In the game the Longhorns got off to the early lead, and with the score 14-0 in the second quarter Namath came in to replace Sloan. His knee was heavily bound, and he wore soccer shoes with small cleats to prevent them from grabbing turf. He clearly could not run, but in college football there is no one who throws better, gimp leg or no. His passes covered all but four yards of the ensuing 87-yard touchdown drive, including a seven-yarder to end Wayne Trimble for the score.
Shortly afterward a fumble by Alabama's David Ray led to the third Texas touchdown and a 21-7 score at halftime.
The second half belonged to Namath. Coach Weeb Ewbank of the New York Jets, watching from the press box, bubbled over every move as Namath took the Tide 63 yards for one score, getting the touchdown on a 20-yard pass thrown sharply between two Texas defenders. "Fabulous, fabulous, fabulous," sang Ewbank, who had a contract for Namath to sign. "He could take a pro team right now."
In the fourth quarter Namath worked Alabama in again, this time for a field goal, and finally to the six-yard line on the last Alabama drive. Three fullback plunges by Steve Bowman reached the one. At the line of scrimmage on fourth down Namath thought he saw a trace of daylight at right guard. He ignored his knee trouble and disappeared in a cascade of white-and-orange jerseys. Eventually Namath could be seen in the end zone, but only after the play was blown dead. "One official said it was a score, but the referee said no," Namath said. "I guess you know whose side I was on." For all the momentum Namath provided, Texas had won the game in the first half and preserved it with that goal line defense.
The next morning Namath went through the formalities of a press conference in which he signed a Jets contract that will, with long-term benefits, amount to more than $400,000, or just enough to pay the annual salaries of 75 postal clerks. Then he went celebrating with Ewbank at Tropical Park, a racetrack where Namath was once nabbed for gambling as a minor. There, in keeping with the Alabama mood, he squandered a small portion of his record allotment on horses that ran slow.
RECORD AT ALABAMA: 29-4
BOWL RECORD: 1-1
CAREER PASSING YARDS: 2,714
TD PASSES: 25