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Presented in a unique reversible-book format, this is the ultimate Texas Longhorns fan guide to the passionate and historic rivalry with the Oklahoma Sooners. Full of interesting trivia, hilarious history, and inside scoops, the book relates the fantastic stories of legendary Longhorn coaches and star players, as well as the numerous villains and their even worse fans who have represented the Sooners over the years. Like two books in one, this completely biased account of the rivalry shows there really is no fine line between love and hate; rather, it’s as wide as the Red River itself. This is the defining book on the Texas–Oklahoma rivalry and is a must-read for every true Longhorns fan.
About the Author
Pete Davis has spent more than 20 years in radio as a writer, a producer, a reporter, an anchor, a talk show host, and a sports director. He is the winner of four Associated Press awards, including the 2003 Georgia Associated Press Broadcaster Association Award for Best Sports Program. He lives in Stone Mountain, Georgia.
Read an Excerpt
I Love Texas, I Hate Oklahoma
By Pete Davis
Triumph BooksCopyright © 2012 Pete Davis
All rights reserved.
We Love Licking The Sooners
In 1992 a blue-ribbon committee (likely named after the beer they drank at the meeting) decided to celebrate the first century of Longhorns football by picking the top games in the storied history of the Texas-Oklahoma gridiron war. They came up with what they called the best and greatest games of the Red River Rivalry — or, as real men call it, the Red River Shootout.
We've added the great games since 1992, as well, of which there have been many.
October 11, 1958
Texas 15 | Oklahoma 14
According to the aforementioned PBR committee, this was the first great game at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas.
Oklahoma was ranked second in the nation at the time, while Texas was just 16th and a 13-point underdog. The Bud Wilkinson– led Sooners had dominated the previous six meetings, as well as nine out of the last 10.
But this time, things were different from the start. Halfback Rene Ramirez hit George Blanch with a 10-yard touchdown pass to open the game for Texas. A surprise two-point conversion then brought the score to 8–0, and that score held until the third quarter, when Oklahoma brought it to 8–6. During the fourth quarter, Longhorn Mike Dowdle fumbled and Sooner Jim Davis (not the Jim Davis who draws the comic strip Garfield) grabbed it and ran 24 yards for the go-ahead touchdown, bringing the score to 14–8, OU. Things looked bleak for Texas, which hadn't had a first down in the second half, when it got the ball on its own 26 with just 6:50 left to play.
Quarterback Vince Matthews, who had replaced Bobby Lackey, drove the Longhorns down to the 7-yard line. At that point, Coach Darrell Royal put Lackey back in the game, who promptly got the ball to Bobby Bryant with a jump pass, and the game was tied. Lackey added the extra point to give the Longhorns a 15–14 lead with three minutes to go, then iced his status as the hero of the game by intercepting an OU pass to seal the victory.
The win sparked a state-wide celebration so fierce that the plane carrying the team back to Austin had to circle the landing field for 15 minutes as police pushed the revelers back to safety. Charles Lindbergh, eat your heart out.
October 12, 1963
Texas 28 | Oklahoma 7
This second momentous clash occurred five years later. This time UT was ranked No. 2 and OU No. 1.
Running back Tommy Ford led Texas to a 14–0 halftime lead, and they never looked back, easily taking a 28–7 win on their way to their first ever national title while preventing Oklahoma from winning their fourth. Coach Royal was named UPI Coach of the Week and Scott Appleton was named AP Lineman of the Week for his 18 tackles. It was also a coming-out party for sophomore linebacker Tommy Nobis, who would later become the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft and a legendary player for the Atlanta Falcons.
Asked about 5'9" tailback Ford, Royal was quoted in Sports Illustrated magazine as saying, "If he didn't ram in there so hard, he might be six feet tall." So maybe not everything is big in Texas. But it's still excellent.
October 12, 1968
Texas 26 | Oklahoma 20
A five-year interval passed before the next truly memorable Red River Shootout in Dallas, at least from UT's perspective — and what other one is there? This one might be called "The Wishbone Game," because it was here that the new offense — which up until then had had only mixed success, with a 1–1–1 record — became the signature of Longhorns football (before OU copied it, of course).
