WHAT: The University of Texas at Austin will deliver an orange accolade to the Cotton Bowl-bound Longhorn football team, coach Mack Brown and Heisman Trophy candidate Ricky Williams by lighting The University of Texas Tower on Saturday (Dec. 12) and Wednesday (Dec. 16). The number 34, which is Williams’ uniform number, will be bathed in orange light on all four sides of the Tower in recognition of his accomplishments.
WHEN: 6 p.m., Saturday (Dec. 12) to 5 a.m., Sunday (Dec. 13) and 6 p.m., Wednesday (Dec. 16) to 5 a.m., Thursday (Dec. 17).
BACKGROUND: In Mack Brown’s first year as coach of the Longhorns, the team earned a Cotton Bowl berth on Jan. 1 against Mississippi State by finishing the regular season with an 8-3 record. Williams wrapped up his regular-season career with 259 yards in a 26-24 nationally televised win over then-No. 6 Texas AandM on Nov. 27. That performance enabled Williams to break Tony Dorsett’s 22-year-old NCAA Division I-A career rushing record.
The list of honors continues to grow for Williams. Last night, he picked up his second Dr Pepper Doak Walker Award, given to the nation’s top running back. In so doing, he became the first player to win the award twice. In addition, he received the Maxwell Award, given to the best player in the nation by the Maxwell Athletic Club of Philadelphia.
On Monday, he won the Associated Press’ first College Player of the Year Award in balloting by AP member newspapers, TV and radio stations. Last week, Williams won the Walter Camp Player of the Year Award in a vote of Division I-A coaches and sports information directors.
On Saturday, Williams will be the overwhelming favorite to win the prestigious Heisman Trophy, given each year to college football’s most outstanding player.
Williams provided college football fans with an extra special season. While running for 2,214 yards and scoring 28 touchdowns, he became major college football’s career rushing leader, finishing with 6,279 yards to eclipse Dorsett’s career total of 6,082 yards. Williams owns 15 other NCAA records, including most career touchdowns (75), points (452) and all-purpose yards (7,206). He also averaged a record 6.22 yards per carry.