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Blast from the Past!
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Joined: Tue Jul 24th, 2007
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 Posted: Fri Mar 13th, 2020 04:28 pm


Historically speaking, we're coming up to the true "dead period" of the message board. There's not much discussion once spring football is over until we get close to fall practices. Perhaps the basketball team might generate a few threads if they're advancing through March Madness, but it's obviously been a few years since that's happened. But this dead period may put all others to shame as we truly have NO sports to talk about for the foreseeable future. So hang in there as this too shall pass. But there's no doubt, it's going to be painful.

With that said, it's time to resurrect my "Blast from the Past" series, so here ya go...

From The Houston Post, October 10, 1971…


By Jack Gallagher

DALLAS – Twice Oklahoma was penalized Saturday for having too many on the field. The Texas Longhorns could have sworn the Sooners played with 12 men through the afternoon.

The extra man could have been Greg Pruitt, Oklahoma’s junior halfback from Houston didn’t play like two men. He played with all the precision and skill of 11 men. Pruitt was virtually an entire team as the vicious-hitting Sooners left Texas for dead in the ashes of the Cotton Bowl, 48-27.

Never had Boomer Sooner boomed as resoundingly since Darrell Royal became head coach at Texas in 1957.

Pruitt’s slashing speed combined with the artful runs of Jack Mildren and the power of Roy Bell and Leon Crosswhite resulted in the largest total ever made against a Royal-coached team. Oklahoma may still be running out the ramp and onto the midway of the Texas State Fair that opened here Saturday. At last count the Sooners’ rushing totaled 435 yards, another record yield for a Royal-coached UT team. There were 73,580 assembled beneath sunny skies and, to the Texas defense, it must have appeared they were all out in front of the OU ball carriers.

With his sprints around the corners and his bursts inside, Pruitt is the 1971 personification of the 1889 land rush in Oklahoma. He gained 216 yards in 20 carries, scored on runs of one, four and 20 yards, and at times, made a good Texas defense look as immobile as Bevo the huge Longhorn mascot.

Despite Oklahoma’s superiority, Texas had several chances to break through in the second half.

Playing more aggressively on defense, the Longhorns limited the Sooners to 91 yards rushing after intermission, but fumbles, interceptions and penalties bogged down Texas, and neither Donnie Wigginton nor Eddie Phillips moved the ball with any regularity.

Oklahoma’s fierce offense had much to do with UT’s ineffectiveness. Houstonian Albert Qualls and teammate Bruce Deloney were among the most vigorous defenders as Wigginton, Glenn Gaspard, Alan Moore and Don Burrisk left the field with wounds of one kind or another.

Phillips also appeared woozy near the finish, and sophomore Rob Riviere ended up quarterbacking the defending Southwest Conference champions.

In the second half Pruitt gained just 27 yards on eight carries. But by then the damage had been done as the Sooners entered the final 30 minutes ahead, 31-21.

In the first half OU scored on five of its seven possessions. Chuck Fairbanks, beating Royal for the first time, summoned his punter for the first time with a few seconds left in the third quarter, as Pruitt darting runs kept giving the Sooners great field position.

Thus, did the wishbone-T that Royal created return as a monster to crush its originator.

Mildren, his blond hair sticking out from behind his helmet, was the Frankenstein.

Twice his last-second pitches to Pruitt turned an ordinary gain into an extraordinary one. Pruitt tacked 34 yards onto the end of a Mildren pitch to the Texas 24. From the 10 Pruitt fought his way into the end zone for the touchdown that put OU ahead to say, 21-14.

After Wigginton fumbled on Texas’ second play from scrimmage and Qualls recovered at the 24, Pruitt showed the Steers some more moves.

The 176-pound Elmore graduate broke over the right side, threw a stutter step at Mike Bayer, and then took one large stride to the right. Bayer stood there flatfooted as Pruitt’s gallop into the end zone completed the 20-yard play.

But Greg was human, as he proved with his fumble that broke the scoring ice. Hit by Malcolm Minnick and Glenn Gaspard, he fumbled and Bayer recovered at the Sooner 44. Wigginton passed 24 yards to Pat Kelly, then from the Sooner five-yard line, Donnie raced into the end zone.

