Working double-time for the double-nickel
As a team, Oklahoma probably won’t rush the ball 55 times Saturday when it plays Oklahoma State on Owen Field.
Much has been written and re-written about Steve Owens carrying the ball 55 times all by himself against the Cowboys in 1969, just days after learning he won the 1969 Heisman Trophy. Owens gained 261 yards and the Sooners stopped a two-point conversion to hang on for a 28-27.
A Friday story in The Oklahoman quoted former OU assistant Larry Lacewell as saying Owens’ heroics that day probably saved jobs for the Sooners’ entire coaching staff. Barry Switzer has often said the same. But some credit also should go to Owens’ former teammate Steve Zabel.
One of the best athletes in OU history, Zabel played tight end and defensive end for the Sooners. Countless times, Zabel has heard people ask Owens about his 55-carry day in Stillwater. This is when Zabel can’t resist taking a playful jab at Owens, his close friend of more than 40 years.
“People always tell Steve, ‘I can’t believe you carried the ball 55 times against Oklahoma State,’ ” Zabel said. ”Well, I couldn’t believe it either. Because every down I played, I had either (All-American offensive tackle) John Ward or (future four-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle) Jerry Sherk on my nose that entire game.
“So you tell me, who did the work?”
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