One of the biggest sporting events of the year should be taking place now. However, due to concerns about the COVID-19 virus, our sports have been canceled for the foreseeable future. With the college football spring also on pause, we wanted to put those together for our Oklahoma Sooners greatest games tournament. The matchups are broken up into more of a like for like comparison games in our four regions. Today, we break down our first-round games with the results.
Bud Wilkinson Region
(1) 1971 Nebraska 35 Oklahoma 31 vs (16) 1947 Oklahoma 27 Kansas State 13
For our first matchup, we have the best game that the Sooners lost in the field. However, no matter the result many believe this is still the best football game ever played. 1947 was Bud Wilkinson’s first season in Norman and would also mark the largest number of points that Kansas State would score against a Wilkinson coached team.
Winner: 1971 Nebraska 35 Oklahoma 31
(8) 1968 Oklahoma 26 Tennessee 24 vs (9) 1956 Oklahoma 20 Maryland 6
In 1968, the Sooners survived a furious rally by Tennessee in the second half as the Volunteers missed a field goal in the last few seconds. This was Chuck Fairbanks’ first postseason appearance for Oklahoma. Comparatively, The 1956 Orange Bowl was a battle of unbeaten with number one Oklahoma facing number three Maryland. Oklahoma scored 20 consecutive points to get the win and the national championship.
Winner: 1968 Oklahoma 26 Tennessee 24
(4) 1976 Oklahoma 14 Michigan 6 vs (13) 1951 Kentucky 13 Oklahoma 7
Oklahoma dominated the 1976 Orange Bowl defensively winning the game 14-6. The victory also secured a national title for the Sooners. Now, in 1950 the Sooners were rolling with a 31-game winning streak. However, the top-ranked Sooners would be upset in the Orange Bowl by the Kentucky Wildcats.
Winner: 1976 Oklahoma 14 Michigan 6
(5) 1976 Oklahoma 20, Nebraska 17 vs (12) 1973 Oklahoma 24, Miami, Fl 20
Oklahoma entered the annual game against Nebraska ranked eighth in the country. The Sooners overcame a 17-7 deficit with 13 consecutive points in the fourth quarter to secure the win. Miami had their way with the Sooners in the 80s. However, the 70s were a different story here as Oklahoma won the contest 24-20.
Winner: 1976 Oklahoma 20 Nebraska 17
(2) 1975 Oklahoma 28 Missouri 27 vs (15) 1956 Oklahoma 53 Oklahoma A&M 0
In 1975, Joe Washington saved the Sooners from disaster with a 71-yard touchdown run and a two-point conversion for the 28-27 triumph. Oklahoma had a dominating 1956 season that included six shutouts in 10 games. That was concluded with a dominant 53-0 drubbing of Oklahoma A&M.
Winner: 1975 Oklahoma 28 Missouri 27
(7) 1974 Oklahoma 28 Nebraska 14 vs (10) 1972 Oklahoma 14 Penn State 0
In 1974, the Sooners again completed a come from behind victory in Lincoln against Nebraska. Oklahoma rushed for nearly 500 yards in scoring the last 21 points of the game. In 1972, Oklahoma found it’s way to the Sugar Bowl for the second straight season. This year, they dominated Penn State 14-0. Oklahoma outgained the Nittany Lions 543 to 196 yards.
Winner: 1974 Oklahoma 28 Nebraska 14
(3) 1972 Oklahoma 17 Nebraska 14 vs (14) 1953 Oklahoma 19 Texas 14
Oklahoma enacted some revenge in the 1972 season with a 17-14 win over the Cornhuskers. The Sooners forced three interceptions en route to a comeback win. In 1953, Oklahoma dominated the early going against Texas getting up by 19-0 at one point. However, the Sooners had to hold on to a hard-fought 19-14 decision.
Winner: 1972 Oklahoma 17 Nebraska 14
(6) 1975 Oklahoma 46 Pittsburgh 10 vs (11) 1971 Oklahoma 75 Kansas State 28
Oklahoma pulled out one of the best defensive performances in program history against Pittsburgh. The Sooners held Hall of Fame running back Tony Dorsett to just 17 yards as Oklahoma cruised to a 46-10 victory. The 1971 Sooner team was an offensive juggernaut. And, Kansas State was still a struggling program. The Sooners throttled the Wildcats by 47 points.
Winner: 1976 Oklahoma 46 Pitt 10
Barry Switzer Region
(1) 1987 Oklahoma 17 Nebraska 7 vs (16) 1997 Oklahoma 36, Syracuse 34
The 1987 Oklahoma vs Nebraska game was billed as the Game of the Century 2. However, Oklahoma would dominate this game from beginning to end under the direction of Charles Thompson at quarterback. 10 years later in 1997, Oklahoma was in the midst of one of the weakest points of the program. However, DeMond Parker ran for over 200 yards and Oklahoma blocked a last-second field goal from Syracuse for the win.