For the fifth straight year, however, the team that scored first lost in the series that goes back to 1900.

Oklahoma required just seven plays to go 69 yards and tie it, Pruitt skipping the last yard on a pitch from Mildren. Wigginton’s 44-yard sprint, on which he ran to the right, cut back behind a Jerry Sisemore block and then outraced John Shelley to the end zone returned UT to the lead, 14-7.

Bell ran over Alan Lowry at the end of a 69-yard, seven play Sooner advance, the highlight of which was the second bit of Mildren-Pruitt magic.

Again Jack appeared stopped wide. Again he escaped long enough to toss back to Pruitt, who added 20 yards to the UT 10. Bell’s touchdown tied it, and before the half the Sooners added a 26-yard field goal by John Carroll, who also booted a 27-yarder in the second half.

Texas pulled within 28-21 on Wigginton’s 18-yard pass to Kelly and Bertelsen’s three-yard sprint into the end zone.

Early in the third quarter Tom Landry shook Mildren loose from the ball and Bayer recovered at the Sooner 22. But Steve Valek, who later in the period missed an extra point after the final UT touchdown, failed on a 33-yard field goal attempt that was wide to the right. Possibly the absence of Wigginton, who left the game earlier with separated ribs, unsettled Valek. Wigginton, Valek’s regular holder, was replaced by Riviere.

Mildren rode Albert Chandler’s block on a seven-yard keeper at the end of an 80-yard seven-play advance to give OU a 38-21 lead midway of the third quarter.

Jack’s only pass completion of the day set it up. His wobbly effort was underthrown and the wide-open Harrison had to slow down and catch it. But the play gained 40 yards to the Texas seven.

Jim Bertelsen’s second touchdown of the day also completed the Texas scoring late in the third quarter. Phillips, scrambling for yards when he wasn’t passing, completed two 16-yard passes to Kelly during the 80-yard, 12-play advance and a 13-yarder to Rick Davis before Bertelsen went the last 15 on a wide pitch right.

Now Texas trailed by just 11 points entering the fourth quarter and still had a chance. But Steakley fumbled Phillips’ perfect pitch at the OU 32 and Tommy Saunders recovered.

Trying to avert a second straight defeat in the Cotton Bowl, scene of a New Year’s day loss to Notre Dame, Texas got the ball back as the UT defense stopped the Sooners. This time Phillips, who looked groggy after taking several hard raps, made a poor pitch to Steakley and Driscoll recovered at the Texas 29.

Carroll’s 27-yard field goal increased the OU margin to 41-27. Then Phillips, trying to throw deep for Bertelsen, lobbed a pass which Steve O’Shaughnessy grabbed and returned 36 yards to the seven. Mildren sneaked the last yard.

Texas saw its 3-game regular season winning streak shattered. Moreover, the Steers suffered several serious injuries to starters.

The victory was only the third for Oklahoma in 14 games against Royal, and it was accomplished by three different coaches – Fairbanks, Jim McKenzie, and Bud Wilkinson.

In the midst of the devastation wreaked by the streaking Pruitt, Mildren was an able accomplice. Jack gained 111 yards in 27 carries, helped not a little by the blocking of Bell and Crosswhite.

Joe Wylie suited out but never appeared in the game. Bell replaced him and added a new dimension to the Sooner attack with cotton-candy perfect for OU in the Cotton Bowl.

How They Scored

First Quarter
Tex – Wigginton 5-yard run (Valek kick)
Okla – Pruitt 1-yard run (Carroll kick)
Tex – Wigginton 44-yard run (Valek kick)
Okla – Bell 3-yard run (Carroll kick)

Second Quarter

Okla – Pruitt 4-yard run (Carroll kick)
Okla – Pruitt 20-yard run (Carroll kick)
Tex – Bertelsen 3-yard run (Valek kick)
Okla – Carroll 26-yard FG

Third Quarter

Okla – Mildren 7-yard run (Carroll kick)
Tex – Bertelsen 15-yard run (kick failed)

Fourth Quarter

Okla – Carroll 27-yard FG
Okla – Mildren 1-yard run (Carroll kick)

A – 73,580



First Downs: 22
Rushes – Yardage: 72 – 435
Passing Yardage: 40
Return Yardage: 36
Passes: 1 – 2 – 1
Punts: 2 – 42
Fumbles Lost: 2
Yards Penalized: 85


First Downs: 23
Rushes – Yardage: 57 – 231
Passing Yardage: 148
Return Yardage: 4
Passes: 10 – 19 – 1
Punts: 5 – 40
Fumbles Lost: 4
Yards Penalized: 29

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

From The Houston Post, October 10, 1971...


