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Bedlam football: Why 2013 game ranks No. 1

by Berry Tramel Modified: December 10, 2013 at 10:05 am •  Published: December 10, 2013

Back in 2010, just before the 105th Bedlam football game, I ranked the 104 OU-OSU games from best to worst.

Then came the 2010 game, won 47-41 by OU with a flurry of touchdowns at the end. Then OSU’s historic 44-10 rout in 2011, which gave the Cowboys their first Big 12 championship. Then Bedlam football’s first overtime, won 51-48 by OU in overtime. Finally Saturday, the 33-24 thriller won by the Sooners in Stillwater.

So Saturday evening, the Boss asked me to update the list. Do an updated top 10, adding in any of the recent games if I thought they belonged. Which, of course, some of them did.

And I put 2013 No. 1.

>>PHOTO GALLERY: The unheralded plays of Bedlam 2013

Some have disagreed. Some said the game wasn’t that well-played, though I have no idea what means, unless you’re talking penalties. A good play for one team is a bad play for the other. Seems to me that’s a zero-sum game. Here’s what I need in declaring a game good, great or even a classic.

* Drama. High drama, particularly at the end.

* High stakes. Sorry, but a thriller like Bedlam 1969, with two teams going nowhere, while fun to watch, can’t match a thriller like 2010 or 2013, when the victor got much more than just bragging right.

* Protagonists. Great players doing great things. Unsung heroes.

* Memorable plays. Joe Washington’s punt return in 1974. Terry Miller’s run in 1976. Derrick Shepard’s cross-country pass reception in 1983.

2013 qualifies in every instance. Great finish, with both teams driving for have-to-have touchdowns in the final two minutes. High stakes; OSU playing for the Big 12 title, OU playing for a Sugar Bowl berth. Heroes, like Blake Bell, the first OU quarterback to beat Notre Dame since 1956 but who started the second half stuck on the bench behind never-used Kendal Thompson. Memorable plays; a fake field goal, Clint Chelf’s clutch passes, Justin Gilbert’s near-interception, Bell’s game-winner to Jalen Saunders.

Of course, the top games on my list meet these criteria, too. So maybe the tiebreaker is the stakes. The biggest problem with Bedlam has been not just the one-sidedness of the series, but the discrepancy between the teams before they play. For the vast majority of the rivalry, OU has been on top, playing to keep a special season going, while OSU is playing for relatively little other than bragging rights.

That has changed in recent years. Three of the last four Bedlams have had Big 12 championship implications. In many ways, Bedlam has become the Big 12’s game of the year, thanks in part to Texas’ demise.

So I stand by my ranking.

I know this. My heart was pounding in the final few minutes, when first Chelf and then Bell were driving their teams in do-or-die drives, with none of us knowing what would happen. It was fabulous theater.

So here’s my updated list, of the 108 Bedlam games. We ran the top 10 in the Sunday Oklahoman, but no reason not to offer up the other 98, too.


1. 2013: OU 33, OU 24. Two lead changes in the final 106 seconds, both on cross-country TD drives. Clint Chelf, the once-third teamer hero, upstaged by Blake Bell, the current third-teamer hero.

2. 2001: OSU 16-13. Upset supreme. T.D. Bryant’s catch set up Rashaun Woods’ TD catch, and OU was knocked off Rose Bowl Road.

3. 1988: OU 31, OSU 28. Garrett Limbrick’s taunting penalty put OSU in 4th-and-16 desperation with 56 seconds left. Still, Mike Gundy’s heave into the end zone found flanker Brent Parker’s hands. Parker dropped the ball.

4. 1926: Tie 14-14. OSU’s Gordon Peery threw a 29-yard TD pass to Claude Poole with less than a minute left, capping a 70-yard drive that set a standard for early two-minute offenses.

5. 2012: OU 51-48, overtime. Landry Jones directed a late touchdown drive that was capped by his backup, Blake Bell, on a fourth-down TD run to force OT.

6. 2004: OU 38-35. It all came down to Jason Ricks’ 49-yard field goal with 15 seconds left. The kick sailed wide left.

7. 1969: OU 28, OSU 27. OU’s Albert Qualls sacked OSU’s Bob Cutberth on a 2-point conversion play with 1:15 left.

8. 1983: OU 21-20. The Sooners trailed 20-3 with 10 minutes left. But OU rallied with a series of weird plays, and OU’s Tim Lashar kicked a 46-yard field goal to win it.

9. 2010: OU 47-41. In the final 200 seconds, OU’s Landry Jones threw touchdown passes of 86 yards to Cam Kenney and 76 yards to James Hanna, sandwiched around Justin Gilbert’s 89-yard kickoff return for a TD. And OSU also kicked a field goal during the late madness.