Winner: 1987 Oklahoma 17 Pitt 7
(8) 1980 Oklahoma 82 Colorado 42 vs (9) 1981 Oklahoma 18 Florida State 17
Oklahoma set school and national records against Missouri. The Sooners scored 82 points and had 870 total yards from scrimmage in the dominating performance. Comparatively, Oklahoma proved it could win a close game in the Orange Bowl that season. The Sooners overcame five turnovers to win the game that was capped by a late J.C. Watts two-point conversion to get the win.
Winner: 1981 Oklahoma 18 Pitt 17
(4) 1979 Oklahoma 31 Nebraska 24 vs (13) 1991 Oklahoma 48 Virginia 14
Oklahoma got some payback in the 1979 Orange Bowl against Nebraska. In the earlier meeting, the Sooners fumbled six times in the 17-14 loss. However, this time around the Sooners dominated the game and led 31-10 before two late touchdowns by Nebraska. In the 1991 Gator Bowl, Oklahoma turned in one of the best bowl performances of the 90s. Cale Gundy was named MVP in the 48-14 romp.
Winner: 1979 Oklahoma 31 Nebraska 24
(5) 1988 Oklahoma 31 Oklahoma State 28 vs (12) 1993 Oklahoma 38 Texas 17
This was the Barry Sanders vs Mike Gaddis show. However, it was a dropped pass in the end zone by Oklahoma State that gave the Sooners the 31-28 win. Conversely, Oklahoma struggled immensely against their other rival in Texas in the ’90s. But, this would be Gary Gibbs only win against the Longhorns as the Sooners dominated in a 21-point victory.
Winner: 1988 Oklahoma 31 Oklahoma State 28
(2) 1977 Oklahoma 29 Ohio State 28 vs (15) 1990 Oklahoma 45 Nebraska 10
Barry Switzer often said that if Billy Sims and Thomas Lott wouldn’t have been injured in this game they would have hung “half a hundred” on the Buckeyes. Be that as it may, Uwe Von Schamann had the biggest kick in program history to beat Ohio State. Much like the previous game, Oklahoma struggled against Nebraska in the 90s. But, they got a dominating win over the Cornhuskers in Norman in 1990.
Winner: 1977 Oklahoma 29 Ohio State 28
(7) 1984 Oklahoma 17 Nebraska 7 vs (10) 1986 Oklahoma 25 Penn State 10
In 1984, Nebraska truly outplayed the Sooners in the contest. However, Oklahoma outscored the Cornhuskers by 10 in the second half and held Nebraska out of the end zone with two goalline stands. Tim Lashar kicked three field goals. Brian Bosworth had 12 tackles. And, Lydell Carr scored on a touchdown run as the Sooners beat Penn State and won the national championship.
Winner: 1986 Oklahoma 25 Penn State 10
(3) 1979 Oklahoma 17 Nebraska 14 vs (14) 1994 Oklahoma 30 Syracuse 29
The Sooners beat Nebraska for the second time in 1979 by a score of 17-14. For Oklahoma, Sims had gained 247 yards against a defense that had been giving up 67.2 per game for the season. Meanwhile, in 1994 Oklahoma played a tale of two halves against Syracuse. Oklahoma went up 24-0 at halftime. But, they had to hold on with a field goal by Scott Blanton for the 30-29 win.
Winner: 1979 Oklahoma 17 Nebraska 14
(6) 1986 Oklahoma 20 Nebraska 17 vs (11) 1993 Oklahoma 44 Texas A&M 14
Sooner Magic was in full effect for Oklahoma’s matchup with Nebraska in 1986. Oklahoma trailed 17-10 and then the Jamelle Holieway and Keith Jackson show began. Holieway hit Jackson for a touchdown to tie the game. And, he again connected with Jackson to put the Sooners in position for the 20-17 win. Now, the Aggies came into Norman as one of the best teams in 1993 behind their wrecking crew defense. But, the Sooners would have none of that as they put 44 points on the board in defeating the fifth-ranked Aggies.
Winner: 1986 Oklahoma 20 Nebraska 17
Bob Stoops Region
(1) 2000 Oklahoma 31 Nebraska 14 vs (16) 1998 Oklahoma 10 TCU 9
The 2000 game between Oklahoma and Nebraska marked the resurgence of the Sooners program. After falling behind early 14-0, the Sooners stifled the Cornhusker offensive attack and Oklahoma was back to number one in the country. Conversely, in 1998, John Blake was squarely on the hot seat. And, it wasn’t looking good early on in the season. But, a 10-9 victory over TCU and a 2-0 start were promising. Patrick Fletcher threw a late interception. But, Jason Freeman stripped the ball loose which gave the Sooner the opportunity for the field goal and one-point victory.