By David Fink

DALLAS – On Texas’ first possession Saturday afternoon, Oklahoma’s Raymond Hamilton sprained his ankle. On the sideline, Sooner defensive coordinator Larry Lacewell threw up his hands in disgust.

“I didn’t know where to turn,” Lacewell said. “Our strategy had been to line Raymond up as a nose guard instead of at left end to disrupt Texas’ blocking patterns. We weren’t expecting to shut them out, but we thought it might slow them down if we gave them a little different look.”

“Hamilton’s so quick and aggressive, we didn’t think their center (Jeff Zapalac) could handle him one-on-one. When Hamilton got hurt, we didn’t have anybody ready to play nose guard. We just didn’t have anybody else quick and strong enough to do it.”

“From then on, it was total confusion out there. We had to use three tackles and one end in some situations, but we even had trouble making substitutions properly. Our tackles weren’t used to being replaced by an end. Then, when Mike Struck, our other end, got hurt, we had only one end available and things got even worse.”

When Hamilton departed, Tommy Sanders, a junior from Garland, replaced him. On downs when OU expected a wide play, Bruce DeLoney went in.

“Eventually, we decided to slide Lionell Day over one hole and use Sanders at his normal position. It worked out fine.”

“I had never even thought of playing nose guard,” said Day, one of three Sooners from Houston Elmore. “I wasn’t too sure what I was doing, but they gave me a man to go after on each play and I went.”

“This was a very physical game,” Day said. “They never stopped coming at us.”

Oklahoma quarterback Jack Mildren had to agree.

“In the second half Donald Ealey was finding me wherever I went. I’m not sure how he did it, but I know he did. One time, he clubbed me in the back of the head. It stunned me.”

“This will make it easier for me to go back to Abilene,” Mildren said. “Most of my friends, though, never rubbed it in when they beat us the last two years, so I don’t think I’ll rub it in now.”

“I know I was ready for this one. Why? Well, they beat us 27-17 and 41-9 the last two years. That’s reason enough. Yes, I’d have to say this is the best team we’ve faced this year.”

“Our wishbone is a little different from Texas,” he said. “We have smaller, much quicker backs. We don’t have any 6-2, 205 types. So we’ve thrown in a few wrinkles with our blocking patterns and timing.”

Someone asked if Mildren’s downfield pitchbacks were included in the Sooner playbook.

“Certainly not,” he snapped with amusement. “You have to improvise things like that. That’s what athletes are supposed to do.”

“The 41-9 loss to Texas wasn’t the low point of my career,” Mildren said. “A couple of weeks later we lost to Kansas State and the offense stunk. We were awful and the defense was tremendous. That was the low point.”

“Since then, though, we’ve gained confidence in the wishbone and we’ve studied Texas’ footwork on the triple option a lot to see the right way to do it. Our coaches have learned a lot about the offense since last year, too.”

Mildren, who will turn 22 Sunday, then discussed everybody’s favorite subject – which team is No. 1.

“I’d be foolish not to think we were,” he said bluntly. “You have to have confidence in your own team. No, before the season started, I wasn’t sure we could be No. 1. But it would’ve been ridiculous to say so. I think we’ve proven the last two weeks what kind of team we are.”

Sooner coach Chuck Fairbanks described the 48-27 victory as “one I cherish more myself because this was the only team we play regularly that we hadn’t beaten since I became head coach.”

The 38-year old OU skipper continued: “I thought Roy Bell did an excellent job filling in for Joe Wylie. The same goes for Deloney and Saunders, who filled in for Hamilton. Those fellas we were playing against can play pretty well, you know.”

“I’m amazed we moved the ball so well. It’s a credit to our line and the speed of our backs that we did it."

“Mildren played a super game and so did Greg Pruitt and Steve Aycock. Hamilton’s injury upset our plans tremendously and we were forced to make some unusual substitutions.”

