OU Football: Sooners are 15 years removed from their last Rose Bowl appearance

ARLINGTON, TX - DECEMBER 2: The Oklahoma Sooners take the field before playing the TCU Horned Frogs during the first half at AT
ARLINGTON, TX - DECEMBER 2: The Oklahoma Sooners take the field before playing the TCU Horned Frogs during the first half at AT /

During Bob Stoops’ 18-year reign as head honcho of Oklahoma football, the Sooners went to 18 consecutive bowl games.

In 13 of those seasons, the Sooners appeared in a major bowl, or what today is called one of the New Year’s Six bowls, the six most prestigious bowl assignments out of the 41 postseason bowl games sanctioned by the NCAA.

Since 2000, Oklahoma has played in the Orange Bowl four times, including its national championship season in 2000, the Sugar Bowl and Fiesta Bowl three times each, the Cotton Bowl twice and the Granddaddy of them all, the Rose Bowl, once.

On News Year’s Day, the Sooners will be in Pasadena, California, and play in the Rose Bowl for just the second time in the school’s history.

Oklahoma’s first and only bowl appearance in sunny California was one to celebrate. It was 15 years ago on Jan. 1, 2003. Big 12 champion OU, ranked No. 8 in the country, was paired against the then-Pac-10 champions, the Washington State Cougars. The Sooners came into the game with a record of 11-2; Washington State was 10-2 and ranked just above OU, at No. 7, in the Associated Press poll.

The Sooners scored the first 27 points in the. game and led 27-0 in the fourth quarter before Washington State pushed across two late scores, one on an 89-yard kickoff return after Oklahoma’s final touchdown, to make it 34-14 at the final gun.

Oklahoma dominated the Pac-10 champs from start to finish. Sooner quarterback Nate Hybl threw two touchdown passes and Quentin Griffin ran for another, as the Sooners ran 20 more plays than Washington State and totaled 386 yards of offense.

The Sooner defense played a major part in OU’s 2003 Rose Bowl win as well, sacking Washington State quarterback Jason Gesser six times and intercepting him twice. Oklahoma held the Cougar offense to 243 total yards and just four net yards in 21 rushing attempts.

Hybl was named the game’s Most Outstanding Player. He completed 19 of 29 passes for 240 yards and two touchdowns. Griffin had 162 rushing yards for the Sooners.

With the win, Oklahoma became just the fourth school in college football history to win a game in what was then the four major bowl venues (Rose Bowl, Orange Bowl, Sugar Bowl and Fiesta Bowl) plus the Cotton Bowl.

Next: Ranking the Oklahoma football teams of the last seven decades

Here’s hoping history repeats itself in this year’s Rose Bowl, when the No. 2 Sooners take on No. 3 Georgia in one of the two national semifinal games in the College Football Playoff IV.