With the Oklahoma Sooners starting their 114th football season on Aug. 30, there are a plethora of great moments for us to look back on. Compiled here are the top three moments in Oklahoma football that I have been blessed enough to experience.
While these are by no means the only great moments of the past 30 years; I leave it to you, the learned reader, to fill in more.
1) 2001 Red River Shootout, October 6, 2001
No one can argue that this entire game should not be on this list. Oklahoma won this contest against Texas the previous year (63-14), but had lost the previous three. For Oklahoma, there was still some payback.
After a scoreless first quarter, starting quarterback Nate Hybl left the game due to injury. Backup quarterback Jason White picked up where Hybl left off, running the offense for an 11-play, 61-yard drive to the end zone.
But the play that will forever be remembered by Oklahoma and Texas fans alike came in the fourth quarter. With the Texas offense starting at their own 3-yard line Roy Williams went airborne on Texas quarterback Chris Simms, catching his throwing arm and flipping the ball directly into the hands of Oklahoma sophomore Teddy Lehman for a Sooner score.
2) Oklahoma vs. Nebraska, October 28, 2000
This game marked the resurgence of my love affair with Oklahoma football. With Nebraska ranked No. 1 and Oklahoma No. 2 in the BCS before the game, this one had contest written all over it.
Indeed, even ESPN’s College Game Day was here. Hours before the game started the city of Norman, Okla. was already electric. Oklahoma Memorial Stadium and a one block radius around it became the third largest city in Oklahoma.
But the first 10 minutes of the contest almost dashed the hopes of the Crimson and Cream. Nebraska quarterback Eric Crouch came out with two impressive drives, making it 14-0 Cornhuskers. The rest of the game was to become a nightmare for Nebraska, though.
Starting the second quarter, Oklahoma’s offense behind Josh Heupel engineered a stunning rout of the “Blackshirts”, blistering them for 24 points before halftime. The Sooners defense took that queue and made their statement starting on Nebraska’s first possession of the second half with defensive back Derrick Strait returning an interception for a touchdown.
3) Jason White’s 2003 season
Nothing bad can be said for Jason White. Both in 2001 and 2002, he had season-ending injuries to his knees. For most people, these would have been career-ending injuries. Instead, he returns to the field in 2003 for his best season to date.
With Jason White at the helm in 2003, the Sooners complete an undefeated regular season. White won the Heisman Trophy after throwing 40 touchdown passes and eight interceptions that season.
White was also the recipient of the Associated Press Player of the Year, consensus All-American, consensus Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year, the Davey O'Brien Award and the Jim Thorpe Courage Award.
In 2004, he returned to lead the Sooners to another Big 12 championship. He also finished third in the Heisman Trophy balloting.