Williams became the NCAA Division I-A career rushing leader, but it took four field goals by Kris Stockton, the last with five seconds to play, and a fierce defense for Texas to beat No. 6 Texas A&M 26-24 Friday.
The loss snapped the Aggies' 10-game winning streak.
Williams entered the game with 6,020 yards, needing 63 to break Tony Dorsett's record of 6,082. He finished with 259 yards on 44 carries for a career total of 6,279. He broke the record on a 60-yard touchdown run in the first quarter.
Williams also lost two fumbles that led to Aggies touchdown, the second coming in the fourth quarter when the Aggies scored 17 points and took a 24-23 lead before Stockton got the game-winner.
"I hope I'm considered one of the best," Williams said. "I'm just happy that I can make people proud of me, but I never thought when I was a freshman that things would turn out this way."
This season, Williams has rushed for 2,124 yards, the fifth-best total ever, behind Barry Sanders (2,628), Marcus Allen (2,342), Troy Davis (2,185) and Mike Rozier (2,148).
Stockton had field goals of 22, 24, 49 and the 24-yard game-winner after A&M rallied from a 23-7 deficit. The Texas defense held the Aggies to 173 total yards, their third-lowest of the year.
"I felt like all year that I've been a part of history, because Ricky has been setting records pretty much every game," wide receiver Kwame Cavil said. "As soon as he took off on (the 60-yard touchdown run) I knew he was going to get into the end zone.
Williams got the rushing record early. After gaining 52 yards on his first 13 carries, he ended the suspense late in the first quarter with his big touchdown run.
He slipped a tackle attempt by linebacker Warrick Holdman near the line of scrimmage, then cut to his left and down the sideline after eluding safety Setrick Curry.
Williams was met near the goal line by Brandon Jennings and Jason Webster. But Texas wide receiver Wane McGarity blocked Jennings and Williams carried Webster with him into the end zone with 1:45 left in the period.
"When it was time to crank it up against the No. 2 defense in the country, he did it and proved that he is the best player in the country," Texas coach Mack Brown said.
A record crowd of 83,687 cheered wildly after Williams' dash. He was mobbed on the sidelines by his teammates and received congratulations from Dorsett. After the game, Heisman Trophy winners John David Crow, Earl Campbell and Dorsett joined in honoring Williams.
Williams also became the eighth player in NCAA Division I-A history to rush for 2,000 yards in a season and he tied Allen for most 200-yard games in a career with 11.
Williams had 295 all-purpose yards for a career total of 7,206, breaking the career record of 7,172 by Napolean McCallum of Navy.
"He's one of the great backs and he had a good day," A&M linebacker Dat Nguyen said. "You give him any creases and he will take it. You can't give him the big plays, because he will break it back."
In winning, Texas (8-3, 6-2 in the Big 12) overcame a strong comeback by the Aggies.
Texas A&M (10-2, 7-1) scored 17 points in the final 8:29 and went ahead 24-23 with 2:20 left on a 1-yard touchdown run by Randy McCown.
The Longhorns started their winning drive with 2:12 left. The big gainer was Major Applewhite's 25-yard pass to Cavil to the Aggies 20. Applewhite completed seven passes in the march.
"That drive epitomizes what our offense has been the whole year," Applewhite said. "There was never a doubt that we would win the game. Our offense was poised and we just got it to a spot where Kris could win the game for us."
The Aggies began their rally from 16 points down on Russell Bynum's 30-yard field goal. McCown then hit tight end Derrick Spiller with a 17-yard touchdown pass with 7:39 to play on a short drive set up by Williams' second fumble of the game.
Williams' first fumble came on his first carry after his record run. A&M's Cornelius Anthony recovered at the Texas 19, setting up McCown's 20-yard touchdown pass to Spiller with 14:48 left in the second quarter.