Six Best Red River Rivalry Wins in Sooners’ Stoops Era


It’s been labeled many things -Red River Rivalry, Red River Shootout, Red River Showdown – but, as they say, a rose by any other name is still a rose.

You can create all the marketing taglines and advance hype you want to build up this longtime rivalry game, but none of it is really necessary because both the players and the fans are able to get up for this game no matter what.

An entire season can be made or lost, whether your battle colors are burnt orange or crimson, depending on the outcome Oklahoma vs. Texas. For a number of years, the winner of this game was considered the prohibitive favorite to win the Big 12 championship.

Oct 11, 2014; Dallas, TX, USA; Texas Longhorns wide receiver John Harris (9) fights for a pass against Oklahoma Sooners cornerback Zack Sanchez (15) in the first quarterat the Cotton Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

In Bob Stoops 16 seasons as head coach of the Sooners, his Oklahoma teams have beaten Texas 10 times, including five straight years between 2000 and 2004.

An Oklahoma victory on Saturday at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas in the 110th meeting between these two storied college football programs would be the Sooners fifth in their last six games against the Longhorns and their sixth in the previous nine Red River Showdowns.

Anyone who has been to an OU-Texas game knows that this is a huge week in the Dallas area and perhaps the biggest weekend at the Texas State Fair, which is going on every year and is also the location of the Cotton Bowl, where the game has been played since 1932.

In those 83 years the game has been played at the Cotton Bowl, Texas owns a seven-win advantage, with 43 wins to the Sooners’ 36 victories, and there have been four ties over that time.

That got me thinking: How did Bud Wilkinson do against Texas? Barry Switzer? At the time those two legendary OU coaches played the annual rivalry game with Texas, the Longhorns were members of the Southwest Conference.

Among OU’s three winningest football coaches, Stoops owns the best record against the Sooners’ hated rivals to the south. Under Wilkinson, the Sooners went 9-8 against Texas, including suffering six consecutive losses in Wilkinson’s final six seasons in Norman (1958-63). Switzer’s Oklahoma teams compiled a record of 9-5-2 against the Longhorns.

Of Bob Stoops’ 10 wins over Texas, here are his six best wins as the Oklahoma head coach:

6. October 6, 2007 – Oklahoma 28, Texas 21

Oklahoma had lost the previous two games against Texas. This contest featured two young quarterbacks on both sides (Sam Bradford for Oklahoma and Colt McCoy for Texas). The 10th-ranked Sooners went up 7-0 in the first quarter, with Bradford capping an 84-yard scoring drive with a short 1-yard touchdown pass to Jermaine Gresham. The 19th-ranked Longhorns scored 14 second-quarter points as the two teams went to halftime with the score tied at 14 apiece. Freshman running back DeMarco Murray showed his speed on a 64-yard touchdown scamper in the third quarter to put the Sooners up by seven at 21-14. Texas knotted things up at 21 early in the final quarter on a 1-yard touchdown by Vondrell McGee, but four minutes later, Malcolm Kelly caught a 35-yard TD pass from Bradford, which proved to be the winning margin of victory

5. October 13, 2012 – Oklahoma 63, Texas 21

This battle of top-25 teams (OU No. 13 and Texas No. 15) turned out to be the second largest margin of victory in the 15 Red River games coached between Bob Stoops and Mack Brown of Texas. The Sooners scored first on an 8-yard touchdown run by Blake Bell and were never headed from there. The score at halftime was 36-2 in favor of Oklahoma, with the Longhorns’ lone score of the first half coming on a point-after attempt by OU that was blocked and returned by Texas for a 2-point conversion. Sooner quarterback Landry Jones threw for 321 yards and two touchdowns and Damien Williams exploded for 167 rushing yards in the game. OU expanded its lead to 46-8 after three quarters and cruised home from there. The Sooners rolled 677 yards of total offense in the game, while holding Texas to just 289 yards of offense.

