Fall was upon them in Abilene, Texas. Overcast skies and the crisp 58-degree air resembled the breath of a peppermint.
The wind? Seventeen miles per hour with a 12 miles per hour tailwind. Sixty-nine yards was all that stood in the way of Ove Johansson and history.
That's when, Johansson kicked a 69-yard field goal against East Texas State, becoming the record-holder for the longest field goal in college football history.
Homecoming weekend brought the crowd on Oct. 16, 1976 to Abilene Christian University and Shotwell Stadium
. The stands were brimming with students, faculty, staff, parents, alumni. They knew one record would be broken that day.
Wilbert Montgomery was a touchdown shy of surpassing fellow Mississippi native Walter Payton's career collegiate touchdown record (63).
What they didn't know of was the dialogue that preceded the game between ACU teammates Johansson and Montgomery. Both agreed to set records that day.
Two of Johansson's pregame warmup kicks were good from 70 yards.
"The leg was working," Johansson told NCAA.com in 2019.
Wilbert scored his long-anticipated touchdown. That didn't pressurize Johansson, but something peculiar
peaked his adrenaline. Ten minutes before he and the Wildcats' special teams unit gathered at their own 41-yard line,
Ron Hadfield, Abilene's former editor of the student newspaper .
The Optimist and current editor of the school's alumni magazine, remembers covering the game from the sidelines that day.
He recalls people asking coach Wally Bullington why he tried to kick a field goal from that spot on the field.
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