The Red River Rivalry: Top 20 Games (Part Two)

Oklahoma faces Texas at the Cotton Bowl each year in one of the most unique backdrops in College Football

In part one of the most memorable games in the Red River Rivalry, the theme predominately centered around great players. In three of the five games, we highlighted three Heisman trophy winners. Billy Sims, Earl Campbell and Ricky Williams were focal points in each game. These performances helped to catapult them to college football greatness. Today, as we break down games 15 through 11 there will be a different tone. While we don’t want to miss showcasing those incredible players, blowout wins and big underdog victories will prevail as we hit the next stage of our countdown.

#15 Sooner Magic?

The 1996 Oklahoma Football season started off as one of the worst in program history. For the first time in 35 years, Oklahoma would enter the Texas game with an 0-4 record. On the surface, Oklahoma was completely outmatched in this one. Texas was stronger on both sides of the ball. Oklahoma would come into the contest as a 22-point underdog. The Longhorns started strong leading 10-0 in the first quarter, but the Sooners narrowed the gap to just three at halftime. While trailing 24-13 in the fourth quarter, Oklahoma got the spark that it needed. Jarrail Jackson returned a punt 51 yards for a score to get within one possession. The Sooners kicked a field goal late to force the game into overtime. Texas made a field goal to move ahead 27-24. Now, Oklahoma had the opportunity to tie or win the game with a touchdown. James Allen carried the ball on five consecutive plays in overtime. The last carry would prove to be the difference maker. Allen would narrowly get the ball in to the end zone giving the Sooners a 30-27 win. This would prove to be the biggest victory in the John Blake era for Oklahoma.

#14 Last Stand for Mack

2013 would be the last season as head coach in Austin for Mack Brown. But, that wasn’t without a huge upset. Unranked Texas defeated previously unbeaten and 12th ranked Oklahoma 36-20. After the Sooners passed their initial test just two weeks earlier with a victory against Notre Dame, this contest didn’t have the same result. Texas was beaten badly in games against BYU and Mississippi in non-conference play and was only 3-2. However, this game would be completely dominated by the burnt orange. Texas outgained Oklahoma 445-263 and the game was not quite as close as the score would indicate. Johnathan Gray and Malcolm Brown each ran for over 100 yards and Case McCoy threw for 190 yards and two touchdowns. Trailing by 14 points in the first half and 23 points in the second half, Oklahoma struggled with consistency on offense.

#13 Defense Steals the Day

When it rains it pours.  On this day, for the Longhorns it was a torrential downpour. Oklahoma started early and often on the way to a 55-17 victory in 2011. This was one of the bright spots for the Sooners in a season that started promising but ended badly. After starting 6-0, Oklahoma would split the remaining six regular season games. However, on this day in Dallas, the afternoon belonged to the Sooners. Oklahoma scored three times on defense on the afternoon. Landry Jones also chipped in with three touchdown passes of his own. The Texas offense was bottled up all afternoon as the lone touchdown was a Foswhitt Whittaker kickoff return before a late touchdown with just a few minutes remaining.


#12 A Tale of Two Halfs

Can you imagine one team holding another team to zero yards passing? Even in this day and age, teams like Alabama and Clemson at least give up some passing yards to inferior opponents. Well, this is exactly what the Texas Longhorn defense did on this day as they defeated Oklahoma 34-14 in 1981. Even without the success of the pass, the Sooners led 14-3 at the intermission. However, the second half was a complete and total domination by Texas. The Longhorns were led by AJ Jones on the ground and Rick McIvor through the air. Collectively, Jones and McIvor paced the 31-0 second half blowout to win going away.

#11 Yo Adrian!!

It’s hard to outshine a shutout. But, that’s exactly what Adrian Peterson did as he helped Oklahoma defeat Texas 12-0 in 2004. This was the coming out party for Peterson who ran for 225 yards in his maiden voyage in the Cotton Bowl. However, this was also a defensive performance for the ages for Oklahoma. The Sooners held Longhorn quarterback Vince Young to 140 yards total yards of offense. Comparatively, the Texas defense was up to the task as well in holding reigning Heisman winner Jason White to 113 yards passing with two interceptions. The only touchdown of the game was scored with about eight minutes to go in the fourth quarter. Kejuan Jones scampered six yards for the score.