10. 1965: OSU 17-16. Lynn Chadwick’s spectacular catch set up Charles Durkee’s 35-yard field goal with 1:41 left, ending OU’s 19-game Bedlam winning streak.

11. 1948: OU 19-15. A classic battle of conference champs, with OU winning thanks to Darrell Royal’s interception and Jim Owens’ sack of Jack Hartman.

12. 1966: OSU 15, OU 14. OSU hadn’t won Bedlam at home in 24 years until Cowboys Willard Nahrgang and Charley Trimble nailed OU tailback Ron Shotts on a 2-point conversion screen pass.

13. 1976: OSU 31-24. Terry Miller rushed for 159 yards at Owen Field and OSU went on to claim its only Big Eight title.

14. 1992: Tie 15-15. OSU’s Lawson Vaughn and OU’s Scott Blanton each kicked field goals in the final two minutes.

15. 1958: OU 7-0. Quarterback Bobby Boyd’s 31-yard TD run with five minutes left averted a scoreless tie.

16. 2000: OU 12-7. Bob Simmons’ final game. The top-ranked Sooners held on when freshman Derrick Strait knocked away an end-zone pass to Marcellus Rivers.

17. 1924: OSU 6-0. OSU’s second Bedlam victory ever came courtesy of a TD run by Jim Lookabaugh, who would coach his alma mater to its greatest glories.

18. 2006: OU 27-21. Sooner safety Lendy Holmes tipped backup quarterback Zac Robinson’s desperation pass on the game’s final play, preventing D’Juan Woods from a 25-yard TD catch.

19. 1964: OU 21-16. Bobby Page threw two fourth-quarter TD passes to Ben Hart.

20. 1947: OU 21-13. In a classic battle of quarterback Jacks. OU’s Mitchell, OSU’s Hartman. the Sooners won with two fourth-quarter TDs by George Thomas.

21. 1984: OU 24-14. Teams ranked No. 2 and 3 benefited from dubious officiating calls. Rusty Hilger’s second-half concussion ended OSU hopes.

22. 1921: OU 6-0. Six OSU regulars were ineligible for the game because of restrictions by the Missouri Valley, OU’s league.

23. 2008: OU 61-41. Wild shootout in which the Sooners scored the final 17 points and the teams combined for 1,009 total yards.

24. 1917: OSU 9-0. OSU finally broke its Bedlam drought, setting off a celebration in Stillwater when a telegraph relayed the news.

25. 1985: OU 13-0. The Ice Bowl. Tim Lashar kicked two field goals. Spencer Tillman ran for a TD.

26. 1959: OU 17-7. Two fourth quarter TDs, the first on Ronnie Hartline’s 31-yard run, held off the upset.

27. 2002: OSU 38-28. Hey, there goes Rashaun Woods for another TD.

28. 1977: OU 61-28. OSU led 28-21 in the third quarter, but Thomas Lott’s 80-yard run ignited an avalanche of big plays.

29. 1961: OU 21-13. OSU’s Jim Dillard fumbled into the end zone from the OU 1-yard line, and Sooner Wayne Lee recovered for a touchback.

30. 1923: OU 12-0. Eddie Johnson’s 90-yard interception return for a late TD ranks as one of Bedlam’s greatest plays.

31. 1989: OU 37-15. OSU drew within 23-15 late in the third quarter, but Mike Gaddis struck with an 80-yard TD run.

32. 1922: Tie 3-3. OSU dominated, but OU’s James Marsh blocked a field goal try.

33. 1996: OU 27-17. DeMond Parker ran for 166 yards and James Allen 128.

34. 2011: OSU 44-10. The Cowboy defense scored one touchdown and darn near scored another to ignite a route and give OSU its first Big 12 title.

35 1954: OU 14-0. Quarterback Gene Calame scored on a 1-yard run on the last play of the first half.

36. 1942: Tie 0-0. OU’s Dub Lamb dragged down Oscar Williams a foot shy of the end zone on fourth down in the second quarter.

37. 1930: OSU 7-0. Hayden Trigg ran 26 yards for a TD on the game’s seventh play.

38. 1927: OSU 13-7. OSU’s Ab Wright threw the winning TD pass in the final game between the Bedlam rivals as Missouri Valley members.

39. 1990: OU 31-17. Cale Mary. Freshman quarterback Cale Gundy’s 52 yard TD pass to Adrian Cooper on the final play of the first half sparked OU.

40. 1929: Tie 7-7. OSU coach Lynn Waldorf, who went 3-0-2 vs. OU, made his Bedlam debut.

41. 1940: OU 29-27. OSU scored 21 points in the last 3 1/2 minutes to surpassed 14 for the first time ever in Bedlam.

42. 1974: OU 44-13. With 18 minutes left, OSU led 13-10. But OU reeled off five TDs, including Joe Washington’s greatest run, a disappearing act on a 57 yard punt return.

