Why it matters: Shocker football didn’t enjoy many big days in the 1980s. This was one of them. A stirring comeback. A goal-line stand and a record-setting performance.
Date: Oct. 22, 1983
Short version: Wichita State’s football team trailed West Texas State 30-7 late in the third quarter at Cessna Stadium. Running back Eric Denson’s 55-yard run with 2:57 remaining in the quarter started a 24-point rally. WSU took the lead on a 17-yard flanker reverse by Reuben Eckels and Denson’s two-point conversion. West Texas State drove 79 yards to the 1, helped by a pass interference call. The Shockers won 31-30 when James Geathers recovered a fumble at the 1-yard line with 38 seconds to play.
The standout: Denson set a WSU single-game record with 217 yards on 19 carries, with touchdowns of 55 and 56 yards.
More details: WSU committed seven turnovers, six in the first half. It scored 18 points in the fourth quarter, started by Denson’s 56-yard run with 14:04 to play. Sergio Lopez Chavaro added a 42-yard field goal and Eckel’s run capped the scoring. Freshman quarterback Brian McDonald, playing for injured starter Tyrone Mitchell, completed two passes and threw four interceptions. Mitchell’s pass to Don Dreher put WSU up 7-0 in the first quarter before West Texas State embarked on a 30-0 run.
Oddly enough: WSU improved to 2-6, 2-1 in the MVC and remained in the conference race with two games to play.
Quotable: “I gave a little prayer at halftime that maybe we’d get back in the game. God was with us today. I told that to everyone at halftime, and that we were going to come back.” – Eckels
Quotable II: “I still don’t believe that we won.” – Denson.