Winner: 2000 Oklahoma 31 Nebraska 14
(8) 2000 Oklahoma 41 Kansas State 31 vs (9) 2004 Oklahoma 42 Texas A&M 35
Without the win against Kansas State, the Nebraska game wouldn’t have meant as much. The Sooners dominated early and often and led the game 38-14 at one point. The Wildcats made a furious rally, but Josh Heupel led a late drive that sealed the Sooner win. In 2004, Oklahoma had another one of those games with Texas A&M in Kyle Field. However, a late touchdown pass from Jason White to Mark Bradley to give the Sooners the win.
Winner: 2000 Oklahoma 41 Kansas State 31
(4) 2000 Oklahoma 35 Texas A&M 31 vs (13) 2005 Oklahoma 17 Oregon 14
This was the most challenging game for the Sooners in 2000. Oklahoma was down by 11 points on multiple occasions in the game but completed a rally to cut the lead to three. Torrance Marshall had a late interception that he returned for a touchdown to secure the win. In 2005, Oklahoma was in a bit of a rebuilding season. But, they had weathered the storm and playing well at the right time. The Sooners came up with a stellar defensive performance against Oregon in the Holiday Bowl which was punctuated by a Clint Ingram interception to win the game.
Winner: 2000 Oklahoma 35 Texas A&M 31
(5) 2002 Oklahoma 37 Alabama 27 vs (12) 2004 Oklahoma 12 Texas 0
In 2002, Alabama was in rebuilding mode. But, they came to Norman to play. Oklahoma found themselves down late but got two long shovel pass receptions to Renaldo Works and a short touchdown run by Kejuan Jones to take the lead for good. The 2004 edition of the Red River Rivalry was the coming-out party for Adrian Peterson. Peterson ran for over 200 yards in the game as the offense did just enough to support the defense who shut out the Vince Young led Longhorns.
Winner: 2004 Oklahoma 12 Texas 0
(2) 2001 Oklahoma 13 Florida State 2 vs (15) 2003 Oklahoma 77 Texas A&M 0
The biggest postseason win for the Sooners came in the 2001 Orange Bowl as Oklahoma won its seventh national championship. Quentin Griffin scored the only touchdown in the game and the defense shut down the prolific Seminole offense. In 2003, Oklahoma had one of its best offenses in school history. And, that was in display in the 77-0 romp of Texas A&M. The Sooners built the 77 point margin midway through the third quarter in a game where the Sooner could have easily won by 100 points if they wanted to.
Winner: 2001 Oklahoma 13 Florida State 2
(7) 2001 Oklahoma 38 Kansas State 37 vs (10) 2001 Oklahoma 14 Texas 3
Oklahoma got two long touchdown passes from Nate Hybl to Antwone Savage and sandwiched in a fake field goal touchdown score as well. But, the Sooners had to hold on for dear life to overcome a wonderful performance from Ell Roberson and the Wildcats. And, as luck would have it in this matchup there is only one week between the games. The Superman game has one of the best individual plays in the history of the Red River Rivalry as Roy Williams helped secure a 14-3 win over the Longhorns.
Winner: 2001 Oklahoma 14 Texas 3
(3) 1996 Oklahoma 30 Texas 27 vs (14) 2007 Oklahoma 28 Texas 21
The 1996 game was one of the most improbable wins in the Red River Rivalry. The Sooners were nearly a four-touchdown underdog in the game. However, a late punt return touchdown from Jarrail Jackson and a game-clinching touchdown run won the game for the Sooners. Comparatively, in 2007 Oklahoma had another tough game against the Longhorns. This would be the first of three games between Sam Bradford and Colt McCoy. The Sooners would get the edge in this one with a long touchdown run by Demarco Murray.
Winner: 2007 Oklahoma 28 Texas 21
(6) 2000 Oklahoma 63 Texas 14 vs (11) 2003 Oklahoma 65 Texas 13
This matchup is the battle of the blowouts with nearly identical scores. In the 2000 version, Griffin scored six touchdowns on the ground and Rocky Calmus took an interception back for a touchdown. In 2003, Oklahoma was dominant on the offensive side of the ball as White and Mark Clayton picked apart the Longhorn defense.
Winner: 2000 Oklahoma 63 Texas 14
Lincoln Riley Region
(1) 2014 Oklahoma 45 Alabama 31 vs (16) 2012 Oklahoma 50 West Virginia 49
The Sooners had a red hot ending to the 2013 regular season that continued into the 2014 Sugar Bowl. Trevor Knight had his best game in a Sooner uniform and the defense got a strip-sack and return for a touchdown against an extremely talented Alabama team. Landry Jones had his best game as a Sooner with 554 yards passing and six touchdowns. And, Oklahoma was able to withstand 344 yards rushing from Tavon Austin for the one-point win.
