Oklahoma Sooners Football: 5 Most Shocking Losses of Bob Stoops Era
Although there was debate prior to OU's recent loss to Texas Tech about the Sooners' potential, nobody expected the Red Raiders to snap Oklahoma's 39-game home winning streak and force the Sooners out of the championship race, at least for now.
Although he has undoubtedly brought Oklahoma back to elite status in college football, Bob Stoops has suffered his share of shocking defeats in his time in Norman.
As painful as it may be, the Texas Tech loss broaches an interesting question: What are the five most shocking OU losses of the Bob Stoops era?
5. TCU 17, OU 10, September 3, 2005
Realistically, this one should not have been as shocking as it was considered to be, but the basic circumstances make its inclusion on this list worthy.
Oklahoma fans were eager to see winning football again after their team was annihilated by USC in the Orange Bowl. What better way to recover than by warming up against TCU in Norman?
Instead of seeing a clean, easy win, Sooner fans saw a team lacking a proven quarterback and general identity. Even the power of Adrian Peterson couldn't rescue the Sooners from their slumber.
The game itself was largely uneventful. After being down 10-0 at halftime, Oklahoma came back to tie the game but couldn't answer after TCU's Robert Merrill scored on a two-yard run. TCU 17, OU 10. The loss was Bob Stoops' first as OU head coach in a season opener and (at the time) only his second loss at home.
4. Texas Tech 41, Oklahoma 38, October 22, 2011
Preseason expectations for this Sooners team had been sky-high. Bob Stoops had admitted that it was "about time" OU capture its eighth national championship. OU lived up to its billing initially, besting Florida State 23-13 in Tallahassee and destroying Texas 55-17 in Dallas.
Despite a close call against Missouri, the Sooners appeared to be in the driver's seat for another title run. That all changed on the 22nd of October.
Tommy Tuberville's Red Raiders scorched OU through the air. Quarterback Seth Doege threw for 452 pass yards, and the TTU defense slowed down Landry Jones and Co. enough to come out with a 41-38 victory, despite a late comeback by the Sooners.
The broad consequences of this loss remain to be seen. OU could use this loss as inspiration for a strong finish to the 2011 season, or the defeat could be the first in a string of heartbreaking failures for OU fans who expected so much from their beloved Sooners this season.
After all, the college football season is only heating up. The Sooners could very well look back on the Texas Tech loss at the end of this season and consider it a catalyst for a great finish to 2011.
3. Oregon 34, Oklahoma 33, September 16, 2006
The outcome of this game is not shocking because of the quality of either team or the final score. The way in which the game was decided is what merits its placement on this list. Specifically, a ruling by the referee that Oregon recovered an onside kick when it fact Oklahoma recovered the onside kick.
After taking a 33-20 lead on a Garrett Hartley field goal with only 3:12 to play in the fourth quarter, it looked like OU would escape raucous Autzen Stadium with a hard-earned non-conference victory early in the 2006 season. Oregon QB Dennis Dixon had other ideas. He led the Ducks down the field in an eight-play, 65-yard touchdown drive to close the gap to 33-27.
What ensued was one of the worst calls in sports history. Needing an onside kick recovery to keep any hope of victory alive, Oregon kicked an onside kick, interfered with Malcolm Kelly's ability to catch the kick prior to it going 10 yards and "recovered" the football, according to the referee. Replays clearly show, however, that OU's Allen Patrick recovered the football, not an Oregon player. The play was reviewed, but miraculously was not overturned.
Instead, Oregon retained possession, stormed down the field, and scored a touchdown to take a 34-33 lead. Garrett Hartley had a chance to win it for OU with a 44-yard field goal attempt, but the kick was blocked.
2. Kansas State 35, Oklahoma 7, December 6, 2003
No. 1 Oklahoma entered the 2003 Big 12 Championship after playing at such a high level over the course of the season that some people believed the 2003 team was one of the best in college football history.
As Lee Corso would say: "Not so fast, my friend!" Powered by the gritty Ell Roberson under center and the remarkable elusiveness of 5'7" Darren Sproles at halfback, the Wildcats stunned the Sooners, roaring to over 500 yards of offense and stifling the OU run game defensively.
Sproles gashed the Sooner defense for 235 yards rushing as well as 88 yards receiving and a touchdown, and Jason White and the OU offense, which had averaged 48 points per game up to that point, was humbled for the first time in the 2003 season.
OU's season was considered so impressive, however, that despite being blown out, Jason White still won the Heisman Trophy and OU retained its No. 1 ranking in the BCS and earned a berth in the National Championship, only to lose to LSU.
1. USC 55, OU 19, January 4, 2005
The 2004 season was another glorious one for OU football up until the last game. The Sooners had cruised to a perfect regular season record and put an exclamation point on the campaign by routing Colorado in the Big 12 Championship Game, 42-3. Freshman running back Adrian Peterson dazzled the nation by stampeding to almost 2,000 rushing yards.
Despite all of that, OU simply didn't know what it was in for against the Trojans. Heisman winner Matt Leinart torched the Sooners defense for a record five touchdowns, rendering the game effectively over by halftime with USC leading 38-10.
Sure, this USC squad is arguably one of the best of all time, but nobody saw this coming.