This is the Top Ten Individual Game Performances, as voted on by Inside Texas subscribers (not including Vince Young, since VY Performances is a category to itself):
1. Roosevelt Leaks 342 yards rushing against SMU in 1973
2. Ricky Williams 259 against Texas A&M in 1998 to break NCAA rushing record
3. Major Applewhite 471 passing in the 2001 Holiday Bowl
4. Earl Campbell 222 and 4 TDs at A&M in 1977
5. David Thomas in the 2006 Rose Bowl
6. James Street against Arkansas in 1969
7. James Brown in the 1996 Big 12 Championship
8. Tommy Nobis in the 1965 Orange Bowl
9. Duke Carlisle in the 1964 Cotton Bowl
10. Noble Doss vs. Texas A&M in 1940
At No. 1 on the list is one of the most sensational shows ever put on by a Texas player. In 1973, Texas traveled to hated Southwest Conference rival SMU and Texas running back Roosevelt Leaks put up an astounding 342 yards in the 42-14 blowout win. Leaks ran over, around and every-which-way on the Mustangs in the finest performance in what would be one of the finest seasons ever by a Texas player. He was named Southwest Conference MVP in 1973, while setting the conference record for rushing yards (1,415).
No. 2 is Ricky’s incredible performance against the Aggies his senior season. Texas running back Ricky Williams broke the NCAA’s all-time rushing record while putting up 259 yards in a 26-24 upset of Texas A&M. Needing only 11 yards to break Tony Dorsett’s 22-year old record, Ricky Williams surpassed the mark in dramatic fashion, breaking three tackles and sprinting 60 yards for a touchdown.
The third greatest performance is also one of the top comebacks in Texas football history. Trailing by as many as 19 points, legendary Texas quarterback Major Applewhile brought the Horns back from the brink, winning the game 47-43 and throwing for a Texas-record 471 yards and four TDs.
Next is the game that sealed the 1977 Heisman Trophy for the Tyler Rose, Earl Campbell. In the final regular season game of the 1977 season, Campbell rushed for 222 yards and four touchdowns in the Longhorns’ 57-28 blowout win over No. 12 Texas A&M.
Vince Young’s 2006 Rose Bowl was a truly magnificent game, but he wouldn’t have been able to do it without players like David Thomas. Every time Young was in a tight jam, Thomas would be there, making spectacular catches and keeping drives alive. Thomas led all Texas receivers with 10 catches and had a total of 88 yards in the comeback win.
If you’re looking for more great leadership and another great comeback, look no further than the “Game of the Century.” Down 14-8 and facing fourth and three, Darrell Royal famously called "53 veer pass." Quarterback James Street hit tight end Randy Peschel for a 44-yard gain, setting up the winning touchdown. This was after Street’s 42-yard touchdown run to put Texas on the scoreboard for the first time. It was one of the greatest clutch performances in Texas history.
Then there’s the 1996 Big 12 Championship and quarterback James Brown’s incredible day. Facing No. 3 Nebraska, a team favored by 21 points, Brown threw for a career-best 353 yards on 19-of-28 passes to lead Texas to the win. His most famous pass of the game was “Roll Left” when Brown hit TE Derek Lewis for a 61-yard gain to seal the win.
The only defensive entry on the list is a great one. Tommy Nobis was all over the field against the Crimson Tide in the 1965 Orange Bowl and he also registered one of the most famous tackles in Orange Bowl history when he led his teammates on a fourth-and-inches halting of Joe Namath at the goal line to preserve the Horns’ 21-17 victory over No. 1 Alabama.
At No. 9 is the Bowl game from one year before. In Texas’ 28-6 crushing of Navy in the 1964 Cotton Bowl, Texas quarterback Duke Carlisle needed only 7 completions to amass 213 yards through the air and added another 54 on the ground as the Longhorns won their first-ever National Championship.
Finally there’s Noble Doss and the “impossible catch.” In 1940, Texas beat Texas A&M 7-0 and the only score of the game was on an impressive over-the-shoulder catch. The UT win prevented the Aggies from repeating as National Champions and also knocked A&M from a sure Rose Bowl appearance.
Just off the list: The Texas Wishbone’s 600+ yards against SMU in 1969
Individual rushing yards on the day
Ted Koy 111 yards
James Street 121 yards
Jim Bertelsen 137 yards
Steve Worster 137 yards
Gutsiest Coaching Calls
Vince Young Performances
THE FINAL LIST: Overall Players