1965 Orange Bowl: Texas 21, Alabama 17
Could the fifth-ranked Longhorns defeat a Hall of Fame-bound quarterback for the second consecutive season?
Texas was anxious to take its shot at the team set to succeed the Longhorns as national champions in the first major bowl game played in prime time.
Ernie Koy wasted no time getting started, spotting the Horns a 7-0 lead with a 79-yard gallop on UT’s second play from scrimmage. Following a missed Alabama field goal, Texas used another big play — a 69-yard pass from James Hudson to George Sauer — to extend its lead to 14-0.
Alabama head coach Bear Bryant needed some instant offense. In came Namath, who completed 10 passes in driving the Tide 87 yards, sewing up a touchdown with a seven-yard toss to Wayne Trimble that made it 14-7.
Koy struck again shortly before the half, capping a 72-yard drive when he pushed across the goal line with 27 seconds to play.
Namath came out firing after intermission, hitting Ray Perkins with a 20-yard pass to close the gap to 21-14 with 9:25 left in the third. The Tide added a 26-yard field goal seconds into the fourth quarter to make it 21-17.
Texas managed to hold off Alabama for most of the fourth quarter, but the Longhorns fumbled late in the contest and the Tide recovered at the Texas 34 with hopes of pulling the come-from-behind victory. After a run and a pair of completed passes, Alabama had first down at the Texas six. Three plays later, the Tide was at the one facing fourth-and-goal. Namath tried a quarterback sneak, but Longhorns left tackle Frank Bedrick and All-American linebacker Tommy Nobis stopped him short of the goal.
Two more Alabama possessions in the final six minutes resulted in an interception and three incomplete passes as Texas wrapped up the win.
The courageous Namath, playing on one good leg, managed to complete 18 of 37 passes for 255 yards and two touchdowns
But it was the Texas ground game that made the difference, controlling the clock and grinding out 212 yards, including a UT record 133 yards on 24 carries by Koy. Arkansas benefited most from the Texas upset as the Football Writer’s Association and Helms Foundation – two groups who waited until after the season – tabbed the Razorbacks National Champions.