Greatest Moments

On November 22, 1975, SMU and Baylor were closing out disappointing seasons in Waco. Baylor scored on their first two possessions of the game, getting out to a 10-0 lead. SMU never seemed to be able to get any momentum on offense, while the defense was having trouble stopping the Bears' attack. Baylor took a commanding 23-0 lead into halftime seemingly on their way to a blow out victory. Thankfully for the Mustangs, senior quarterback Chuck Benefield sparked a Mustang revival. The Mustangs erased the deficit and prevailed with a 34-31 come from behind victory in one of the 90 Greatest Moments in SMU Football History.

The momentum of the game changed on the second play of the second half. Baylor tailback Cleveland Franklin fumbled and Putt Choate pounced on the loose ball for the Mustangs at midfield. Benefield executed the wishbone offense to perfection as he marched SMU 50 yards in 9 plays for the Mustangs' first touchdown of the day. On second and eight from the Baylor 13 yard line, Benefield hit Freeman Johns in the end zone with a jump ball over cornerback Scooter Reed. Baylor 23, SMU 7.

Baylor's second possession ended the same way as its first, with a fumble. Baylor used a 50 yard kickoff return to start in Mustang territory. However as the Bears seemed to be heading for another score Putt Choate made a big play for SMU. Choate hit quarterback Mark Jackson as he was making his way around right end causing the ball to come loose at the 10. David Bostick recovered for the Mustangs. Benefield proceeded to take the Mustangs the length of the field for another touchdown. This time, Benefield took it into the end zone himself on a fourth down play from the one yard line. Baylor 23, SMU 14.

On the ensuing possession, Baylor once again fumbled the ball away to the Mustangs. Cleveland Franklin coughed the ball up after being met by several Mustang defenders at the line of scrimmage. David Bostick recovered once more for SMU, this time deep in Baylor territory. It took Benefield only one play to get the Mustangs back in the end zone. This time he hit Kenny Harrison for a 25-yard touchdown pass. It was a new ballgame heading into the fourth quarter: Baylor 23, SMU 21.

Baylor's luck seemed to have changed as Scooter Reed stepped in front of a Benefield pass to give Baylor the ball at the SMU 37. Eight plays later, fullback Pat McNeil bulled his way into the end zone for a score. Jackson added the two point conversion to stretch the lead back to 10 points: Baylor 31, SMU 21.

After neither team could move the ball on their next offensive possessions, Baylor gave SMU new life once more. Pat McNeil was stripped of the ball as he tried to slide through the line on a trap play. Rodney Gray made an alert play by grabbing the ball before Baylor had time to react. After only four plays, Benefield hit Wayne Morris with a swing pass in the left flat and watched him race down the sideline for a touchdown. SMU's two-point conversion attempt failed, but the Mustangs were only one score away from the lead: Baylor 31, SMU 27.

After Baylor missed a long field goal attempt, Benefield led the mustangs on the field with one thing in mind: winning the game. In a little over two minutes, Benefield engineered a 14 play, 80-yard drive. He capped it off with a 7-yard touchdown pass to Kenny Harrison with just 28 seconds left in the game. They added the extra point, and the Mustangs had come all the way back to take the lead: SMU 34, Baylor 31.

Baylor had one last shot to tie the game with a field goal attempt with two seconds on the clock. But the kick was short and time ran out. SMU had just completed one of the finest comebacks in school history. They erased a 23-point deficit with a tremendous 34-point second half comeback for a season ending 34-31 victory. Benefield finished the day by going 14 of 27 for 227 yards and four touchdowns, plus he ran for 76 yards and another touchdown. The miraculous comeback in Waco in 1975 takes its place as one of the 90 Greatest Moments in SMU Football History.

 

