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Echoes of Oklahoma Sooners Football: The Greatest Stories Ever Told

Echoes of Oklahoma Sooners Football: The Greatest Stories Ever Told

by Triumph Books, Steve Owens (Foreword by)

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With a proud tradition dating back to 1895, a worldwide following of rabid, devoted fans, and an ever-growing list of national championships, Oklahoma Sooners football is one of the most elite programs in collegiate sports. Throughout the years, the players who have worn the familiar red helmet and jerseys, the coaches who have led them into battle, and the games in


With a proud tradition dating back to 1895, a worldwide following of rabid, devoted fans, and an ever-growing list of national championships, Oklahoma Sooners football is one of the most elite programs in collegiate sports. Throughout the years, the players who have worn the familiar red helmet and jerseys, the coaches who have led them into battle, and the games in which they participated have shaped the sport that millions of fans enjoy today. Oklahoma won its first conference championship in 1915 and nabbed its 40th and most recent one in 2006 on its way to yet another BCS bowl game. The Sooners have won seven national championships—1950, 1953, and 1956 under the legendary Bud Wilkinson, 1974, 1975, and 1985 under Barry Switzer, and 2000 under current coach Bob Stoops—who has a career won-lost record of 86-19. The list of great players who have played for Oklahoma is long and storied, and includes Heisman Trophy winners Billy Vessels, Steve Owens, Billy Sims, and Jason White. Other OU greats include Claude Reeds, Jack Mitchell, Jack Mildren, Greg Pruitt, Thomas Lott, Brian Bosworth, and Adrian Peterson. These coaches, players and most memorable moments in Oklahoma history have been colorfully documented by sportswriters around the United States for almost a century. Echoes of Oklahoma Sooners Football is a nostalgic compilation of feature articles, profiles, games stories, and other examples of the best sportswriting ever devoted to the Sooners.

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Echoes of Oklahoma Sooners Football

The Greatest Stories Ever Told

By Mark Stallard

Triumph Books

Copyright © 2007 Triumph Books
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-57243-874-3


The Daily Oklahoman

Longhorns Defeated by Sooners on Boyd Field

The game was played a little differently during the first decade of the 20th century, but it doesn't mean Oklahoma fans didn't enjoy a good whipping of the Longhorns as much as they do today. The Sooners walloped Texas and easily won the 1908 contest. This game story ran in The Daily Oklahoman on November 14, 1908.

Outclassed, Texas University Athletes Lose Championship Contest after Many Victories at Home, 50 — 0

Norman, Oklahoma, November 13 — Oklahoma University, by playing perfect football every minute of the 70 played, had a walkaway with the big Texas team. The Oklahoma boys played their very best, which resulted in nine touchdowns and five goals for them, or a score of 50 — 0.

Texas played hard but were too slow and while unable to get themselves through the Sooners' line for any gains, the Sooners seldom failed to make good gains.

Twice during the game it looked as though Texas might score, once when by a long punt they had gotten the ball within five yards of OU's goal, and again when Dyer, the Longhorns quarter, got a fumble near the Texas goal line and ran 60 yards, only to be captured by Douglas.

Only once in the first half and but three or four times in the second half did Texas make her downs. The Sooners line was impregnable and the only gains the Longhorns made were on forward passes and punts.

Duncan, right end, and Dyer, quarter, did the best work for Texas while there was not a man on the Sooners team that does not deserve special praise for his work.

The game was the cleanest ever played here. There was not one word of wrangling. The Texans did their best and took their defeat like men. Texas can be proud of putting out a team who are at least gentlemen.

The Sooners were penalized twice as often as the Longhorns, but the penalties were all just and the umpire acted perfectly fairly. Texas won the toss-up and took advantage of the wind and by a long kick, a punt, and a penalty on OU, got the ball near the Sooners' goal. They failed on a place kick from the 25-yard line.

OU punted out and Texas punted back to the Sooners' 10-yard line. Wantland took the ball and went through the Texas line and outran two Texans the whole length of the field for the first touchdown after nine minutes of play. Armstrong kicked goal.

Six minutes later, after good gains by Capshaw, Roy Campbell, and Douglas, Capshaw broke through the Longhorns' line 40 yards for a touchdown. Armstrong failed for goal.

