A Look Back At NT Football History: North Texas vs. SMU, 1977
North Texas Upsets Rival Mustangs In Texas Stadium
In honor of the 1,000th game in Mean Green football history Saturday against Florida Atlantic, we are highlighting five of the top moments, in no particular order, in the team's history.
North Texas vs. SMU
Texas Stadium - Irving, Texas
Sept. 17, 1977
DENTON – With former SMU head coach Hayden Fry at the helm, North Texas and the Mustangs renewed their storied, 50-year rivalry in the 1974 season.
The teams had squared off 22 times dating back to 1922, with SMU taking all but two of games.
Fry, in the midst of repairing a stalling North Texas football program, knew that a key geographical rivalry would go a long way in helping the program. Plus, Fry would love nothing more than defeat the program that fired him under controversial circumstances in 1972.
Before the 1974 game, SMU had hosted every contest. That was no more in the reintroduced rivalry. The next eight games would take place on neutral ground.
At the Cotton Bowl in 1974 and 1976 North Texas had come up just short in its conquests with the Mustangs, losing 7-6 and 38-31 respectively.
Fry looked to turn things around against his former squad in 1977 for the first game in Texas Stadium, the then-home of the Dallas Cowboys.
North Texas was 1-1 coming into the game while SMU defeated TCU in its season-opening contest the week prior.
The Mean Green took firm control in the first half as NT Hall of Famer Iseed Khoury, a member of the All-Century Football Team, got the scoring started with a 30-yard field goal in the first. Quarterback Ken Washington followed that up with a 20-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Tim Loftin in the second to take a 10-0 lead into the half.
North Texas scored again to begin in the second half as Washington ran it in himself from four yards out, making it a 17-0 game before SMU finally got on the board, punching the ball past the goal line in the third quarter.
Any hopes of a Mustang’s comeback were squashed when NT made it a 17-point affair again on a Mike Jones 15-yard touchdown run in the fourth.
A stout Mean Green defense, led by NT Hall of Famers, linebacker Burks Washington, lineman Walter Chapman and defensive back J.T. Smith, forced two interceptions and a fumble en route to the decisive North Texas victory.
NT went on to defeat the Mustangs 24-13, ending a 44-year drought against its DFW counterpart.
An overjoyed Fry was delivered the game ball and was carried off the field by his players.
Fry led North Texas to a 10-1 season that year, which is remembered as one of the pivotal seasons in Mean Green football history as NT finished the season ranked No. 16 by United Press International.
The rivalry has been renewed once more in 2014 as the teams faced off for the first time since 2007. They have traded blows in their last five contests, with the Mean Green defeating the Mustangs in Apogee this season, but SMU still holds a 28-5-1 record against North Texas football.
Check back every day for the next installment for five of the top moments in North Texas football history.
Next game: 2002 New Orleans Bowl