January 1, 1983
After a second consecutive un-Barry Switzer like season, #12 Oklahoma (8-3) had accepted their eighth consecutive post-season invitation, a Fiesta Bowl date. Played on New Years Day for the second straight year, Switzer had last played in the game six years earlier. The Sooners would face #11 Arizona State (9-2) in the first-ever meeting between the two schools.
Third-year coach Darryl Rogers had taken over the Sun Devils and improved each year. They came into the game having lost their last two games to Washington and Arizona to close out the season, costing a Rose Bowl berth. They had averaged 23.8 points per game, and leading the offense was junior quarterback Todd Hons, who had thrown for over 2,000 yards and eight touchdowns, while sophomore back Darryl Clack led the ground attack and had rushed for 577 yards. On the other side of the ball, it was a swarming group that had led the nation in total defense by yielding only 229 yards per game, permitted an average of only 95 yards per game on the ground, the sixth best in the nation, and surrendered an average of 11.3 points per game. A pair of consensus All-American's, linebacker Vernon Maxwell and defensive back Mike Richardson led it.
The Sooners were averaging 26.9 points per game. Switzer had abandoned his traditional wishbone, triple-back formation and was using an I-back, building his offense around freshman sensation Marcus Dupree, a menacing force who ran with authority to gain 905 yards. He was named to the All-Big Eight team, in addition to offensive guards Steve Williams and Paul Parker. The defense, which had permitted 15.5 points per game, was spearheaded by consensus All-American tackle Rick Bryan, who was supported by a few all-conference performers, end Kevin Murphy and linebacker Jackie Shipp.
Oklahoma got on the board first with a 73-yard drive. The key play was a 56-yard off tackle burst by Dupree, who was hauled down from behind at the five before reaching pay dirt. Four plays later, senior back Stanley Wilson plunged across the goal line from a yard out. Dupree had bruised his ribs at the end of his long run, and was forced to the sidelines.
Arizona State got on the board when Mike Wilkerson blocked a Sooners' punt and Jimmy Williams recovered at the Sooner 39, which resulted in a 32-yard field goal by Luis Zendejas. After an Arizona State punt gave the Sooners the ball at their own three, a pair of Sun Devils, Paul Moyer and Jim Jeffcoat, trapped Oklahoma quarterback Kelly Phelps in the end zone for a safety. On the free kick, Scott Kegas returned the ball to the Oklahoma 36, but the Devils had to settle for another field goal, as Zendejas booted the ball through from 22 yards out to take an 8-7 lead.
In the second quarter, Oklahoma marched 84 yards in 11 plays, using Phelps' runs of 29 and 16 yards, and ending when Wilson burst over again from a yard out, but the two-point run failed. On the last play of the first half, Zendejas booted a Fiesta Bowl record 54-yard field goal, and the Sooners took a 13-11 lead into the locker room.
After intermission, Oklahoma's Michael Keeling lined up in punt formation and, unable to get it away, completed a pass to David Carter. But ineligible receivers were downfield, and Arizona State took over on the Sooners' 43. Four plays later, Clack scored on a 15-yard run, and with the extra point, the Devils took the lead, 18-13.
Oklahoma retaliated quickly, marching 76 yards in five plays, including a 48-yard burst by Dupree, and Fred Sims' 19-yard touchdown run put the Sooners back on top. Going for two points, Phelps hit Johnny Fontenette with a pass to put Oklahoma up by three, 21-18. Unfortunately, Dupree retired to the sidelines with a pulled hamstring injury, his day apparently over after erupting for 239 yards, a Fiesta Bowl record.
The game headed to the final period with Oklahoma holding a slim three-point lead, and they were working on more when Phelps coughed up the ball and Mark Hicks recovered at State 48. The Sun Devils marched down the field and jumped ahead when back Alvin Moore vaulted in from a yard out. Less than five minutes later, Arizona State got their first score not set up by a Sooner miscue on a 52-yard pass from Todd Hons to Ron Brown, capping a 76-yard drive that lasted all of six plays, and clinching the game. It also ended the scoring, as Arizona State won, 32-21.
"Turnovers, basically that's how we won the game", countered Rogers referring to his Sun Devils recovering four Oklahoma fumbles and forcing two punting mistakes. He also added, "The outcome might have been different if Dupree had been in there."
It was only the second bowl loss in eight in Switzer's head coaching career. Afterwards, he said, "Marcus would have scored two touchdowns if he would have played at 228 instead of 240 like he did today." He was referring to his star back being hauled down from behind on all three of his breakaway runs, two different 56-yarders and the other a 48-yard romp.
But Dupree, Wilson and Sims had riddled Arizona State's vaunted rush defense for 417 yards on the ground. Dupree's big day garnered the game's MVP award, and Wilson set a school record with 133 yards on kickoff returns.
Source: Jeff Linkowski