Dec. 11, 2013
Our December edition of Meet our Mavericks is dedicated to our football program. The rich history of the UTA Football Program is a valuable part of our tradition and history. UT Arlington competed in football as Arlington State College from 1919 to 1958, winning the Junior Rose Bowl in 1956 and 1957. The winning tradition continued with Southland Conference championships in 1966, 1967 and 1981, along with defeating North Dakota State for the 1967 Pecan Bowl. University administration decided to terminate the football program in 1985, and it has ceased to return. While football is dormant at the present moment, we welcome our ex-players back with open arms. They will always be Mavericks in the eyes of the Athletic Department and University.
Future editions of Meet our Mavericks will continue the formats of a question-and-answer session with various alumni from that sport. However, we wanted the first football edition to briefly introduce the football program and to honor one of the greatest football players to ever play at UT Arlington.
Meet Derrick Jensen, Class of 1977
Derrick Jensen grew up in Osawatomie, Kansas. After graduating from Osawatomie High School, Jensen enrolled to play football for the Mavericks. Derrick is perhaps one of the greatest players to come through the University of Texas at Arlington. Jensen led the Southland Conference in rushing in 1976, averaging 115.1 yards per game with a total of 1,266 yards for the year. In 1977, he continued his rushing dominance in the conference averaging 101.7 yards per game for a grand total of 1,119 for the season, again leading the Southland Conference. He finished his career with 3,346 rushing yards, making him the leading rusher in UT Arlington history. Jensen's efforts while at UTA did not go unnoticed, and he was inducted into the UT Arlington Athletic Hall of Honor in 1987. In addition to his UTA accolades, Derrick was the first player in Southland Conference history to top 3,000 yards and was twice named the Southland Conference MVP during his career at UT Arlington. In September of 2013, Derrick Jensen was named to the Southland Conference 1970s All Decade Team.
Jensen was a third-round draft choice of the Oakland Raiders in 1978. Throughout his career, he played in 106 games, including a streak of 105 straight, and starting 21. He served as the captain of the Raiders' special teams for five seasons. One of Jensen's most memorable moments came in Super Bowl XVIII. During the Raiders' 38-9 win over the Washington Redskins, Derrick contributed a blocked punt, which he recovered for the first touchdown. He was also part of the Raiders' Super Bowl XV championship team. He finished his Raiders career with 780 yards on 224 carries, with five touchdowns. He added 44 receptions and three scores and returned an onside kick 33 yards for a touchdown against the New York Giants in 1980.
Derrick Jensen served as a regional scout with the Seattle Seahawks for 22 years, but he was forced to retire in December after being diagnosed with ALS, commonly known as Lou Gehrig's Disease. Seattle and Oakland honored Derrick before the kickoff of their preseason game at CenturyLink in Seattle. As part of the ceremony, Jensen's son, Davis, raised the 12th man banner at the south end of the stadium as Derrick was present and received a standing ovation from all who attended.