When Mustang fans talk about the 1989 season, the first game they usually refer to is the "Miracle on Mockingbird." But if you ask the players and coaches from that season if there was another moment that rivaled the Connecticut game, they will talk to you about the win over North Texas on Homecoming. Unlike the last second 31-30 win over Connecticut, this was true dominance from the opening kickoff. The 35-9 destruction of North Texas takes its place at No. 42 on our countdown of the 90 Greatest Moments in SMU Football History.
On their first drive of the game, SMU drove 80 yards and scored on a 20-yard pass from Mike Romo to Andy Bergfeld. The Mustangs scored on four of their first five drives en route to 540 yards of total offense. Romo had a career day as he completed 32 of 47 passes for three touchdowns and a school record 450 yards. He connected with nine different receivers on the day, with Jason Wolf leading the way with nine catches.
Romo's 450 yards broke Chuck Hixson's school record of 417 against Ohio State in 1968. Behind the strength of Romo's right arm the Mustangs ranked 10th in the nation is passing offense in 1989, with Romo ranking 13th nationally in total offense. It was only the seventh game of his collegiate career, but Romo had already become the ninth all-time passer in school history. During the win over North Texas, he moved past Gil Johnson and the legendary Doak Walker.
Some football fans feel that only wins over highly ranked opponents or championship clinching games can be considered great wins, but Coach Forrest Gregg put this win up there with the others. He pointed out that it showed the character of an amazing group of young men. "A few weeks ago, we hit a low point against Houston, but these kids taught us all something about heart and resilience today." The North Texas game was a morale builder as the team prepared to go through one of the most brutal four week stretch in school history, with games against four teams ranked in the Top 20, including a trip to play No. 1 Notre Dame in South Bend.
Towards the end of the game, several Mustang players snuck up behind Coach Gregg and emptied the water bucket over him. As the final seconds were being counted off, the players carried their soaking wet coach to the middle of the field to shake hands with North Texas coach Corky Nelson. Gregg recalled, "They thought I would be mad, but there's not anyway in the world I could be mad at something like that. We've had some tough ones the last few weeks, and they deserve to feel good." The dominating performance against North Texas in 1989 takes its place among the 90 Greatest Moments in SMU Football History.