Today in MSU History: Sherrill Improves to 7-0 Against Texas

Jackie Sherrill, Sleepy Robinson, and a steer named Wild Willie all helped Mississippi State begin the 1992 season with a victory at Texas.

Mississippi State opened the 1992 season coming off their first bowl game in almost a decade. A nationally-televised season-opener at Texas awaited, with State ranked #21 in the country. What better way to celebrate than with a castration?

Yeah, that's right. Citing "educational purposes," Jackie Sherrill and the rest of the football team witnessed the castration of a bull named Wild Willie prior to the team's trip to Austin. The reaction from the media was less than pleasant, and president Donald Zacharias was quoted as saying, "I consider the action inappropriate and contrary to the educational ideals" of the university."

In Austin, Mississippi State started strong on their first two possessions. After a defensive back fell down, Sleepy Robinson found Willie Harris racing down the left sideline for an easy touchdown. Sleepy added a rushing touchdown to finish the next possession, putting State up 13-0.

A deep thigh bruise suffered during the second quarter caused Sleepy to miss the entire second half. It was a rocky start with junior backup QB Greg Plump, who lost a fumble on his first snap, but State's defense stood tall. Marc Woodard immediately sacked Texas QB Peter Gardere, and on 3rd and 21, Keith Joseph returned an interception to Texas's 1 yardline. Plump later scored to extend State's lead. Overall, Plump filled in valiantly, leading the Bulldogs on two more scoring drives as State went on to win 28-10.

Over 70,000 saw Sherrill improve to 7-0 against Texas (5-0 at Texas A&M and 2-0 at MSU), though not as many Longhorn fans stuck around to see him get carried off the field on the shoulders of the Bulldog players. But Sherrill had enough of the rivalry. "I don't want to come back to play Texas again. We have enough to worry about in our own conference. I'm 7-0 against them and I'm willing to be happy with that."

It turns out that Sherrill would face them again - six years later in the 1998 Cotton Bowl. Ricky Williams was too much for State that day, who was playing with an injured JJ Johnson. Texas won 38-11, and as far as I know, no bulls were harmed prior to that game.

And as for Wild Willie? After the castration story began to circulate, he became a local celebrity and made appearances at the State Fair and a few charitable events. It was a short 15 minutes of fame, though, as he suffered a broken leg 11 months later and had to be put down.

 

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