One of those substitutions led to a 15-yard penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct since the Sooners had 12 men on the field and all took part in the action.

“People are always telling us that it takes 12 men to stop the wishbone,” Lacewell summed up. “So we thought we’d try it. You know something, it didn’t work very well.”

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

From The Houston Post, October 10, 1971…


by David Fink

DALLAS – A gloomy Texas dressing room is as unusual as an Oklahoma victory over the Longhorns.

But Saturday, there were the Steers with the downcast expressions, the pain-wracked bodies and the cheerless voices. Indeed, the Sooners had prevailed, 48-27, to be exact and the Longhorns deeply felt defeat’s sting.

“I think Oklahoma has a super football team,” said UT Coach Darrell Royal. “I thought so going into the contest. They have such fantastic speed it makes it tough on everybody.”

“I doubt that we’ve ever faced a better team. You can’t compare outstanding teams, but OU has their best team I’ve seen since I’ve been here.”

“I thought we could play better on the corners, but their offense was red hot. And then we got more crippled up. I couldn’t tell you how bad we’re crippled up.”

He ticked off the names – Glenn Gaspard, Donnie Wigginton, Don Burrisk and Eddie Phillips.

“Phillips obviously wasn’t well, but he played gamely. We hadn’t anticipated him playing a bit. Eddie hadn’t worked out for five weeks. As great a player as he is, though, I’d feel guilty if I didn’t come to his rescue.”

“I wasn’t exactly a scatback out here,” said Phillips, who replaced Wigginton in the third quarter after Donnie separated some ribs.

“We were behind and we had to throw. I didn’t hurt anything today except my ego. Donnie was great while he was in there. My hamstring is a nagging injury and my toe is still sore, but I’m ready to play.”

Wigginton could barely stand. It took a teammate’s assistance to get him dressed.

“It’s a rib cartilage separation,” said Longhorn team physician, Dr. E. Reneau. “It’s very painful, but it’s a common football injury. We’ll have to x-ray to make certain there isn’t a fracture.”

Gaspard sprained the arch in his left foot and Burrisk dislocated his collarbone where it fits into the breastbone. He might be out for as long as three weeks.

“Things aren’t always supposed to go one guy’s way,” noted Royal. “We’ve had our share of victories here.”

Wigginton felt that if Longhorns had scored on the series in which he was injured, the game might have turned around.

Royal disagreed.

“There was no turning point, but our roughing the kicker penalty late in the third quarter did hurt,” he said.

“There was an almost total breakdown on defense,” said UT safety Tommy Woodard. “Especially on the corners.”

“They were pitching it wide on the option for 30 or 40 yards. They hurt us up the middle, too – seven or eight yards at a time.”

“I really thought we were mentally ready, but when you fumble and have interceptions, you can’t win against a team like Oklahoma. It’s almost impossible to stop their speed.”

“Is Oklahoma the best team I’ve faced? I’m going to have to say yes. They’re the best I’ve ever faced.”

“I thought we played good offense in the first half,” Royal observed, “but we couldn’t slow them down. That was our big problem.”

“Usually when it rains, it pours. Their speed causes the defense to sag to keep it contained and when it does they’re running downhill at you.”

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

From The Houston Post, October 10, 1971…


By David Fink

DALLAS – A week ago Greg Pruitt was the Associated Press’s Back of the Week.

After his long runs wrecked Southern California, Saturday he gained 216 yards on 20 carries and scored three touchdowns to lead Oklahoma to a 48-27 win over Texas.

“I was confident going into the game,” Pruitt admitted. “Last year, I didn’t think we had as good a team as Texas did, but this year I sure did.”

“Our wide pitches came off real well because Texas’s cornerbacks played a little too much inside and didn’t come up quick enough to cut off the outside alley.”

“The moves I put on their defenders were spontaneous. They just came to me as the plays developed.”

“Texas never even tried to recruit me, so, of course, this was a very satisfying victory for me.”

“I thought Pruitt was great,” said Texas coach Darrell Royal. “He is a strong runner with lots of speed.”

