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TEXAS HANGS ON TO ITS NO. 1
Dan Jenkins
January 12, 1970
Notre Dame came close—and Penn State was rooting for the upset—but after Cotton Speyrer made a heroic catch in the fading moments (below), Texas nailed down the national championship
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January 12, 1970

Texas Hangs On To Its No. 1

Notre Dame came close—and Penn State was rooting for the upset—but after Cotton Speyrer made a heroic catch in the fading moments (below), Texas nailed down the national championship

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Across the way, Parseghian was certain Texas would either run wide or pass. Olson was told to play the run first. It was percentages.

Out on the field now Cotton Speyrer, his back turned to the Notre Dame defense, was signaling the bench. He was dragging his thumb across his chest in the manner of a hitchhiker. The signal to Royal meant that Speyrer's defender, Clarence Ellis, was playing him tight and to the inside. It meant that Speyrer thought he could get outside on him for a quick pass.

"Left 89 Out," said Royal.

Street blinked. It was the Arkansas thing all over again, Royal calling a pass in a moment of supreme stress and James wondering, "Coach, are you sure?"

"Watch for the keep first," said Darrell. "You might be able to fall for two yards. But if you can't, drill it to Cotton. He says he's open on the out."

Street went to the Texas huddle and said, "Awright, suck it up. This might be our last play of the season, so let's make it a good one.... Everybody get tough...." Then he looked right at Cotton Speyrer and called the play.

Street took the snap, looked at the end coming up fast, stopped and threw. It was low, but Speyrer did his thing and made the catch. And three plays later, with exactly 1:08 on the clock, another urchin, Billy Dale, a 5'10", 190-pound junior who had replaced Ted Koy, hugged a hand-off from Street and followed a couple of blocks by Worster and Tight End Randy Peschel into the end zone.

In that instant Darrell Royal won his second unanimous national championship of the 1960s and firmly took his place among the coaching elite. Urchins do accomplish wonders.

It had certainly been a properly dramatic game to close out a century and one that had a thoroughly impassioned buildup. Much of the pregame discussion centered around Notre Dame's huge tackle, Mike McCoy, who is 6'5" and 280, and the offensive guard from Texas who would be asked to block him. The Texan was a junior named Mike Dean, a quick-smiling, blond-haired pre-med major who weighs only 210 pounds.

Dean played his role well, saying that the first thing he would do would be to try and make friends with McCoy. "It's not all that bad," Dean said. "I'll only be blocking on him 90% of the time."

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