4. October 6, 2001 – Oklahoma 14, Texas 3

Coming off their national championship season in 2000, the Sooners entered their annual rivalry game with Texas as the No. 3 team in the nation, with Texas just two spots back at No. 5. The Longhorns entered the game averaging 45 points a game with the country’s fourth highest-scoring offense. This may have been the best all-around defensive game in the 16 that Bob Stoops has coached against the Longhorns. Oklahoma opened up the scoring on a second-quarter touchdown run by Quentin Griffin and led the Longhorns by the narrow margin of 7-3 at the half. Sophomore quarterback Jason White replaced starter Nate Hybl, who was injured in the second quarter and engineered the Sooner first-half scoring drive. With the Sooners holding on to a slim 7-3 advantage and just over two minutes remaining in the game, a punt exchange backed up Texas to its own 2-yard line. On a 1st-and-10 play from its own 2, Longhorn quarterback Chris Simms attempted a pass from his end zone that was batted down by OU All-American safety Roy Williams and into the hands of OU linebacker Teddy Lehman, who stepped into the end zone with a Sooner TD that put the game away and left the 40,000-plus burnt-orange clad Texas fans stunned and silent.

3. October 9, 2004 – Oklahoma 12, Texas 0

This was a matchup of top-five teams (No. 2 OU vs. the No. 5 Longhorns). Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Jason White was at the controls for Oklahoma. His counterpart on the Texas side was Vince Young. White did not have a particularly good day throwing the football, completing just 13 of 27 passes for 113 yards with two interceptions. Young had an even worse day passing for the Longhorns, completing only 8 of 23 for a paltry 86 yards. There were only three points scored in the first two quarters (Oklahoma’s Trey DiCarlo kicked a 22-yard field goal). DiCarlo connected from 26 yards out to give the Sooners a 6-0 lead after three quarters. The Sooners had 414 yards of total offense in the game, but couldn’t seem to punch the ball into the end zone. Oklahoma scored its lone touchdown in the game on a 6-yard run by Kejuan Jones in the final quarter. This was the first time either team had recorded a shutout in the series since the 1972 season. In 109-game history of the OU-Texas rivalry, Oklahoma has been shutout 10 times; Texas 9 times.

2. October 12, 2002 – Oklahoma 35, Texas 24

The two teams came into this game ranked No. 2 (Oklahoma) and No. 3 (Texas) in the country. The last time Oklahoma and Texas were ranked this high when they played was all the way back in 1963, Bud Wilkinson’s final season on the Sooner sidelines. That season, the Sooners and Longhorns were No. 1 and No. 2, respectively. OU fell behind early in the 2002 game, but thanks to an 81-yard kickoff return by Antwone Savage that set up the Sooners inside the Texas 20-yard line with 1:30 left in the first half, Oklahoma was able to push it in for a touchdown on a 3-yard scoring pass from Nate Hybl to Trent Smith with just 5 ticks remaining in the half and cut the Longhorn halftime advantage to three points at 14-11. Field goals by both teams kept the Texas lead at three points after three quarters. In the fourth quarter, though, everything turned in OU’s favor. Quentin Griffin scored on touchdown runs of 2 and 17 yards, and Kejuan Jones added a 2-yard TD run of his own, and just like that, the score went from 17-14 in favor of Texas to a 35-17 Oklahoma advantage. A remarkable turnaround for the Sooners in a game that started out looking like a potential Texas rout.

1. October 7, 2000 – Oklahoma 63, Texas 14

The Sooners came into the 95th renewal of the historic OU-Texas rivalry ranked 1oth (up from 19th to begin the season) against the 11th-ranked Longhorns. It was Bob Stoops’ second season as the Sooners’ head coach. OU had lost to Texas 38-28 the year before. The 2000 game got out of hand very fast, with Oklahoma registering the first six scores in the game, all touchdowns, to take a commanding 42-7 lead after the first 30 minutes. OU widened its lead to 56-7 at the end of three quarters on the way to a 63-14 blowout of the Longhorns. The Sooners, led by senior quarterback Josh Heupel and running back Quentin Griffin, who had a career-best six rushing touchdowns, displayed great offensive balance in rolling up 534 yards of total offense (289 passing and 245 rushing). Two games later, with a 31-14 victory over then-No. 1 Nebraska, Oklahoma took over the top spot in the rankings and went on to complete a perfect 13-0 season and earn its seventh national championship in football.