Winner: 2014 Oklahoma 45 Alabama 31
(8) 2013 Oklahoma 35 Notre Dame 21 vs (9) 2012 Oklahoma 51 Oklahoma St. 48
The Sooners got some much-needed revenge against the Fighting Irish in 2013. Oklahoma got off to a quick 14-0 lead early in the first quarter. However, with Notre Dame coming back Blake Bell hit Sterling Shepard to give the Sooners the win. Bell was again very impactful in 2012 in the Belldozer package against Oklahoma State. And, Brennan Clay scored a touchdown in overtime to give the Sooners the Bedlam victory.
Winner: 2012 Oklahoma 51 Oklahoma State 48
(4) 2019 Oklahoma 34 Baylor 31 vs (13) 2008 Oklahoma 65 Texas Tech 21
The Sooners pulled off some Soone Magic in Waco this year. The upstart Bears were dominating the Sooners 28-3 in the second quarter. However, the Sooners got four touchdown passes from Jalen Hurts and Gabe Brkic kicked a game-winning field goal with 1:45 to go for the 34-31 win. Conversely, in what many call the most electric atmosphere ever on Owen Field Oklahoma dominated Texas Tech in 2008. Bradford and Murray were sensational as the Sooners got back into the national title picture with a 65-21 win.
Winner: 2019 Oklahoma 34 Baylor 31
(5) 2017 Oklahoma 31 Ohio State 16 vs (12) 2007 Oklahoma 38 Missouri 17
In 2017, Oklahoma pulled off one of their most impressive road wins of the decade. The Sooners led by Baker Mayfield and Trey Sermon took a low scoring first half and built a double-digit lead in the second half in Oklahoma’s plant the flag game. Conversely, in 2007 the Sooners were in the role of playing the spoiler. It was the Missouri Tigers that were ranked number one and poised for a shot at the national championship with a win. However, the Sooners dominated Chase Daniels and the Tigers.
Winner: 2017 Oklahoma 31 Ohio State 16
(2) 2015 Oklahoma 31 Tennessee 24 vs (15) 2015 Oklahoma 58 Oklahoma St. 23
In another edition of Sooner Magic, Oklahoma won a game that it really had no business winning. The Sooners were in Lincoln Riley’s first year as offensive coordinator and were struggling to get going. Oklahoma was down by 14 points in the fourth quarter. But, Mayfield hit Samaje Perine and Shepard to tie the game and ran for a score in overtime in the win. In 2015, Oklahoma had its last obstacle before a playoff berth. And, it proved to be no obstacle as the Sooners crushed the Cowboys by a score of 58-23.
Winner: 2015 Oklahoma 31 Tennessee 24
(7) 2015 Oklahoma 30 TCU 29 vs (10) 2011 Oklahoma 23 Florida State 13
The 2015 Oklahoma game against TCU turned into a game that Oklahoma had well under control to one they had to hold onto in order to win. Mayfield got knocked out of the game with a concussion and Knight was ineffective. A pass deflection on a two-point conversion by Steven Parker saved the Sooner season. Likewise in 2011, the Sooners needed some late-game heroics. Oklahoma found themselves tied with Florida State late until a long touchdown pass from Jones to Kenny Stills gave Oklahoma the win.
Winner: 2015 Oklahoma 30 TCU 29
(3) 2013 Oklahoma 33 Oklahoma St. 24 vs (14) 2015 Oklahoma 44 Baylor 34
Without this Bedlam win in 2013, there would be no Sugar Bowl win against Alabama. Jalen Saunders kept Oklahoma close in the first half with a punt return touchdown. Oklahoma scored on a fake field goal and Bell hit Saunders for a game-winning touchdown with 19 seconds left to preserve the win. In 2015, the first obstacle in the late-season win streak was against the Bears. The Sooners took control late with a Mayfield touchdown pass to Dimitri Flowers. An interception by Ahmad Thomas would seal the victory for the Sooners.
Winner: 2015 Oklahoma 44 Baylor 34
(6) 2016 Oklahoma 66 Texas Tech 59 vs (11) 2010 Oklahoma 23 Nebraska 20
Many will hate this game being selected here due to the lack of defense being played. However, the offensive performance cannot be ignored. Mayfield threw for 545 yards and seven touchdowns. Joe Mixon ran for 263 yards and two touchdowns. And, Dede Westbrook had nine receptions for 202 yards and a touchdown in the 66-59 win. The 2010 Big 12 Championship Game was the last game between Oklahoma and Nebraska as conference members. Nebraska got off to an early 17-0 lead. However, the Sooners offensive attack got going in the second half and the defense was dominant as Oklahoma secured yet another close win against the Cornhuskers.
Winner: 2010 Oklahoma 23 Nebraska 20