On Oct. 5, 1974, the Texas A&M Aggies and Kansas Jayhawks first met as gridiron foes in Lawrence, Kansas. Both of the teams were led by University of Texas alumni who had sought their gridiron fortunes beyond the confines of Austin: Emory Bellard and Don Fambough.
Bellard had been the coach of Texas A&M since 1972. Prior to that the Luling, Texas native had gained national attention as the Texas Longhorn's offensive coordinator under Darrell K. Royal. Bellard was credited for the creation of the "wishbone" offense that propelled the Longhorns to the top of college football. With Bellard conducting the offense, Texas claimed two national championships and four Southwest Conference championships using the scheme.
His counterpart on the Kansas sideline had been the head of the Jayhawks football program for four seasons. Fambough, a native of Longview, Texas, initially played college ball for the Longhorns but moved to Kansas after World War II, where he played guard for the Jayhawks. After his final season of eligibility he joined the KU coaching staff as an assistant on the staff of Jules V. Sikes.
After stints as an assistant East Texas State and Wichita State, Fambough returned to Lawrence on the staff of Jack Mitchell. In 1970 he took over as head coach when Pepper Rodgers left for UCLA.
Texas A&M started the 1974 season ranked No. 20 in the Associated Press poll and wins over Clemson, LSU and Washington had seen the Cadets rise to No. 5 on the eve of the tilt with Kansas. The undefeated Aggies were tied with Texas Tech and Arkansas atop the Southwest Conference and heavily favored over the Big Eight's unranked Jayhawks, who had stumbled against Tennessee in the first month of the season.
More than 36,000 were on hand at the Memorial Stadium to see this first-ever contest between the intersectional rivals. Kansas struck first with a 72 yard, seven play scoring drive to open the game, capped by a seven yard touchdown run by running back Robert Miller, the Big Eight's leading rusher.
Texas A&M responded with 10 unanswered points in the second half. Returning from halftime, the two teams battled for momentum, and Kansas claimed it as time expired on the third quarter.
Kansas QB Scott McMichael unleashed a long bomb to receiver Emmett Edwards, who was standing completely uncovered on the Aggie 30-yard-line. The Jayhawk flanker ran untouched to the end-zone for the score.
Texas A&M rallied in the fourth quarter but midway through the period, the cadets' quarterback David Walker fumbled a pitchout and Kansas end Dean Zook recovered on the 44-yard line. Two plays later, McMichael's nine-yard touchdown pass to Miller severely dimmed the Aggies hopes.
A 53-yard scoring run by Kansas' Laverne Smith with 26 seconds remaining in the game squelched them completely. The final score of 28-10 didn't adequately express the dominance of the Jayhawks in the contest. Kansas outrushed the Aggies 275 to 173 and outpassed them 178 to 92. The Jayhawks' 24 first downs more than doubled Texas A&M's total for the game (11).
The Kansas victory left both teams with matching 3-1 records, but they would follow extremely different paths the rest of the season.
Kansas would go on to defeat in-state rival Kansas State the following week to earn a 4-1 record and a No. 13 ranking in the AP poll. That was the acme of the season as the Jayhawks wouldn't earn another victory the rest of the way. The squad finished a paltry 4-7 in the cellar of the Big Eight Conference. Fambrough was replaced with Bud Moore.
The Aggies would recover from the to reel off four straight wins before falling in a close contest with SMU and a not-so-close one against Texas. The Aggies finished 16th in the final AP poll and were tied with the Longhorns for second in the Southwest Conference behind Baylor.
The next season, A&M would turn in a 10-2-0 record and become the Southwest Conference co-champions. They defeated USC 20-0 in the 1975 Liberty Bowl.
Bellard would depart College Station midway through the 1978 season following a pair of blowout losses to Houston and Baylor. His coaching record at Texas A&M would stand at 48-27. He would go on to coach seven years at Mississippi State.
In 1979, Fambough took over the Jayhawks football team once again and served until 1982. He finished with a 37-48-5 record in Lawrence.
Both Fambough and Bellard passed away earlier this year.