Oklahoma Football: 30 Best Games in School History

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Oct 10, 2015; Dallas, TX, USA; Oklahoma Sooners marching band members performs prior to the game against the Texas Longhorns during Red River rivalry at Cotton Bowl Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Jan. 1, 1951 – Oklahoma 13, Kentucky 7

This was a classic matchup in the 1951 Sugar Bowl (played at Tulane Stadium) between Bud Wilkinson’s Oklahoma Sooners, champions of the Big Seven Conference and ranked No. 1 that season in the Associated Press Top 25, and No. 7 Kentucky, champions of the Southeastern Conference and coached by the late, great Bear Bryant.

The Sooners came into this game riding a 31-game winning streak (note that this was several years before their record 47-game win streak) and averaging nearly 35 points a game. Kentucky, on the other hand, was more defensively inclined. Only one team all that season had scored more than twice on them in a game.

The game was scoreless until late in the opening quarter, when Kentucky scored on a touchdown pass from Babe Parilli to Wilbur Jamerson to take a 7-0 lead. The Wildcats pushed across another score in the second quarter on an 81-yard drive, capped off by a touchdown run by Jamerson. Kentucky held a 13-0 lead at the half.

Oklahoma had a chance to score in the third quarter when the Sooners had the ball inside the Kentucky 10-yard line, but came up empty when a fourth-down try was stuffed by the Kentucky defense. The Sooners did reach paydirt in the fourth quarter on a 17-yard touchdown pass from Billy Vessels to Merrill Green, but that was a close as Oklahoma would get, dropping its first game of the season, 13-7, and snapping the Sooners 31-game winning streak.

That season, the final AP poll came out before the bowl games. The Sooners were No. 1 in the final poll and were awarded by AP with their first national championship.

Next: Sept. 26, 1953 - Notre Dame 28, Oklahoma 21