THE COUNTDOWN
No. 90 :: First School Win (1915)
No. 89 :: Rutledge sets two school records (2003)
No. 88 :: Phillips 100 yard INT (1984)
No. 87 :: McCown completes 19 straight (1999)
No. 86 :: Brownlee kicks 57 yd. field goal (1985)
No. 85 :: Bennett records first career win (2002)
No. 84 :: SMU closes out the Cotton Bowl (1999)
No. 83 :: Ownby Stadium opens (1926)
No. 82 :: James sets SWC record (1982)
No. 81 :: Stewart named All-American (1993)
No. 80 :: Briggs sets new Mustang mark (2002)
No. 79 :: SMU defeats Arkansas 31-9 (1997)
No. 78 :: The 1980 Holiday Bowl (1980)
No. 77 :: Hopkins records 4 INTs (1981)
No. 76 :: Pony Express heads to Japan (1983)
No. 75 :: SMU plays in first ever bowl game (1924)
No. 74 :: Hayden Fry named head coach (1962)
No. 73 :: McIlhenny leads SMU over Baylor (1982)
No. 72 :: Flanigan sets total offense record (1997)
No. 71 :: Bell inducted into CFHOF (1955)
No. 70 :: Dickerson runs wild against A&M (1980)
No. 69 :: Charles breaks freshman record (2001)
No. 68 :: Johnson sets sack record (1999)
No. 67 :: Dupard leads pouding of Texas (1985)
No. 66 :: Sanders named first All-America (1928)
No. 65 :: Rossley breaks reception record (1994)
No. 64 :: First win over Texas (1924)
No. 63 :: Gregg returns to SMU (1988)
No. 62 :: Mann leads SMU over TCU (1926)
No. 61 :: Berry defines excellence (1954)
No. 60 :: Birth of the Mustang Name (1917)
No. 59 :: Ford scores first TD in Ford (2000)
No. 58 :: Wolf sets SWC record (1992)
No. 57 :: Meredith sets SWC record (1957)
No. 56 :: Choate Anchors SMU Defense (1978)
No. 55 :: SMU downs Texas (1965)
No. 54 :: Tolbert leads win over BU (1978)
No. 53 :: SMU downs Texas in Austin (1982)
No. 52 :: Partee kicks win over Baylor (1966)
No. 51 :: Hopkins recovers Pitt fumble (1983)
No. 50 :: Dickerson scores 19 TDs (1981)
No. 49 :: Romo breaks completion record (1990)
No. 48 :: LeVias breaks reception record (1968)
No. 47 :: SMU records 400th win (1997)
No. 46 :: SMU clinches winning season (1997)
No. 45 :: Walker on Life Magazine (1948)
No. 44 :: Rote No. 1 NFL Draft Pick (1951)
No. 43 :: SMU blanks TCU (1966)
No. 42 :: SMU downs UNT on Homecoming (1989)
No. 41 :: SMU RUNS over Razorbacks (1980)
No. 40 :: Richardson sets rushing record (1968)
No. 39 :: Wolf breaks NCAA record (1989)
No. 38 :: SMU downs Arkansas (1984)
No. 37 :: The Decision (1945)
No. 36 :: Doak Walker Day at SMU (1998)
No. 35 :: SMU Upsets A&M (1974)
No. 34 :: SMU Ties Ohio State (1978)
No. 33 :: SMU ties Penn State (1948)
No. 32 :: The Army game (1928)
No. 31 :: The TCU Game (1947)
No. 30 :: SMU comeback against Baylor (1975)
No. 29 :: Hixson leads nation in passing (1968)
No. 28 :: Back to the Cotton Bowl (1949)
No. 27 :: Smith picks off Marino (1983)
No. 26 :: The Aloha Bowl (1984)
No. 25 :: Mustang Mania (1978)
No. 24 :: First SWC Title (1923)
No. 23 :: LeVias Baffles Texas A&M (1966)
No. 22 :: Debut Of The Pony Express (1980)
No. 21 :: Undefeated SMU Beats Texas (1947)
No. 20 :: The Ohio State game (1950)
No. 19 :: Dickerson breaks SWC record (1982)
No. 18 :: Revenge against Houston (1992)
No. 17 :: Tie versus Texas A&M (1994)
No. 16 :: Win over Notre Dame (1951)
No. 15 :: Walker career accolades (1949)
No. 14 :: SMU ranked No. 2 (1982)
No. 13 :: The House That Doak Built
No. 12 :: Bluebonnet Bowl in 1968
No. 11 :: Opening of Ford Stadium (2000)
No. 10 :: The Navy Game (1963)
No. 9 :: Carter's block against Arkansas (1982)
No. 8 :: Miracle on Mockingbird (1989)
No. 7 :: The 1949 Notre Dame Game
No. 6 :: National Champions (1935)
No. 5 :: Signing of Jerry LeVias (1965)
No. 4 :: McIlhenny Cotton Bowl TD (1983)
No. 3 :: The Miracle Man (1982)
No. 2 :: The $85,000 Pass (1935)
No. 1 :: Doak Wins the Heisman (1948)