The season got off to a great start with a 24-7 victory over perennial Big 8 contender, Colorado. Tech had the momentum they needed from the start and continued on a tear through its next seven opponents. Victories over New Mexico (20-16), Texas A&M (27-16), Rice (37-13), Arizona (52-27), Texas (31-28), TCU (14-10), and SMU (34-7).
There were many great moments in the '76 season, including Allison coming off the bench at A&M to secure a victory, a bruising defeat of Rice and the arm of Tommy Kramer, and the come-from-behind-twice victory in front of 50,000 fans in Lubbock over the Texas Longhorns. Also included in this season was the snow bowl against SMU where there was an hour and a half delay due to a blizzard that moved into Lubbock overnight and to stump any trivia contestant: Brian Hall, Tech's place kicker, had an artificial foot. This week, we will focus on the 1976 Tech-TCU game in Ft Worth.
Tech rolled into Ft Worth to face the winless TCU Horned Frogs. Most people saw it as a breather for Tech, but TCU saw it drastically different. Tech high flying offense would get all of its scoring done in the 1st quarter, starting it off with an 88 yd touchdown from Rodney Allison to Brian Nelson. After a three and out stand by the defense, led by All American linebacker from Lubbock Dunbar, Thomas Howard, Tech took the ball back and drove to the 3 yard line, where Allison sneaked the ball across for a 14-0 lead.
The Frogs; however, were not beaten just yet. With a quick touchdown right after halftime, and a field goal early in the 4th quarter, TCU had life. With just over a minute left in the game, Tech defensive back, Eric Felton intercepted a TCU pass to preserve a 14-10 win for the Red Raiders.
Following the victory against SMU, the Red Raiders were ranked as high as #5 in the country. A tough Houston team would give the Tech their first loss of the season to the tune of 27-19 and killed Tech's hopes of an outright SWC championship and berth in the Cotton Bowl. The tough team from the South Plains would finish out conference play with a resounding defeat of Arkansas 30-7 to secure a regular season tally of 10-1 and a SWC Co-Championship.
Tech was invited and accepted to the Astro-Bluebonnet Bowl in Houston on New Year's Eve, 1977. In a valiant effort, Tech came up short to the always powerful Nebraska Cornhuskers, 27-24.