Oklahoma 44, Texas 9

October 10, 1987 | at Dallas | Attendance 75,587

Once a team that served as the Southwest Conference's flagship, Texas had trouble trying to stay afloat a year earlier. A 5-6 finish signaled the end for coach Fred Akers, fired in the aftermath of the school's first losing season in 30 years, who in his ten seasons finished his career in Austin with a 86-31-2 record, second only to the legendary Darrell Royal in victories.

In came David McWilliams, who had been part of one of the greatest eras of Texas football, for in his three years as a player, from 1961-63, the Longhorns had lost only two football games, posting a remarkable record of 30-2-1. During that time, Texas won three conference championships, finished the year ranked among the nation's top four each year, and he had been a popular tri-captain on the '63 national championship team. He was then an assistant to both Royal and Akers from '70-'85, and he gave the Longhorn faithful reason to be hopeful, fresh off guiding Texas Tech to the school's first bowl appearance in nine years during his rookie year as a major college head coach.

McWilliams could mold the team rather quickly if a speedy offense and a strong defense lived up to expectations. Youth was being served where Texas listed only 12 seniors on their roster, but among them was senior quarterback Bret Stafford, who set a dozen school records and tied another in '86 when he passed for over 2,200 yards and 12 touchdowns. But Darron Norris was moved from fullback to tailback and versatile junior multi-purpose threat Eric Metcalf had been shifted from back to wide receiver. The result? Texas had uncommonly developed somewhat of a love affair for the passing game and lost their first two games of the season, but had since righted the ship and won their last two to pull their record to an even 2-2 entering the Red River rivalry.

Meanwhile, things were much different in Norman, OK. Despite two-time All-American linebacker Brian Bosworth losing his final year of eligibility and moving on to the NFL, coach Barry Switzer still had a stellar collection of seasoned veterans. When the Associated Press had announced their preseason rankings, the Sooners were in the top spot for an unprecedented third straight year.

Oklahoma (4-0) was absolutely blowing away teams. With stars like junior quarterback Jamelle Holieway and fullback Lydell Carr and tight end Keith Jackson, both seniors, their offense came in averaging 54 points per game. The defense featured end Darrell Reed, linebacker Dante Jones, and defensive back Rickey Dixon, and had posted two shutouts while allowing their opponents an average of four points per game. As such, the Sooners were unheard of 30-point favorites to destroy the Longhorns, the largest in the 82-year history of the series.

Despite their underdog roles, Texas played tough and scored first on a 52-yard field goal by Wayne Clements late in the first period. The Sooners finally broke through and marched 78 yards, highlighted by Holieway's 32-yard pass to Jackson on a third down-and-12, his first completion of the game. It set up Carr's seven-yard touchdown run early in the second. Later, Oklahoma built its lead to 13-3 on field goals of 46 and 22 yards from R.D. Lashar. Texas trimmed it to 13-6 with 17 seconds left in the first half on a 46-yarder by Clements.

After intermission, it was all Oklahoma. Texas drove deep into enemy territory, but Stafford's pass was picked off by Dixon at the six, and he returned it 50 yards. The Sooners struck quickly, as Holieway connected for only the second time, but it was to Carl Cabbiness and good for a 44-yard touchdown, and Lashar's kick made it 20-6. On Texas's next possession, end Troy Johnson intercepted another Stafford attempt. Not even 76 seconds after they had last crossed the goal, Carr's 32-yard scoring run and Lashar's extra point put the Sooners up, 27-6. Then, cornerback Derrick Crudup's interception, a 21-yard run by Holieway, and tailback Patrick Collins' four-yard scoring run made it 34-6.

Texas did manage three points early in the fourth courtesy Clements' 36-yard field goal, but Oklahoma was simply too overpowering. With Stafford and his five interceptions on the bench, junior backup Shannon Kelly could fare no better, as he also tossed a pair of interceptions.

Holieway was forced out of the game with a jammed shoulder, but freshman Charles Thompson stepped in and picked up the slack. He directed the offense for a 29-yarder from Lashar, and then Thompson closed the scoring with a 55-yard touchdown run, the finishing touches on a dominating 44-9 performance. Holieway did spell the youngster, as Thompson actually led all Oklahoma ball carriers with 114 yards rushing on just eight carries, with less than a minute to play, but it was merely to end the game.

Nine different Sooners carried the ball, and they combined to rush for 392 yards, losing only one fumble. With a perfect 5-0 record, Oklahoma was off to their best start in nine years. "Everybody here saw a great defensive team in the second half," Switzer said. "It was a great performance, both as a team and on an individual basis. The turnovers in the second half led to 31 points and that won the game."

Source: Jeff Linkowski

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