Texas had put in the wishbone offense after three lackluster offensive seasons. Coach Royal put defensive coach Emory Bellard in charge of coming up with a new offense to surprise opponents. What he invented changed the game.
Both Royal and Bellard had been impressed by the option offense run by Texas A&M Coach Gene Stallings in the Aggies' bowl win over the Crimson Tide after the 1967 season. Bear Bryant himself would make the switch to the wishbone offense — with great success — just a few years later.
After an off-season of tinkering with the offense — sometimes using family members as stand-in players — Bellard came up with a plan. First of all, he would need a bigger family. And better medical insurance.
The wishbone offense made its first appearance in the season opener against Houston. Sportswriter Mickey Herskowitz took one look at the Y formation and said it looked like a wishbone. The name could have been worse — one reporter wanted to call it the "pulleybone." That reporter went on to obscurity.
In the wishbone formation, the quarterback basically makes quick, sometimes dangerous decisions about where the ball will go and who will get it on the fly. He can keep it himself, give it to the fullback, toss it to a tailback, fake it to one or both of them, fall down and cry, or throw it downfield. And with the defense concentrating most of their firepower trying to stop the running game, this strategy frees up the receivers to face only man-to-man coverage.
All this happens while the quarterback is running down the offensive line, looking to see how the defense is reacting. This may seem like a lot for a QB to think about in a split second, but imagine how confusing it was to someone trying to defend against it when it was brand spanking new. To defenses, it looked like an octopus with eight footballs. It was as if the Longhorns had taken 80 years of college football tradition and chucked it to the side like, well, like a wishbone quarterback tossing a football to a tailback. It was so revolutionary, Sam Houston would have loved it.
Texas, coming off a 31–3 wipeout of Okie State, entered the game against the Sooners looking to continue their new offense's success. But it was hit and miss for the first three quarters, and with just 2:37 left in the game, the Longhorns found themselves down 20–19 on their own 15-yard line. James Street stepped under center and immediately completed four straight passes, placing Texas at the Oklahoma 21 with only 55 seconds left.
That's when fullback Steve Worster took over the game. He ran 14 yards on the next play, then seven on the next for the winning touchdown. The wishbone had arrived, and Texas had beaten the Sooners 26–20.
The Longhorns would go on to win their next 28 games in a row, and 30 altogether.
Royal would run the wishbone offense until he retired in 1977, after two more national championships and six straight Cotton Bowl appearances. It would lead to a record of 80 wins, 19 losses, and two ties for the Longhorns under Royal since installing the wishbone. Bellard would later use it during his exile as head coach at A&M and Mississippi State, as well.
Coach Royal would describe it as an offense always running downhill at the defense, and the only way they could stop it was to come up and have one hell of a collision.
October 8, 1977
Texas 13 | Oklahoma 6
This game, when the No. 5 Longhorns faced the No. 2 Sooners, marked the end of a six-game winless streak against Oklahoma, and it was also the first season during which a Longhorn won a Heisman Trophy. The game got off to a horrible start for Texas when both starting quarterback Mark McBath and his replacement, John Aune, suffered season-ending injuries. In stepped junior Randy McEachern, who wasn't even listed in the UT media guide before the season.
But McEachern wasn't fazed, immediately driving the Longhorns 80 yards for a touchdown just before the half for a 10–3 Texas lead. (Russell Erxleben had kicked a 64-yard field goal for their first three points.)
Erxleben then hit a 58-yarder to put them up 13–6 with a little over eight minutes remaining. OU then began a 76-yard drive that stalled on the Texas 4-yard line when quarterback Thomas Lott was stopped on fourth down by All-Americans Johnnie Johnson and Brad Shearer. But the Longhorns could only gain two yards on their own possession, and Erxleben had to punt from his own end zone.
Russell came through again by belting a 69-yard punt that saved the day and a 13–6 Texas victory. Running back Earl Campbell helped build his Heisman-winning résumé with 124 yards rushing on 23 carries, including one on a 24-yard rumble for the Longhorns' only touchdown.
October 14, 1989
Texas 28 | Oklahoma 24
This time around the Longhorns were trying to end a streak of losses to the Sooners that stretched all the way back to '85.
The prospects of ending that skid didn't seem good in Cotton Bowl Stadium that day against the 15th-ranked Sooners. A halftime lead had evaporated, and suddenly Oklahoma was up 24–20 with 3:42 left.
What happened then was reminiscent of James Street's four completions with the game on the line in 1968. UT freshman quarterback Peter Gardere started at his own 34-yard line and completed four passes down to the OU 25 with a little over two minutes remaining. Gardere then hit Johnny Walker (what a great name) with a 25-yard missile for the winning touchdown and a 28–24 victory.
Wayne Clements added two field goals, Mical Padgett picked up a fumbled punt and ran 44 yards for another score, and Tony Jones also caught a touchdown pass.
Gardere would go on to become the first QB in Longhorns history to beat the Sooners four times. His photo could be found in post offices throughout Oklahoma after that performance.
October 13, 1990
Texas 14 | Oklahoma 13
For the second straight year, a fourth-quarter victory drive was the modus operandi of the Longhorns as UT faced No. 4 Oklahoma. (For you Sooners, modus operandi is a Latin phrase, but don't worry yourselves about it — y'all have enough trouble with English.)
Texas took over at its own 9-yard line with 7:12 remaining, having not made much of a dent in the OU defense throughout the game.
Freshman Butch Hadnot was the main cog in a 12-play drive that took UT down to the 16-yard line, where they faced a fourth-and-seven. Gardere was saved from a sack by a great block by halfback Phil Brown, which allowed him time to complete a 16-yard touchdown pass to Keith Cash. Clements then hit the extra point for the lead with two minutes to go.
But the Sooners didn't give up, driving all the way down to the Texas 29-yard line before R.D. Lashar missed a 46-yard field-goal attempt wide left. He was subsequently left off the team bus.
October 8, 1994
Texas 17 | Oklahoma 10
Redshirt freshman quarterback James Brown (gotta love a QB named after the Godfather of Soul) began an incredible career by going 17 of 22 for 148 passing yards and throwing a touchdown in this contest between 15th-ranked Texas and 16th-ranked Oklahoma. He also ran for 51 yards and a score. Brown would go on to become the all-time passing leader at UT.
Once again the game came down to the final drive, but this time it was OU driving.
The Longhorns were up 17–10 with 43 seconds left when the Sooners lined up for a fourth-and-goal play at Texas' 3-yard line. Oklahoma signal-caller Garrick McGee appeared to start an option play to the right, but then surprised everyone by instead handing off to running back James Allen, who headed left.
Allen sprinted for the corner of the end zone and seemed sure to score when suddenly he was confronted by linebacker Robert Reed. (Not the Robert Reed who played the father on The Brady Bunch.) Reed turned Allen back inside after sensing the play was coming his way, making the right decision to stand his ground. This allowed Longhorn nose guard Stonie Clark to hustle his 343-pound bulk over to stop Allen in his tracks, one foot short of the goal line, saving the game 17–10 for UT.
October 8, 2005
Texas 45 | Oklahoma 12
This was the 100th meeting of the two teams, with Texas coming in ranked second in the country. And they played like they deserved the ranking, thumping OU 45–12 and ending a five-game losing streak to the Sooners.
The 33-point margin tied the record for the largest against the Okies, and the 45 overall points were the most ever scored by UT against them. If you look in your Funk and Wagnall's under the phrase ass-kicking, you will find a description of this game.
The Longhorns had three scoring plays of over 60 yards, while slicing through the Oklahoma defense like a samurai sword through mayonnaise.
Quarterback Vince Young was 14-of-27 for 241 yards and three touchdowns. Jamaal Charles rushed for 116 yards, with 80 of them on one scoring play alone. Wide receiver Billy Pittman caught two touchdown passes, with one going for 64 yards.
The icing on the clobber cake came from defensive end Brian Robison, who smashed through the OU offensive line and knocked the ball loose from quarterback Rhett Bomar. Defensive tackle Rodrique Wright then scooped it up and raced 67 yards for the final score.
October 7, 2006
Texas 28 | Oklahoma 10
No. 14 Oklahoma came in looking for revenge and an upset of No. 7 Texas in this contest. Like most Okie endeavors — such as dental hygiene or high school — it ended up in a disappointing fashion.
UT was down 10–7 at the half, but rallied to score a touchdown on their first two drives of the second half for a 28–10 win.