Texas kicked off past the goal line. OU kicked out to the center of the field. Texas punted for 45 yards. Wantland went 20, then big Douglas, without interference, knocking Texans right and left, gained 30 yards. Oklahoma was penalized and Douglas recovered the 15 yards.

Texas by two successful forward passes, a punt, and a penalty against OU got the ball within two yards of the Sooners' goal line and got a touchdown. Texas, as usual, failed to make any gain against the Sooners' line and punted. Narn carried the ball 15 yards, Capshaw 30, Douglas 10, Wolf 15, and Capshaw 20 for a touchdown. Armstrong kicked goal.

Texas kicked off but 15 yards and recovered the ball and worked a forward pass for 20 more. Captain Wolf got a Texas man with the ball and ran him five yards toward the Sooners' goal.

OU punted for 60 yards, and then for the first time the Texans made their downs.

Half ends with score 17 — 0.

Between halves Professor D.W. Ohem, professor of geology here, started a snake dance and about 300 men followed his lead. After dancing all over the field, they all threw their hats over the goal post.

Texas kicked off in the second half. Stitler made 20 yards for Texas, OU got touchback and gains by Campbell, Douglas, and Wantland. Douglas carried the ball over the line for a touchdown. Armstrong kicked out to Wantland and then kicked goal.

The Sooners then drove the ball right back to Texas's line, and Ralph Campbell carried it over for a touchdown. Armstrong kicked out to Wantland but failed to kick goal. Again after gains by Capshaw, Douglas, Campbell, Roberts, and Armstrong, Key Wolf captured a fumble and converted it into a touchdown. A Texas man got away in a clear field but was run down by Ralph Campbell in 40 yards. Armstrong kicked goal.

Again Texas punted a few minutes later for 40 yards and Wantland this time kicked his last goal.

The score now stood 45 — 0 and it was so near dark that the ball in play could not be seen. Ralph Campbell made 40 yards. Sooners fumbled and Over ran 60 yards for Texas, to be captured by Douglas. OU by straight line backs made a touchdown and failed to kick goal. Sooners carried their players off the field with a score of 50 — 0.


Sooners — Roy Campbell, center; English, LG; Wolf, RG; Douglas, LT; Ralph Campbell, RT; Walling, RE; Narn, quarter; Wantland, RH; Capshaw, LH; Armstrong, full.

Longhorns — Barleny, center; Truett, LG; Stieler, RG; Feldlake, (capt) LT; Wolf, RT; Duncan, LE; H. Leonard, RE; Dyer, quarter; Estell, RH; Slaughter, LH; Walker, full.

Sooners coach, Bennie Owens; Longhorns coach, Montzentine; referee, Dr. H.H. Cloudman, Vermont; umpire, Jack Allen, Harvard; field judge, St. Claire.

Thompson was substituted as center, Roberts RH, and Long RG in second half. Jones took H. Leonard's place at RE.

Touchdowns: Wantland, 2; Capshaw, 2; Douglas, 1; Ralph Campbell, 3; Key Wolf, 1; Armstrong, 2.

Two 35-minute halves.

The students are having a big celebration and torchlight parade tonight.


The Daily Oklahoman

Sooners Take Valley Title in Final Game

The Sooners joined the Missouri Valley Conference in 1920 and promptly won the conference championship. Oklahoma finished the season with a route of Drake to take the title — the only blemish on their record was a tie against Kansas State. It was the last championship team Bennie Owen coached at OU.

Drake Falls Before Heavy Oklahoma Team by Score of 44 to 7.

Des Moines, Iowa, November 25 — Unmasking a baffling assortment of forward passes perfectly received by fleet forwards, Bennie Owen's Sooners won the Missouri Valley championship here this afternoon by decisively defeating Drake 44 — 7. This is the first year in the Valley conference for Owen's protégés.

After a 7 — 7 tie with the Kansas Aggies last Saturday on the Sooners' home field, a much closer game was expected; but the mixing up of new plays combined with the perfect work of the heavy Oklahoma line showed that the "Cowboys" had again the old form that they possessed in 1918 and had shown in the Washington, Missouri, and Kansas games this year.

Drake Line Holds

In spite of the light Drake line, the Sooners men were unable to tear through it with much success and early in the game resulted to Bennie Owen's old standby, the famous "Oklahoma aerial attack."

After that Drake never had a chance to win, the Owen machine tearing up the Des Moines gang in the last half for a score of 28 against their opponents' 7.

