Five Sooner Football Losses that Will Forever Haunt Oklahoma Fans


Oklahoma Sooners football has been going on now for 121 continuous years, dating all the way back to 1895. The Sooners lost the only game they played in their inaugural season, 34-0 to the Oklahoma City town team. OU did not lose another game until the final game of the 1899 season.

Out of 1,227 games in OU football history, the Sooners have come out on top 70 percent of the time (856 total wins), the fifth best winning percentage all-time in college football.

Even the best of teams lose every once in a while, though, and the Sooners have been on that end of the score 318 times in their history.

Not all losses, like not all wins, are equal. Here are five heart-ripping OU football defeats that were like a giant punch to the stomach when they occurred and will forever haunt Sooner fans:

November 16, 1957 – Notre Dame 7, Oklahoma 0

Oct 10, 2015; Dallas, TX, USA; Texas Longhorns student holds up horns in front of a Oklahoma Sooners flag prior to the Red River rivalry at Cotton Bowl Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

This was the game that ended the longest winning streak in college football (even to this day) at 47 games. Bud Wilkinson’s Oklahoma Sooners had not been beaten since the first game of the 1953 season – over four years – against who else? Notre Dame, by a score of 28-21. OU entered the game in 1957 as the No. 2 team in the country, despite its record winning streak. The Sooners had beaten the Fighting Irish 40-0 in South Bend just the year before and were the heavy favorites at home to make Notre Dame their 48th straight football victim. Only, the Fighting Irish had other ideas.

The game remained scoreless entering the fourth quarter, and by that time the OU fans were beginning to get a little nervous about how things were going to turn out. It wasn’t long after that that they found out. Notre Dame ground out a 20-play, 80-yard drive that ended with Dick Lynch taking a pitch from quarterback Bob Williams and taking it the final few yards for a touchdown . That turned out to be the lone score in the game as the Fighting Irish stunned the Sooner Nation by shutting out their beloved Crimson and Cream and ruining what would have been a fourth straight undefeated season. Click here to view highlights from this memorable game in Sooner football history.

October 14, 1967 – Texas 9, Oklahoma 7

Oct 10, 2015; Dallas, TX, USA; Oklahoma Sooners fan Mark Robinson waits outside of the stadium before the game against the Texas Longhorns at the Red River rivalry at Cotton Bowl Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

This was Chuck Fairbanks’ first season as the OU head coach and his first Red River rivalry game with the Texas Longhorns. His coaching counterpart on the Texas side was none other than former Oklahoma quarterback Darrell Royal. The Sooners drew first blood early in the opening quarter on a two-yard touchdown run by tailback Ron Shotts, giving OU a quick 7-0 lead. That is the way things stood through the first half. The Longhorns cut the Sooner lead in half with a 35-yard field goal by Bob Layne in the third quarter. Late in the third, Texas mounted a 10-play, 84-yard scoring drive, capped off by a 7-yard touchdown run by quarterback Bill Bradley in the opening seconds of the fourth quarter. The Longhorns held on to beat the Sooners 9-7, giving Texas its ninth victory in the previous 10 games against Oklahoma.

Although it was not that apparent at the time, this loss would be the only one the Sooners would incur in the 1967 season. Otherwise Oklahoma might have been in contention for its fourth national title and finished the season undefeated. Instead, the Sooners defeated Tennessee in the Orange Bowl and ended the season ranked No. 3 in the nation.

November 8, 1975 – Kansas 23, Oklahoma 3

The 1975 Oklahoma Sooners won a second straight national championship with an 11-1 record. That one loss was to a Kansas team quarterbacked by Nolan Cromwell, who ran a Sooner-like option attack that Oklahoma was unable to curtail when the two teams squared off that afternoon at OU. Barry Switzer’s team turned the ball over eight times in the game, and the Jayhawks made the Sooners pay dearly for those miscues. Oklahoma did not score after taking a 3-0 lead in the first quarter. Kansas took a 7-3 lead into halftime and outscored the No. 2-ranked Sooners 16-0 in the second half for a 23-3 victory and seemingly curtailing OU’s national championship hopes. The Sooners rebounded, however, defeating No. 18 Missouri and No. 2 Nebraska the following two weekends. And with a 14-6 victory over No. 5 Michigan in the Orange Bowl, Oklahoma was awarded the No. 1 ranking in both the AP and the Coaches polls.

December 6, 2003 – Kansas State 35, Oklahoma 7

Oct 24, 2015; Norman, OK, USA; The Oklahoma Sooners take the field prior to action against the Texas Tech Red Raiders at Gaylord Family – Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Oklahoma began the 2003 season ranked No. 1 in the preseason polls and the Sooners remained in the top spot after reeling  off 12 consecutive regular-season wins. Now they were set to take on the champions of the Big 12’s North Division, the Kansas State Wildcats, in the Big 12 Championship game. The Sooners had beaten Bill Snyder’s K-State team twice in the 2000 season to capture its first Big 12 championship. Kansas State came into the conference championship game with a 10-3 overall record (6-2 in the conference) and ranked 13th in the country. The Wildcats were a high-scoring team led by the nation’s rushing leader, Darren Sproles. Even then, Oklahoma, led by Heisman Trophy-winner Jason White at quarterback were a big favorite to take the conference crown that season and play for the BCS national championship as the wire-to-wire top-ranked team. There was even talk that season that this could be the greatest Oklahoma football team ever.

The Big 12 Championship began with Oklahoma scoring on its first possession. Kejuan Jones broke off a 42-yard touchdown run to give the Sooners an early 7-0 lead. To the surprise of everyone at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City that chilly December evening and those viewing the proceedings on national TV, that would be OU’s only points of the night. Kansas State took complete control of the game from there, reeling off 35 unanswered points behind a sensational performance by Sproles, who burned the Sooner defense for 235 yards rushing and 88 more on three pass receptions.

K-State won the game 35-7 and took home the Big 12 football crown that season. Despite the stunning blowout loss, Oklahoma fell just one spot in the final BCS rankings, from No. 1 to No. 2, and, amid much controversy, still played for the 2003 national championship, losing to LSU.

January 4, 2005 – USC 55, Oklahoma 19

One season after losing to Kansas State in the Big 12 Championship and to LSU in the BCS National Championship game, Oklahoma roared back with another perfect regular season at 12-0 and ended regular campaign ranked 2nd in the country, a spot the Sooners had held onto the entire season.  After steamrolling over Colorado 42-3 in the Big 12 title game, OU was off to Miami for its second consecutive appearance, and third in five seasons, in the BCS National Championship game. This time the opponent was No. 1 USC. Everyone expected this to be a high-scoring but closely contested game. It was, indeed, high scoring, but only for USC. For the Sooners, it was a total embarrassment and painful to watch; one of the biggest you-know-what kickings in the long history of Oklahoma football and the worst under Bob Stoops. The Sooners struck first, marching 92 yards on their opening possession to take a 7-0 lead. After that, other than a field goal by the Sooners, USC scored the next 55 points. If it weren’t for nine meaningless points tacked on very late in the game, the result would have been much worse than the 55-19 final score.

There is no other way to paint this one, other than to admit it was an ugly, ugly loss. Oklahoma has only made it back to the national title game once since then – in the 2008 season, paired up against Florida and Tim Tebow.