Oklahoma Football: Memory of Deceased Player Austin Box Heavy on Sooners' Minds

John Rozum@Rozum27Correspondent IOctober 8, 2011

DALLAS, TX - OCTOBER 8:   Oklahoma Sooner players hold their helmets hight before a game against  the Texas Longhorns at the Cotton Bowl on October 8, 2011 in Dallas, Texas.  The Sooners defeated the Longhorns 55 to 17.  (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

After the first quarter of The Red River Rivalry in 2011, the No. 1 Oklahoma Sooners held a 6-3 lead over the No. 11 Texas Longhorns in The Cotton Bowl.

Thereafter, however, Oklahoma completely dominated Texas and outscored the Longhorns 49-14 the rest of the way.

It was a sight to see score after score in a lopsided victory that is one of the best and most historic in college football.

However, the sight after the game was even more emotional as Sooners LB Travis Lewis, who wore No. 12 in honor of former fellow linebacker Austin Box. Lewis was consoled by teammate and Heisman Trophy candidate QB Landry Jones.

The game clearly proved to be more than just a game for Lewis and the Sooners, and perhaps there was some superficial powers at work in this game, in favor of the Oklahoma defense of course.

The reason for that can be attributed to the Sooners getting three defensive TDs (two fumbles, one pick), holding the Longhorns to just 259 total yards and forcing five turnovers.

Also, maybe this dominating defensive performance was a premonition for LB Travis Lewis and company, because as team captain, Lewis gets to decide who wears No. 12 in honor of Austin Box each week.

In an article by Jerry Briggs of the San Antonio Express-News, Lewis chose himself to honor Box for The Red River Rivalry:

“(This week) He will wear jersey No. 12 instead of his usual 28. He'll wear it in honor of Box, a former OU teammate who passed away in May. As a team co-captain, Lewis gets to decide who will wear Box's old number for each game.

Former New Braunfels star Tom Wort, OU's starting middle linebacker, wore it in the opener against Tulsa.

“Austin was one of my best friends,” Lewis said. “I want to go out there and represent him and play like he did.”

Now we could also make the argument that Texas hasn't played anybody and Longhorns may not be deserving of a Top 15 ranking.

Sure all that may be true, but this is one of those college football rivalries where records usually don't matter.

The previous four meetings were determined by no more than a TD, so it's not like the current players weren't familiar with each other.

Oklahoma however, was playing for something more.

That said, it wouldn't have mattered who was playing the Sooners on Saturday, Oct. 8, because no one was going to prevent them from winning this game.

55-17 is just a score, because when team defensive captain Travis Lewis put on that No. 12 in honor of his friend and fellow Sooner LB Austin Box, playing well and winning is what mattered.


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