On This Date in Sports October 24, 1998: Run Ricky Run
In collaboration with the Sportsecyclopedia.com
Ricky Williams of the University of Texas becomes the NCAA’s all-time leading scorer, as he has two touchdowns in the final two minutes to lead the Longhorns to a 30-20 win over Baylor on homecoming in Austin. Williams would later become the NCAA’s all-time leading rusher as he finished the season with 2,327 yards becoming the second player from the Longhorns to win the Heisman Trophy.
Ricky Williams was born on May 21, 1977, in San Diego. A multi-sport star, Williams was recruited to play football at Texas, while being drafted in the eighth round by the Philadelphia Phillies. While at high school, he also ran track and wrestled. While running for Texas in the fall, Ricky Williams played four years of minor league baseball in the Phillies organization, but never advanced past single-A, with a paltry .211 batting average.
It did not take long for Ricky Williams to become the star of the Texas rushing attack under Coach John Mackovic as he rushed for 1,052 yards on 178 carries and scored eight rushing touchdowns while recording one touchdown reception as he had 224 yards on 16 catches. There would be no sophomore slump for Ricky Williams, as he had 1,320 yards on 216 carries with 13 touchdowns in 1996 while adding a pair of touchdown catches. While Texas was one of the most disappointing teams in the nation at 4-7 in 1997, Williams was one of the top rushers in the nation again, with 1,893 yards on 279 carries with 25 touchdowns.
A change came to Austin as Ricky Williams returned for his senior season in 1998 as John Mackovic was replaced by Mack Brown as the Longhorns head coach. Brown relied heavily on Williams to get the Texas program back on track. In the first two games of the season, Williams rushed for 385 yards with nine touchdowns. In the fourth game of the season, Ricky Williams had a record-setting day against Rice, rushing for 318 yards with six scores. A week later, he ran for 350 yards with five touchdowns against Iowa State. Every week seemed to bring a new highlight for Ricky Williams who became the star of the 1998 season. Needing two scores to set the scoring record, Williams helped rally the Longhorns to a 30-20 win over Baylor. The first score was a 14-yard run with 2:01 left, a minute later he set the record with a seven-yard score.
With the scoring record in hand, Ricky Williams ran for 259 yards on 44 carries in the final game of the regular season as the Longhorns upset Texas A&M 26-24. Ricky Williams would finish his senior season with 2,327 yards on 391 carries with 25 touchdowns to win the Heisman Trophy. He would run for 6,592 yards in his career, breaking the old record held by Tony Dorsett, a record that would be topped one year later by Ron Dayne of Wisconsin. In addition, Williams had a record 73 touchdowns and 452 points a record that would also be topped in 1999 by Travis Prentice of Miami.