In 1968, a new quarterback took over the reigns of the Mustang offense. Coach Hayden Fry promoted the season as "Excitement '68" because win or lose, SMU was going to be a sight to see. The excitement would be the result of the high flying aerial display sophomore quarterback Chuck Hixson commanded, one that would see him throwing the ball seventy percent of the time. In his first varsity game, he completed 27 of 48 passes for 283 yards, three touchdowns and a 32-28 upset of Auburn. It gave the sophomore confidence and momentum and he never looked back. By the end of the season, Hixson became the national passing champion in one of the 90 Greatest Moments in SMU Football History.
In just his second game as a starting college quarterback, Hixson led his team against the No.1 team in the country, Ohio State. He accepted the challenge gallantly, establishing an NCAA record for passing attempts with 69, completing 37 of them for 417 yards and two touchdowns. Hixson proved that he could handle the pressure applied by the best defense in the land. Even though the Mustangs fell to the Buckeyes that day, Hixson was poised to make some heads turn in Southwest Conference play.
He received praise from every team he faced. Coach Frank Broyles of Arkansas once told Hixson that he was "the greatest college passer he ever saw." He had a season high of four touchdown passes in a valiant comeback attempt against Arkansas. He averaged 46 attempts per game with the fewest being 27 against Texas A&M. The only reason he did not throw more in that game was that Mike Richardson was busy setting an SMU record for most rushing yards in a game. Hixson's favorite target was Jerry LeVias, who caught 80 passes on his way to being the second ranked receiver in the country.
Hixson wiped out all of the conference records for passing in a season or game except one and he tied for that. But he was proudest of the fact that he almost hit the 3,000-yard mark in total offense. He lacked five yards only because he had 108 yards in losses when he was sacked attempting to pass. But Hixson scored six touchdowns running with the ball and he passed for 21, making his personal total 27. Coach Hayden Fry credited Hixson with 11 touchdowns that were the result of an audible he made at the line. What makes his 27 touchdowns even more impressive is that SMU's team total was only 32.
When the Hal 9000 computer finished computing the final statistics, Hixson was the NCAA's No. 1 passer. He set 10 SWC records along the way. He had 265 completions in 468 attempts for 3,103 yards, 23 interceptions, 21 touchdowns, and 2,995 yards of total offense.
To prove that 1968 was not a fluke, Hixson finished second in the nation in passing in 1969 and fourth in 1970. His memorable season of 1968 is one of the finest by any quarterback in any era. He is the only Mustang to lead the nation in passing, although Mike Ford finished second in the nation ten years later. Chuck Hixson's strong arm led the Mustangs to a winning season and bowl victory that year, plus it placed him among the 90 Greatest Moments in SMU Football History.