr and Anthony Francis, who led the nation in interceptions that season, picked off 3 Aggie passes. The Coogs also forced 5 A&M fumbles, one of which David Hodge fell on.
UH held the Ags to just 196 yards of offense, a season low. And the Mad Dogs were responsible for A&M’s lowest SWC scoring output stretching over 3 seasons. Tht is, until the Cougars shut out the Aggies in 1978 (33-0). The 1978 UH win over the Corps was the beginning of the end of the successful run for the poor Aggies.
Houston had began their first SWC season 2-0 leaving the loud Rice Stadium crowd to chant “Think Cotton” as the seconds wound off the clock.
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