The last regular season game on our schedule was a return to the stretching plains of the OklahomaTerritory.We were in Norman to witness yet another one of the most storied programs in the history of College Football; the Oklahoma Sooners.Home to seven national championships, 149 consensus All Americans, five Heisman Trophy winners, and of course, Brian Bosworth.
It was rivalry week up in the SoonerState, and the Sooners themselves were hosting their hunter orange clad in state rivals from OklahomaState.“Bedlam” as the game is otherwise known, in parlance of this irritating modern trend of branding every rivalry contest.
Oddly enough, the roles were reversed this year.The perennial powerhouse Sooners were at the finale of a rather disappointing 6-5 season, largely driven by the delicate shoulder of injured Heisman winner Sam Bradford.The Norman natives were growing grumbly with long time head coach Bob Stoops.Proof that despite going to seven BCS Bowls (four championship games) and a career .801 winning percentage, your only as good as your last game in Sooner country.I for one would be more than happy to relieve them of the “visored one” for greener gridiron pastures in South Bend.
The Cowboys, on the other hand, came into the season with lofty expectations on the strength of their powerful returning offensive trio of Zac Robinson (QB), Kendall Hunter (RB) and Dez Bryant (WR).Unfortunately, Hunter went down with an injury, while Bryant managed to get himself suspended by the NCAA for the remainder of the season for talking to Deion Sanders (Proving once again that nothing good can come of conversing with Deion Sanders).Though their 9-2 record was impressive, a win over their heated in state rivals would be a nice little capstone to finish off the season, and vault them into a BCS payday.
That big payday would have to wait, however, because the Sooner defense absolutely stifled the Cowboys all day long, surprising considering Texas Tech had lit them up for 41 points the week before.In fact, smothering would be an understatement, as OSU could only manage 109 yards of total offense on the day, and didn’t convert a sole first down in the entire second half.Their punter may have needed a hip replacement after kicking the ball away a total of fourteen times.While Oklahoma’s offense wasn’t spectacular, Demarco Murray still scampered for two touchdowns and Freshman quarterback Landry Jones didn’t give the ball away.At the end of the day, Oklahoma strutted away with a dominant victory, blanking the ‘Pokes 27-0.
Despite the high caliber matchup on the field, this game was far and away the sloppiest we had seen all season.Although there were only four official turnovers in the game, in the first half alone the ball was fumbled five times.Even the officials bungled their duties, having to second review a handful of plays and dragging out an already glacially slow game.While these “official reviews” are a great time to grab a sandwich and beer at home, I wouldn’t advise it at The Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium.I grew concerned that Mindy had been abducted when she disappeared for over half a quarter braving one of the woefully understaffed and serpentine lines at the concession stand.By my count there were a grand total of three soda fountains open to serve the entire 85,606 person crowd of crimson and cream.
Prior to the game, we had a chance to check out the infamous “Sooner Schooner”. The schooner is a replica covered wagon that the Oklahoma “Ruf/Neks” (no that is not a typo) parade around the endzone after each Oklahoma score.The Schooner might be one of the more impressive touchdown celebrations in College Football, as the wagon and horse team (Boomer and Sooner) race out onto the field with a Ruf/Nek precariously hanging out the back of the wagon gripping a flapping OU flag.They gallop out in an arc that nearly reaches the fifty yard line. Up close and personal, however, it’s deceptively small.Comically, the Sooner Schooner is about the size of a covered Radio Flyer pulled by a band of pygmy ponies.I think Ralphie the Buffalo is safe as the largest livestock mascot in the Big 12.
Although Norman is a storied and quintessential little college town, our trip to Oklahoma would be a short one, as we returned home promptly after the game because Mindy had caught a rather nasty bug.So on the next go around, I will be sure to swing into Earl’s RibPalace to give you some first hand reporting on their storied swine.
Despite the abbreviated trip, it was a gorgeous sunny day for football, and one could do a lot worse than spending a late fall Saturday afternoon in Norman when the Sooners are playing.
Special thanks to our friend, Eric, for the hospitality in the game-day village and helping us find some tickets to the game.
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