Next week, the Oklahoma Sooners will take on the Texas Longhorns in one of the greatest rivalries in college football. The thing that makes this game so special is the unique conditions of the rivalry. Whether it be the backdrop of the Texas State Fair, the field split at the 50-yard line between burnt orange and crimson and cream, or the bitter hatred between the two schools, few games can match it. Now, we’ll have you covered all week as we break down the game from both sides. But, for now, we take you back as we look at Oklahoma’s top 10 moments in the Red River Showdown.
Oklahoma’s Top 10 Moments in the Red River Showdown
10) Barry Switzer vs Darrell Royal Dispute
In 1976, there was more animosity between coaches than maybe there ever was. Frustration was mounting in the Longhorns camp as Darrell Royal had lost to the Sooners on five straight occurrences. Royal had accused Sooner head coach Barry Switzer of spying on the Texas practices and challenged Switzer to take a lie detector test.
On game day, the feud went further. President Gerald Ford attempted to become the peacemaker before the coin toss holding a chat between the two. But, neither would address each other. As far as how the game unfolded, it ended in a 6-6 tie. Oklahoma scored a late touchdown but couldn’t secure the victory as a botched snap on the extra point attempt sailed over the holder’s head.
9) Patrick Collins Gets Loose
1985 was a great season for the Oklahoma Sooners. First, the Sooners secured their sixth national championship after defeating Penn State in the Orange Bowl. But, it was also an impressive season because Oklahoma also beat Texas in a hard-fought game, 14-7.
Now, this was a defensive struggle in every sense of the word. Especially for Texas. The Sooner defense held Texas to 70 yards of total offense. In fact, their only score of the game was on a fumble recovery for a touchdown. But, the Sooners broke the tie early in the fourth quarter. Patrick Collins took a pitch from Troy Aikman who went streaking down the sideline for a 45-yard run to give the Sooners the 14-7 win.
8) Kyler Murray Brings The Sooners Back
Last season, Kyler Murray single-handedly kept the Sooners in games but also won many games that Oklahoma had no business winning. The porous Sooner defense was in full display in last year’s Red River Showdown. And, that led to the dismissal of Mike Stoops as defensive coordinator after this game.
Oklahoma found themselves down 45-24 as the fourth quarter started. Murray willed the Sooners back with 21 unanswered points to force a tie with 2:38 to play. The Sooners would go on to lose the game 48-45. But, the comeback and Murray’s 67-yard touchdown run put the nation on notice of one of the best single-season careers in college football history.
7) Quentin Griffin is in the right place at the right time
The early 2000s saw the series dominated by Oklahoma. The Sooners won five consecutive from 2000 – 2004 with two of those in blowout fashion. But, 2001 and 2002 were hard-fought games. And, sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good.
This was the game of the year not only in the Big 12 but the college football season as the Sooners came in ranked second with the Longhorns at number three. Much like in 2001, both defenses dominated for three-quarters of play. The Texas defense forced four Nate Hybl interceptions while Oklahoma forced three from Longhorn quarterback Chris Simms. The Sooners found themselves down 17-14 early in the fourth quarter when Hybl found Will People on a 3rd down play. People fumbled and Griffin picked it up for the score. Oklahoma would go on to win 35-24.
6) Joe Washington Halfback Pass
The Sooners came into the game ranked sixth in Switzer’s first year as head coach for Oklahoma. Comparatively, Texas came in ranked 13th on the year so the game was built up to be another great game in this rivalry. However, that was not to be as the Sooners dominated 52-13.
Joe Washington is not only one of the best Sooners of all-time, but he was always a fan favorite. He certainly loved the big play. And, it was that big play that set the tone for the Sooners that day as Washington hit a wide-open Tinker Owens for a long touchdown pass to begin the game.
5) The Demarco Murray Leap
This was the beginning of the Sam Bradford vs Colt McCoy era of this rivalry. However, this year both teams came into the game disappointed. Oklahoma had lost on the road to Colorado and Texas had lost at home to Kansas State. But, that didn’t change anything in terms of this game.
Both teams went back and forth at each other all day. But, Demarco Murray gave the Sooners a shot of momentum late in the third quarter. Murray took a handoff and hurdled a Texas defender on his way to a 65-yard touchdown run to give the Sooners a seven-point lead. The Sooners would go on to win the game 28-21.
4) Baker Mayfield Does It
Over the last seven years, Oklahoma has not performed particularly well in this game. But, even so, the Sooners have still won three of the last four games in the series. In 2017, Oklahoma stormed out to a 20-0 lead with four minutes to go in the first half.
But, as it seems to happen every year in this rivalry, momentum shifted. And, the Longhorns took advantage in the second half. Texas erased the deficit and took a 24-23 lead with just over eight minutes to play. Like he did many times, Baker Mayfield took control. He hit Mark Andrews on a long 59-yard touchdown pass to secure the 29-24 victory for the Sooners.
3) The eyes of Texas have been blackened
In 2000, Bob Stoops entered his second year in the program. Hopes were high after a return to the postseason in 1999. Oklahoma had a relatively easy schedule and entered the game ranked 10th and 4-0 for the first time since 1993. The pulse around the Oklahoma program was cautiously optimistic.
Now, the optimism turned into a fevered pitch after the Sooner manhandled the Longhorns 63-14. It’s hard to pinpoint one play in a nine touchdown outburst. But, Rocky Calmus‘ interception and touchdown return cemented the fact that Oklahoma football was indeed back.
2) James Allen Gets Redemption
The period of the 1990s was a dark time in Oklahoma football. Throughout the 10-year period, Oklahoma did not challenge for a Big 12 or national championship. In fact, from 1990-1999 the Sooners only beat Texas twice. But, in one of the most unlikely scenarios, Oklahoma proved they still had some Sooner Magic.
Oklahoma began the 1996 season 0-4. Especially disappointing were home losses to Tulsa and a beat down at the hands of Kansas. Hope was not in high regard as the Sooners came into the game against Texas nearly a four-touchdown underdog. The Sooners were down 11 late before a Jarrail Jackson punt return touchdown and a field goal sent the game into overtime. After forcing a Texas field goal, James Allen got redemption after being stopped at the goal line the previous year by getting in the end zone for a miraculous 30-27 Sooner win.
1) Roy Williams Is Superman
You’ll be hard-pressed to find much opposition to this moment being number one. This is not only one of the most iconic plays of this rivalry, but perhaps in the history of Sooner football. The Sooners needed a play and it got it from one of the best safeties in Oklahoma football history.
Texas was recovering from the blowout loss a year ago and was ranked number five in the country. Meanwhile, the Sooners were the defending national champions at came in at the number three spot. This was a defensive struggle in every sense of the word. The Sooners were clinging to a 7-3 lead late in the game with the Longhorns backed up in their end zone when something known as “the play” gave Oklahoma the victory.
Now, we want to hear from you. Tell us what you think of Oklahoma’s top 10 moments in the Red River Showdown in the comments section below. Was there a more impactful moment that we missed?
Red River Showdown Main Photo: