As you consider a top ten list, we all have different criteria around what constitutes a top ten ranking. Does a great individual performance get into the top ten? Is it just an old-fashioned dominating performance in blowout fashion? Could it be a performance in a game that is a catalyst to an amazing season? Or, could it possibly be a combination of all three components in one? There will always be questions on why this game made your list or why this was listed so high. Let the debate ensue as we break down the bottom half of our top ten ranking of the most memorable games of the Red River Rivalry.
#10 Defense Saves Longhorn Perfect Season
I can sense the collective rolling of the eyes from Texas fans everywhere. This is one of the top ten games? But, when you look at how this impacted the rest of the season the Longhorn 16-13 victory in 2009 was very critical. Oklahoma came into the season very highly ranked, but had slipped up early partially due to the injury to Sam Bradford in the season opener. However, Texas was running on all cylinders coming in undefeated and ranked third in the country. It could be argued that Oklahoma outplayed Texas on this day. But, five turnovers forced by the Texas defense was enough.
This was a battle of field goals until Colt McCoy broke the tie midway through the third quarter with a touchdown pass to Marquise Goodwin. Oklahoma answered right back with a touchdown of their own to tie the score at 13. Texas kicked another field goal to take the lead 16-13. The Sooners had one last chance, but Earl Thomas saved the season as he intercepted Landry Jones to preserve victory. This led to an undefeated regular season for Texas.
#9 The “Belldozer”
There is an old adage in sports that says sometimes the game was closer than the score appeared. Unfortunately, for Texas in 2012 that couldn’t have been further from the case as the Sooners steamrolled the Longhorns 63-21. Oklahoma was clicking on all cylinders as they gained 677 total yards of offense in the win. Amongst those yards and touchdowns Blake Bell became the story. The Sooners utilized Bell frequently as a wildcat quarterback in short yardage situations in 2012. He used that to his full advantage as he carried the ball in 11 such occasions for 31 yards and four touchdowns. Until under five minutes left in the game, the only points that Texas scored were off of a blocked point after touchdown and a pick six by Carrington Byndom.
#8 Red River Rivalry Relief
Oklahoma has traditionally not fared well in this game as a substantial favorite in this series. That once again rang true in 2015 as Texas came up with a massive upset over the Sooners, 24-17. The Longhorns relied heavily on the running game as they carried the ball 58 times for 313 yards. Donta Foreman and Jerrod Heard both ran for over 100 yards in the contest. But, the final blow which put Texas up by two touchdowns would be through the air as Tyrone Swoopes through a touchdown pass in the early moments of the fourth quarter. Comparatively, Oklahoma could not get anything going on the ground as they ran for a total of 67 yards on the day.
#7 The Crimson Crush
The Sooners used suffocating defense to defeat Texas 14-7 in 1985. In a game where offense was at a premium, Oklahoma turned into what Barry Switzer coined as the greatest defensive performance in 20 years in Norman. This would turn into a game of redemption for the Sooners who felt like they lost in the tie a year earlier. The Sooner defense held Texas to four first downs and 70 total yards in the game. This might not have been the most dominating performance of the series, but this paved the way for national championship number six for the Sooner program.
#6 Gardere: The Sooner Villain
In 1990, it appeared these were programs going in opposite directions. Texas coming off of a 5-6 season the year before was 2-1 and heading into the game unranked. Oklahoma was coming into its own in the second season under Gary Gibbs. The Sooners were undefeated and ranked number four in the country. The name Peter Gardere still strikes fear into Sooner fans everywhere. He broke the heart of Oklahomans everywhere through the 90’s as the Texas starting quarterback.
Oklahoma had outplayed Texas for nearly the entire game, especially defensively. The Longhorns had just narrowly eclipsed 100 yards of total offense the entire game and needed 91 yards with seven minutes to play down 13-7 in the game. Mixing the run and the pass, Gardere guided the Longhorns to the Sooner 16 yard line with just two minutes to play. Texas was faced with their biggest challenge of the drive with a fourth down and seven. Gardere found tight end Keith Cash in the back of the end zone for the go-ahead score.