NORMAN — In 1946, Oklahoma football proved it had arrived.
A massive underdog at powerhouse Army, the Sooners took the two-time defending national champions to the brink. The Cadets rallied for a 21-7 victory; but the framework for the Sooner dynasty was underway.
Seventy-two years after that historic game, OU will meet Army again.
The Sooners and Black Knights have agreed to play a home-and-home, beginning in 2018, OU officials announced Tuesday.
Army will travel to Norman on Sept. 22, 2018; OU will go to West Point, N.Y., to return the game Sept. 26, 2020.
"Naturally, we're thrilled to announce this agreement with Army," OU athletic director Joe Castiglione said in a statement. "We have tremendous respect for what the Academy represents and will be privileged to share the football field with its team.
"We also recognize the large number of military personnel serving in the general vicinity of Norman and we hope that this series intrigues and excites them just as it does us. And, of course, on the return game, we will be very near New York City, which provides very good East Coast exposure for our program and university."
It will be the fourth and fifth meetings between the two storied programs.
OU and Army also played in 1959 in Norman and 1961 at Yankee Stadium in New York City, with the Sooners winning both contests.
The '46 game, however, is considered a turning point in Sooner football.
Led by "Mr. Outside" and "Mr. Inside" (back-to-back Heisman winners Glen Davis and Doc Blanchard) the Cadets, which hadn't lost a game in three years, seemed unstoppable.
But under first-year coach Jim Tatum, the Sooners met the challenge and Tatum's defense held Davis to 19 yards and 12 carries at Michie Stadium. Even though Army prevailed and would go on to a third straight national championship, OU's performance set the tone for an 8-3 breakout season. Tatum split for Maryland, but Bud Wilkinson took over as head coach next year and OU began its rise to the summit of college football.
When the two teams meet in 2018, OU should be the massive favorite.
This decade, the Sooners have won 11 or more games in all but one season. Army, meanwhile, has not posted a winning season since 1996.
The Sooners have another scheduled date with a service academy, Air Force, which travels to Norman next season.
OU defeated the Falcons, 44-3, in 2001.
OU all-time against the service academies
2001--at Air Force--W--44-3
OU's future non-conference dates
at Florida State
at Notre Dame
at Ohio State