“This is the best day I’ve had,” said Pruitt, who was the top player in last year’s Astro-Bluebonnet Bowl. “Everything went well. I got a little tired late in the first half. Blocking those guys took something out of me and I was carrying the ball more than usual, I think.”

“This is a pretty big day for Elmore High School,” chipped in teammate Lionell Day. “Greg had a super game and so did Albert Qualls. We didn’t have that good a team in high school, so a lot of schools overlooked us at recruiting time.”

“But Greg’s a great back and Albert Qualls played a great game at linebacker. He made a lot of big plays for us.”

“We’re out to prove how good we are and Greg’s the guy that’s leadin’ us on.”


Joined: Thu Aug 9th, 2007
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 Posted: Fri Mar 13th, 2020 05:22 pm


Was in the stands in the Cotton Bowl that day. We all knew we were watching something special.

K2C Sooner

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 Posted: Fri Mar 13th, 2020 05:28 pm


Great post....

How about a 2016 post made on this site?:dude:

Maybe someone can tell me why our archives go back to 2016 only? I would love to read the things the posters were posting at the beginning of this board (2007). Here's a thread on the sports board from June, 2016. Notice it received over 2600 views and look at all the posters we've lost or are hibernating nowadays.:dude:

Off-topic posted on the sports board on June 12th, 2016.

K2C Sooner

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 Posted: Fri Mar 13th, 2020 05:55 pm


Just for kicks I went to Rivals and found their archived messages went back to 2015. Here's one thread I posted in 2015. Notice how many posts I made, along with the likes.

Then they rudely baned me for life. I'm glad they did because this is a much better site.:dude:

K2C Sooner

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 Posted: Fri Mar 13th, 2020 06:04 pm


And here's a back to the future post made in Feb 2015 on the Longhorn board. WARNING! It suxs, they're talking about Mixon.

No wonder we hate the Horns....:burningwhorns:


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 Posted: Fri Mar 13th, 2020 10:19 pm


SoonerinDallas wrote: Was in the stands in the Cotton Bowl that day. We all knew we were watching something special.
Me too. I don't remember it being as close as the article makes it sound. :whorns::lol:

OU Chinaman

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 Posted: Sat Mar 14th, 2020 03:54 pm


...good thread.

I was a senior in H.S. @ PC Original.

Always believed the 1971 SOONERS were the best rushing offense I'd ever see. (49 years later they still are) :cool:

I do think you had to witness that offense to truly appreciate what an unstoppable buzz-saw it really was.

I was there on Thanksgiving Thursday w/my Dad for the Game of the Century. Tickets courtesy of Joe Wylie, who's been mentioned a time or two on this thread and who was the player who was "clipped" on Johnny Rodgers punt return. Overcast & misty, almost surreal experience and one of the bitterest disappointments in my young life.
Mildren, on the strength of this one season, I steadfastly maintain is the G.O.A.T wishbone qb. (R.I.P.)
He made some pitchouts so last second it made you involuntary inhale-sharply! His performance in the Sugar Bowl vs. Heisman winner Pat Sullivan was a work of art.
And Greg Pruitt's runs. Electrifying!:shock:
NCAA record that still stands today I'm pretty sure-472 rushing yds. avg. per game. Given the current pass happy offenses today, might stand forever.

If you didn't witness it, likely sounds like the ramblings of some old burnt out SOONER fan. You'd be partly right.

The 1971 Wishbone is mythic and deservedly so.


Big Island Sooner

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 Posted: Fri Mar 20th, 2020 08:41 pm


I have been a member of this board for about 20 years; after many months (over a year really) of trying to access this site so I could comment I had given up on doing anything other than lurking. I have had to change my user name and account info so I could comment on this post because it references the very first game I knew to root for the Sooners.

A short history: When I was 2 or 3 years old so 1965/66, my family moved from Tulsa to Southern California, in 1971. I moved next door to a kid my age who was a big USC fan, so for about a week I was too. I didn't even know Oklahoma had a football team. That week OU beat USC and I never looked back. The first week I knew OU had a team and I proactively rooted for them was this OU/texas game.

2 things I think are important: I am still friends with that "kid" from next door (I talked to him yesterday) and during my teen years there were 2 things my dad and I could always talk about; when we could talk about nothing else without getting into an argument we could always talk about Van Morrison and Sooner sports.

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