It's rare for an individual defensive player to demoralize an opposing offense.
But on Sept. 1, 2001, that's essentially what happened.
Play after play, like a missile fired out of the secondary, Oklahoma's Brandon Everage hammered Air Force's triple-option pitch back in one of the most dominating defensive performance of the Bob Stoops era.
This weekend, tragedy struck the Sooner community yet again, as Everage drowned while swimming with friends in a river northeast of Austin, Texas.
Affectionately known as “Book,” the former All-American was popular among his OU teammates and coaches.
And was one of the most devastating hitters in Sooner history.
Everage, a high school quarterback from Granger, Texas, was part of Stoops' first recruiting class in 1999, signing with the Sooners over Kansas State. He was one of two 4-star prep prospects in the class along with Derrick Strait, who would become one of Everage's closest friends.
Everage's impact at OU sometimes gets overshadowed by teammates Strait and Roy Williams, both Jim Thorpe Award winners.
But make no mistake, Everage might be one of the three best safeties to play under Stoops.
And no game underscores that case like Air Force.
Playing on a bum ankle he reinjured in the first quarter, Everage came back to level the Falcons with multiple vicious hits.
He finished with 12 tackles, and helped limit Air Force to 2.6 yards per carry (it averaged 5.6 against OU last season) and just three points, the Academy's first game without a touchdown in five years.
OU co-defensive coordinator Mike Stoops called Everage “fabulous.”
Stoops said he was “excellent.”
After the game, Air Force's offensive coordinator visited the Sooner locker room to pay homage, wanting to meet “that No. 7 who was causing all that havoc out there.”
Based on that game, Everage was added to the watch list for the Thorpe Award just a couple of days later.
Everage went on to a fabulous career at OU, full of game-changing plays. Among those was a crucial interception in 2002 at Missouri that set up a game-winning touchdown off a fake field goal. That same season, Everage finished with 94 tackles, six interceptions and was named an All-American.
“He played football with tremendous passion and had a special spark that inspired everyone,” Stoops said Saturday.
“We will always have fond memories of him.”