TOMMY MCDONALD 1934-2018
Oklahoma 13, Texas 14
October 13, 1990 | at Dallas | Attendance 75,587
Texas coach David McWilliams had hovered around mediocrity in his previous three seasons in Austin, owning a career mark of 16-18, which was unacceptable at the tradition rich program. Coming off a struggling 5-6 record in '89, the second straight losing season for the first time in 51 years, he was entering a crucial year. With a depth chart that returned at least ten starters, McWilliams had been anxious to begin the season.
On the offensive side of the ball, the Longhorns have experience and speed. It all began with sophomore quarterback Peter Gardere, who became a starter in the fourth game of '89 and was instrumental in victories against Rice, Oklahoma and Arkansas on consecutive weekends. There may have been question marks at running back with a few coming back from injuries, but in the air they looked to one man, senior Johnny Walker, who had caught a school-record 55 passes in '89, one of which stunned the Sooners for a Texas victory.
Defensively, they were solid, with a stable defensive line led by James Patton, good linebackers, and a secondary that was the strength of the unit, led by cornerback Willie Cavness. The one area of concern for McWilliams was the inexperience of his kicking game.
First, Texas visited #21 Penn State, and the 17-13 win was McWilliams' first in an opener. Next, #20 Colorado came calling and beat the Horns, 29-23. And then, they went to Houston and beat a 2-2 Rice team, 26-10. Texas (2-1) came into the Red River rivalry game unranked for the fifth straight year, and looking for some consistency.
Meanwhile, Oklahoma's Gary Gibbs was in his second season after replacing the legendary Barry Switzer, and he was armed with a new offensive coordinator, Larry Coker, who for the past seven seasons had served the same capacity at rival Oklahoma State. Ranked #22 in the AP preseason poll, with two convincing victories to open the season over ranked teams, #19 UCLA and #13 Pittsburgh, and with three more over unranked teams, it looked like the fourth-ranked Sooners (5-0) were quickly back among the nation's elite.
They featured a high-scoring offense that came in averaging 40 points per game, and had not been held under 31, and at the helm was freshman quarterback Cale Gundy. Home grown out of Midwest City, OK, he was a high school Parade All-American who threw for more than 7,000 yards and 53 touchdowns in his scholastic career, possibly the most sought-after quarterback in the history of the state, and the crown jewel of the '90 recruiting class in Norman. It was his ability to pass that was the main reason the Sooners shelved the wishbone offense, and one weapon that was figuring more prominently in the attack was senior tight end Adrian Cooper. It helped lighten the loss of junior tailback Mike Gaddis, the team's leading rusher a year earlier.
Oklahoma could also boast a defense that had permitted an average of 13.6 points per game, and not yielded more than 17. Up front, it was led by senior tackle Scott Evans and junior tackle Stacy Dillard. Behind them were a pair of good linebackers, senior Frank Blevins and junior Joe Bowden, while junior defensive back Jason Belser led the secondary.
The Sooners got on the board first courtesy of R.D. Lashar's 47-yard field goal. But Texas came back and answered when Gardere found tight end Kerry Cash for an eight-yard touchdown pass. Senior Michael Pollack kicked the extra point, and the Longhorns led, 7-3. But Oklahoma took the lead in the second quarter when sophomore tailback Dewell Brewer scored on a nine-yard run, and carried a 10-7 lead into the half.
Oklahoma's defense continued to dominate in the third quarter, while Texas' was also performing well. The only points of the period came when Lashar kicked a 26-yard field goal, and the Sooners owned a 13-7 lead heading into the final frame.
Outplayed most of the game, and still down by six points, Texas took over at its own nine-yard line with 7:12 left in the game. Having mustered barely 100 yards in total offense during the game, they had 91 yards to go. When freshman running back Phil Brown left the game with an injured ankle, who had gained 63 yards on 23 carries, out trotted another frosh, big and fast Butch Hadnot. On his first carry, he ripped off 23 yards, and then ten on his next, moving out to the 42-yard line. Gardere guided the team downfield, and with a little more than two minutes left in the game, Texas had used 12 plays to reach the Oklahoma 16, where they were faced with a fourth down-and-seven.
The year before, Gardere had successfully reacted to a Sooner blitz, beat defensive back Charles Frank and found Walker. This time, with Gibbs opting not to blitz, Texas used the same play, but Gardere looked away from Walker and to the other direction, finding tight end Keith Cash, Kerry's brother, on a post pattern against Frank in the end zone to tie the game. Pollack's extra point gave the Longhorns a 14-13 lead with just two minutes to go.
Oklahoma managed a valiant drive to the Texas 29, but with time running out, Lashar watched his 46-yard field goal attempt sail wide left. It was a case of lightning striking twice, the second consecutive year Texas had mounted a late fourth-quarter drive to beat Oklahoma.
Source: Jeff Linkowski