Oklahoma outplayed and outgeneraled Drake and clinched its claims to the Missouri Valley Conference championship. Oklahoma made one gain of 50 yards by the aerial route. On the next down, on Drake's 2-yard line, White went across for a touchdown. The long pass was made after two attempts had failed.

Davis Kicks Goal

The first scoring was early in the first period, after an exchange of punts, when Oklahoma carried the ball to Drake's 22-yard line and Davis kicked goal from there. Both sides lost ground frequently in attempting to gain for the remainder of the period.

In the second period, after Oklahoma gained 15 yards by a pass, Hill made an additional 20 yards through right tackle and went across the line. White kicked goal. Play was more or less even until near the close of the period, when White intercepted a pass by Drake and was stopped on Drake's 23-yard line. A pass from White to Johnson was good for the next Oklahoma touchdown. White failed to kick goal.

Drake Territory Invaded

The third period opened with frequent line bucking, Drake gaining in that manner. Oklahoma, however, by passes worked well into Drake territory and Haskell scored, White kicking goal. The period ended on Drake's 15-yard line.

Oklahoma forced the playing in the fourth period and Morrison soon made a touchdown and in a few minutes Johnson went across for another. White kicked successfully both times.

Drake Scores on Fumble

Drake's only touchdown came when Oklahoma lost the ball on its 20-yard line by a fumble and Drake made a gain around end, through right tackle and the line, Niggemeyer scoring and Clayton kicking goal. Play was kept near the center of the field until Oklahoma made its 50-yard pass. White to Tyler, and White then went across and kicked goal. Lineup:

Oklahoma Position Drake

LE Pendy
Johnson LT Amme
Mckinley LG Tilmont
C Marsh
RG Lutz
RT Hornaday
Haskell RE Sherer
QB Clayton
LH Allen
RH Niggemeyer
FB Young


Oklahoma: Edmondson for Deacon; Ogilvia for Davis; Morrison for Swatek; Marsh for Luster; Tyler for Haskell; Ross for Smoot; Cullen for Edmondson.

Drake: Denton for Tilmont; Woodhead for Sherer; Long for Pendy; Sarif for Marsh; Wado for Woodward; Woodhead for Wade; Gobbon for Health.

Touchdowns: Oklahoma: Johnson, 2; Hill, Haskell, Morrison, White, 14.

Drake: Niggemeyer, 1.

Goals from touchdown: White, 5; Clayton, 1.

Field goals: Davis, 1.

Score by Quarters

OK University 3 13 7 21-44
Drake 0 0 0 7-7

Punts: White, 10 times for an average of 34 yards.

Attempted passes: Oklahoma, 26; completed 11 for 185 yards. Drake, attempted 12; completed five for 60 yards.

Yards gained in scrimmage: Oklahoma, 240; Drake, 82.

Yards lost in scrimmage: Oklahoma, 61; Drake, 52.

Penalties: Oklahoma, six for 50 yards; Drake, two for 30 yards.

First downs: Oklahoma, 33; Drake, 8.

Fumbles: Oklahoma, 3; Drake, 4.

Lost ball on downs: Oklahoma, 1.

Punts returned: Oklahoma, 67 yards; Drake, 0.

White kicked off 15 times for an average of 55 yards; Clayton, five for an average of 40 yards.


Byron Amspacher, Sooner Magazine

Sports Review — 1939 Orange Bowl

With a perfect 10 — 0 record and a defense that had allowed just 12 points all season, the Sooners had high hopes for a victory when they arrived in Miami in 1939 for the school's first-ever bowl game against Tennessee. The Volunteers soundly dashed OU's hopes for a win and captured the Orange Bowl, 17 — 0. Byron Amspacher wrote this article on the game for Sooner Magazine.

While Oklahoma football fans are still wondering what hit the undefeated Sooners football team at Miami, where it dropped an Orange Bowl game to Tennessee, 17 — 0, Coach Tom Stidham is already thinking about spring practice and next season.

After the loss, the first in 15 games for the Big Six champions, Stidham had only this comment to make to reporters: "I've got just one thing to say, boys. We had to get it sometime, and we got it today. We'll just rub this off and start next year against SMU."

