The 1968 season was one of the most memorable in SMU history. The Mustangs were high fliers with the weekly aerial display put on by quarterback Chuck Hixson. Hixson always seemed to be able to find Jerry LeVias for a big play. Coach Hayden Fry had promised that the Mustangs would be fun to watch with all of the passing they would be doing. But it was the ground game that was highlighted the win over Texas A&M. It was on November 9, 1968 that a hard-nosed runner named Mike Richardson set a school record with 244 yards rushing. Richardson's record setting day takes its place among the 90 Greatest Moments in SMU Football History.
It was a typical Southwest Conference battle as the Mustangs and the Aggies played in front of 42,000 fans at the Cotton Bowl. SMU spotted A&M a touchdown before Mike Richardson scored the first of his four touchdowns with 3:37 in the first half as he made his way to the end zone from 10 yards out. However, the Mustangs then fell behind again 10-7 on a time-expiring 36-yard field goal by Charlie Riggs at halftime.
The second half, though, belonged to Richardson. He scored twice in the third quarter en route to the greatest day ever for a Mustang runner. Both touchdowns came in goal line situations, first from the one and then the two-yard line. His final score came through the air as he and Hixson hooked up for a twelve-yard touchdown pass and catch at the beginning of the fourth quarter.
By the end of the afternoon, he had gained 244 yards on 39 carries, and scored four touchdowns. At the time, the 39 carries were the most ever for a SWC back. In 1968, Richardson became SMU's first 1,000 yard rusher with 1,034 yards. He was a true workhorse who carried the ball 207 times for a 5.0-yard average. He was not the type of runner who was going to make long break away runs. The longest gain of his career was 37 yards.
He was known for being able to break arm tackles; using his powerful forearm Richardson was able to turn it into something of an art. He went on to be one of three Mustangs drafted by the Houston Oilers in the 1969 NFL Draft, the others being Jerry LeVias and Terry May.
Mike Richardson's record still stands and his performance against Texas A&M is considered one of the all-time greatest by a running back in Southwest Conference history. Mike Richardson takes his place among the great players in SMU history as we honor him with a spot in our countdown of the 90 Greatest Moments in SMU Football History.h