Oklahoma football countdown: Twenty-four days till 2021 season opener

The dog days of summer can’t tick away fast enough for Oklahoma football fans.

There is a lot of excitement and anticipation building for what well could be the best Sooner season yet under fifth-year head coach Lincoln Riley.

Our continuing series counting down the days until the start of the highly anticipated 2021 season of Oklahoma football is now at 24.

Two Oklahoma players will wear the jersey number 24 this season, Running back Marcus Major is No, 24 on offense, and linebacker Brian Asamoah wears the same number when the Sooners are on defense.

But perhaps the greatest Sooner to wear that jersey number was former OU All-American Joe Washington. Washington played at Oklahoma from 1972 to 1975 and was on two Sooner national championship teams. He ranks third among the career rushing leaders at Oklahoma with 4,071 yards and 39 touchdowns. He average 6.03 yards every time he toted the ball for the Sooners.

Washington was a two-time first-team All-American (1974 and ’75) and finished third in the Heisman Trophy balloting in 1974. In 1976, he was the fourth overall player selected in the NFL Draft, taken by the San Diego Chargers. Washington played nine NFL seasons with four different teams.

Miracle on the Brazos

The Nos. 24 — as well as 25, actually — also bring back recent memories of one of the most remarkable come-from-behind victories in the long and glorious history of Oklahoma football.

On Nov. 16, 2009, the No. 10-ranked Sooners in the College Football Playoff standings were in Waco, Texas, for a Big 12 showdown with No. 12 Baylor, the second best team in the conference that season.

Baylor exerted its will early and often and had opened up a 25-point advantage, 28-3, four minutes into the second quarter. Oklahoma scored its first touchdown in the game with six minutes remaining in the opening half and trailed at halftime 31-10.

The Sooners opened up the second half in deep danger of losing for the second time in three games and falling two full games behind league-leading Baylor.

The second 30 minutes, however, turned out to be a complete reversal of the first half. Oklahoma cut into the Bears’ 21-point halftime advantage with a touchdown in the third quarters and scored two more touchdowns in the fourth quarter to miraculously come all the way and tie the score at 31 with five and a half minutes to go in the game.

Then, with under two minutes remaining, OU’s Gabe Brkic kicked a 31-yard game-winning field goal, sending shock waves throughout the highly partisan Baylor crowd at McLane Stadium.

Then-sophomore Nik Bonitto picked off a pass from Baylor quarterback Charlie Brewer at the OU 38-yard-line with 29 seconds left to seal the victory

Oklahoma scored 24 unanswered points in the second half and outgained Baylor 368 yards to 69 over the final 30 minutes. In the final two quarters alone, the Sooners ran 58 plays to 16 for Baylor.

The win was the largest comeback victory in OU program history in terms of the deficit overcome.