No one has yet been able to give a satisfactory answer as to just what happened to the Sooners, pride of the Big Six and Missouri Valley sector, in that January 2 game at Miami. Although Tennessee had by far the best team met by the redshirted Sooners all year and the best team on the field that day, Oklahoma put on perhaps its worst exhibition of the year.

The game was marred all the way through by rough play and penalties, with both sides giving and taking in one of the hardest games ever fought.

Tennessee was brilliant. No team could have beaten the Vols that day. It was the opinion of practically every writer present that the victors were the best team in the nation and could have taken care of other bowl winners without trouble.

The blocking of the orange-shirted Tennessee team was unbelievable to Sooners fans, who thought that the blocking of the Oklahoma team was perfection itself. On every play a horde of Tennessee men seemed to pop up out of the ground and mow the Sooners down.

But while the Oklahomans were having trouble functioning as a team, several players turned in outstanding individual performances, and Hugh McCullough, triple-threat back, was especially bright.

Here is what Sid Feder, Associated Press writer, had to say about McCullough's performance: "It was Hugh McCullough, as game a gridder as ever came down the pike, who played the hero's role all the way for the Sooners.

"He played 58 of the 60 minutes and did about everything one man could to stop the terrific Tennesseans. The only trouble was there weren't 10 others like him on the field for Oklahoma this warm afternoon.

"He passed, he ran, he kicked (and how), and he played plenty of defense. Then, two minutes before the finish, when the scoreboard showed 17 — 0 and nothing mattered anymore, Tom Stidham took him out.

"Both packed sides of this colorful Orange Bowl boomed applause as he limped off. His right leg was hurt, one sleeve of his jersey had been ripped clear out, but one and all admitted that young Mr. McCullough was quite a lad with that pigskin."

Jim Hopkins, sports editor of the Oklahoma News, also had praise for the performances of McCullough and several other Sooners players. Here is what he had to say:

"Despite the brilliance of those two Tennessee backs [Wood and Cafego], two major football coaches said Hugh McCullough of Oklahoma was the best player on the field. I have thought all season that McCullough is the most underrated player of the year.

"He stayed in Monday's rough contest 58 minutes. While there, he did all of the kicking, passing, signal-calling; most of the ball carrying; and much of the tackling. He took some severe jolts and came back for more.

"Dick Favor, a reserve blocking back; guard Ralph Stevenson; Frank Ivy, reserve end; were other Sooners whose work stood out against a preponderance of brilliance on the Tennessee side." While Tennessee was ripping down the field for long gains, Oklahoma's attack, which had been good all year for a touchdown or two when necessary, never did get started.

Handicapped from the start by the absence of two of their best running backs, Howard "Red Dog" McCarty and Bill Jennings, the Sooners lost another valuable asset right at the start when Earl Crowder, senior blocking back, was injured.

And while the running game was slowed down to a trot, Coach Stidham's boys also had trouble getting their passing attack to function. Finally, when it didn't really matter, the Sooners drove down to the Vols' 19-yard marker with a series of sharp passes, but it just wasn't their day, and the attack bogged down.

But while the football team had a disastrous day, Oklahomans who made the 1,500-mile trip to Miami were treated to a colorful spectacle at the game. Here is how one writer described it: "A holiday pageant so packed full of color that it looked like a carefully designed Hollywood set was set in motion by the parading bands in red, orange, white, blue, yellow, green, totaling 1,700 players."

The 150-piece Sooners band just about stole the show in pregame parading. It was chosen as the official bowl band and led the parade on the Saturday before the game. The efficiency and sportsmanship of the Sooners band was widely praised by Tennessee partisans as well as by neutral observers in Miami.

Seven Sooners players made their last appearance on the gridiron in an Oklahoma uniform in the Tennessee game. They were McCullough, Waddy Young, All-American end; Jim Thomas, guard; and Gene Corrotto, Crowder, Otis Rogers, and Raphael Boudreau, backs.


Excerpted from Echoes of Oklahoma Sooners Football by Mark Stallard. Copyright © 2007 Triumph Books. Excerpted by permission of Triumph Books.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Triumph Books is a leader in quality and innovation in sports publishing. In 2000, Triumph Books launched Triumph Books Entertainment, a specialty pop culture and current events imprint. Steve Owens is a former football player for the University of Oklahoma and a former running back in the NFL. He is the recipient of the 1969 Heisman Trophy and is an All-American honoree.

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