All hope of a comeback for OU was thwarted as the Longhorns forced turnovers on all four of the Sooners' possessions in the fourth quarter. The ball was as slippery as a wet watermelon seed that day for the boys from Norman.
Colt McCoy was 11-of-18, passing for two touchdowns, with one to Limas Sweed and the other to Jordan Shipley.
The Oklahoma offense was a steamroller coming into the contest, averaging 38 points per game that season. The Texas defense put an end to that silliness. Aaron Ross had a day to remember in just the fourth quarter. He returned a fumble for a score, then intercepted passes on OU's last two drives. Safety Michael Griffin led the Longhorns with 11 tackles and a forced and recovered fumble.
October 11, 2008
Texas 45 | Oklahoma 35
Oklahoma came in ranked No. 1 this time around, but left feeling as if "number one" had been done on them.
No. 5 Texas was down by 11 points twice during the tilt before exploding on a 25–14 scoring splurge in the second half to pull out a 45–35 win.
It was the first time UT had beaten a top-ranked team during the regular season since 1963, when they ironically also upset an OU team, 28–7. The 45 points matched a series high for the Longhorns. Coming into the game, the Oklahoma defense had allowed only 256 total yards per game. Texas had 438 that day.
Wide receiver Shipley had a career day with 11 catches and 225 all-purpose yards. Not only did he catch a touchdown, he set a Red River Rivalry record with a 96-yard kickoff return for a score that cut into a 14–3 OU lead.
McCoy was 28-of-35 for 277 yards and a touchdown. Running back Chris Ogbonnaya rushed for 127 yards, including a career -long 62-yard scamper that helped set up the final of three Cody Johnson rushing scores.
Defensive end Brian Orakpo had two sacks, linebacker Roddrick Muckelroy led the team with 16 tackles, and freshman safety Earl Thomas picked off two passes.
October 17, 2009
Texas 16 | Oklahoma 13
This game was a close one between third-ranked Texas and 20 -ranked Oklahoma. UT pulled out a 16–13 victory for their fourth win in the two teams' last five meetings. OU had been averaging 35 points per game that season. They were also rushing for 188 yards per game. But as Lee Corso says, not so fast, my friend. The Longhorns' defense held them to –16 yards rushing, the lowest ever in the long history of the rivalry.
Texas caused more turnovers than a bakery that day, five in all. Safety Thomas had an interception to seal the win with 3:31 left. The Sooners' defense had held opponents to just 53 yards rushing per game that season, but UT came in with 142 that day.
McCoy joined Gardere and the iconic Bobby Layne as the only Texas quarterbacks to beat the Sooners at least three times. Despite an injured finger on his throwing hand, McCoy threw for 127 yards on 21 of 39 passing.
So endeth the list of Greatest Games in the Red River Shootout/Rivalry, so listed by the good folks in Austin. So far. Time to celebrate and go crack open a PBR. Or a Pearl.
TEXAS RECORDS AGAINST the SOONERS
* Rushing yards in a game by a RB: 223 — Ricky Williams (1997)
* Rushing yards in a game by a QB: 127 yards — Vince Young (2003)
* Longest run by a QB: 59 yards — Vince Young (2003)
* Longest pass play: 97 yards — Major Applewhite to Wane McGarity (1998)
* Longest field goal: 64 yards — Russell Erxleben (1977)
* Longest punt return for a TD: 95 yards — Bohn Hilliard (1932) — also the longest vs. any team
* Longest kickoff return for a TD: 100 yards — Foswhitt "Fozzy" Whittaker (2011) — tying the all-time record by Johnny "Lam" Jones, set in 1978 vs. SMU. The next week against Oklahoma State, Whittaker became the first Longhorn to return a kickoff for a TD in two consecutive games, this one also for 100 yards.
Excerpted from I Love Texas, I Hate Oklahoma by Pete Davis. Copyright © 2012 Pete Davis. 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.
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Table of Contents
Introduction: Why Texas vs. OU Is a Big Deal vii
1 We Love Licking the Sooners 1
2 We Love Licking Everyone Else, Too 18
3 Longhorns We Love 56
4 We Love Longhorns Coaches (Well, Most of Them) 81
5 We Love Texas Tradition 99
6 We Love Longhorns Lore 118
7 We Love Austin and All of Texas 123