Oklahoma Football: 30 Best Games in School History

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Sep 12, 2015; Knoxville, TN, USA; Oklahoma Sooners cheerleader entertains fans during the second half against the Tennessee Volunteers at Neyland Stadium. Oklahoma won 31-24. Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

Sept. 26, 1953 – Notre Dame 28, Oklahoma 21

While it may seem as if Oklahoma and Notre Dame have had a long and rich football rivalry, the reality is the two elite football brands have only played 11 times total in history.

The first game in the OU-Notre Dame history was in 1952 in Wilkinson’s fifth season at Oklahoma. The game was played in South Bend, Ind., where the Fighting Irish prevailed 27-21 under head coach Frank Leahy, who is to Notre Dame football history what Wilkinson is to Oklahoma.

The second game in the now 11-game series was played in front of Oklahoma’s home crowd, one year later, on Sept. 26, 1953. It was the season opener for both teams.

Oklahoma took an early 14-7 advantage, but a blocked Sooner punt set Notre Dame up on the OU 9-yard line just before halftime. The Fighting Irish scored from there to tie the game at 14 apiece going into intermission.

Notre Dame took charge in the second half, stretching its lead to 28-14 before the Sooners mounted a late charge. With Oklahoma trailing by seven points late in the game, Notre Dame’s Johnny Lattner, who would go on that season to win the 1953 Heisman Trophy, intercepted a pass from Oklahoma quarterback Buddy Leake to squelch the Sooners’ comeback bid. The Fighting Irish held on to win the game 28-21. (Click on this video to see some highlights from this historic game.)

Irish quarterback Ralph Guglielmi threw a pair of touchdown passes to Joe Heap, and Oklahoma’s Merrill Green picked off two passes, returning one 55-yards for a touchdown.

Oklahoma and Pittsburgh played to a 7-7 tie the following week. The Notre Dame loss to open the 1953 season, it turned out, would be the last time Wilkinson and his Sooners would lose over the next 48 games. That was the beginning of Oklahoma’s incomparable 47-game winning streak, a record that may never be broken. The Sooners would not lose again until November 1957, and the team that snapped the record win streak was none other than Notre Dame, the last team to defeat the Oklahoma juggernaut of the mid-1950s.

Next: Oct. 10, 1953 - Oklahoma 19, Texas 14