43. 1908: OU 18-0. Sooners scored three second-half TDs. OSU’s biggest threat came on a run to the 10-yard line by THE Ed Gallagher.

44. 1995: OSU 12-0. Tone’ Jones’ 47-yard pass to Terrance Richardson set up the lone TD, and OSU celebrated its first Bedlam win in 19 years.

45. 1913: OU 7-0. Claude Reeds, OU’s first All-American, scored the game’s only touchdown.

46. 1987: OU 29-10. Lasting image: Sooner quarterback Jamelle Holieway, with a blown knee, limping into the arms of OSU coach Pat Jones.

47. 1910: OU 12-0. Harry Price scored on a blocked punt and Earle Radcliffe scored on an onside kick.

48. 1932: OSU 7-0. Clarence High passed the Pokes downfield, then scored on a 1-yard sneak.

49. 1941: OU 19-0. OSU was inside the OU 5-yard line six times but did not score.

50. 1960: OU 17-6. A post-game brawl between OU’s Ruf-Neks and OSU students sent 15 people to the hospital.

51. 1981: OU 27-3. OSU entered with a better record and a higher Big Eight standing, but John Truitt’s 3-yard intercepted return for a TD sparked OU.

52. 1933: OSU 13-0. Gov. Alfalfa Bill Murray ordered the National Guard to serve as ticket sellers, saying he had heard rumors of misuse of athletic funds.

53. 1943: OU 22-13. In the first Bedlam game played in Oklahoma City since 1919, Rice transfer Bob Brumley scored 16 points for the Sooners.

54. 1975: OU 27-7. OU’s defense dominated. Dewey Selmon stuffed OSU fullback Robert Turner on 4th-and-goal from the 1-yard line.

55. 2003: OU 52-9. Bob Stoops exacted revenge of two straight Bedlam defeats. Defining image: brother Mike motioning to the OSU sideline with his arms out and palms up.

56. 1950: OU 41-14. Claude Arnold threw four first-half TD passes as the Sooners secured their first national title.

57. 1982: OU 27-9. OSU trailed just 13-9 in the third quarter, but OSU’s Stanley Blair fumbled Michael Keeling’s 62-yard punt, setting up Marcus Dupree’s TD.

58. 1912: OU 16-0. Bedlam started brewing, as 300 fans and a band traveled to Norman on a special train, the biggest visiting contingent to OU at that time.

59. 1986: OU 19-0. Tim Lashar kicked four field goals, and OU’s defense ran its Bedlam shutout streak to almost 10 quarters.

60. 1963: OU 34-10. New OSU coach Phil Cutchin had the Cowboys up 10-7 in the third quarter. But OU scored four TDs to roll.

61. 1937: OU 16-0. Jack Baer scored a TD and kicked a school-record 46-yard field goal.

62. 1991: OU 21-6. OU staged a goal line stand, turning back OSU after 2nd-and-goal at the 1-yard line late in the third.

63. 1914: OU 28-6. OU ruined OSU’s 5-0 start to the season, but the Pokes finally scored their first Bedlam points.

64. 1998: OSU 41-26. OSU beat OU in Stillwater for the first time since 1966 and sealed John Blake’s fate.

65. 1916: OU 41-7. Tommy Graham scored two first-quarter touchdowns.

66. 2009: OU 27-0. The Cowboys managed just six first downs and 109 total yards, and Ryan Broyles’ 87-yard punt return secured the victory.

67. 1918: OU 27-0. Earl Pritchard, who in 1917 coached OSU to its first Bedlam victory, returned from the war two days before the game and reassumed command of the team.

68. 1915: OU 26-7. 5,000 fans saw the game at Oklahoma City’s Fair Park, where OSU took its first Bedlam lead before Trim Capshaw scored two TDs.

69. 2005: OU 42-14. Adrian Peterson ran for 237 yards, including a 71-yard TD in the fourth quarter that put away the Cowboys.

70. 1935: OU 25-0. Big Bill Breeden scored on a 2-yard run for OU’s first Bedlam points since 1929.

71. 1951: OU 41-6. OSU’s 6-1-1-2-1 defense clogged the middle against fullback Buck McPhail, but quarterback Eddie Crowder directed the rout.

72. 1906: OU 23-0. OSU played tougher in the series’ second meeting, coach Bennie Owen’s first Bedlam game.

73. 1925: OU 35-0. Bennie Owen’s last Bedlam victory. OU led just 7-0 at half.

74. 1911: OU 22-0. OSU didn’t score in its first eight Bedlam games but came close here. Frank Comstock returned a fumble 51 yards before OU’s Claude Reeds ran him down at the 4-yard line.

75. 1973: OU 45-18. Jimbo Elrod’s blocked punt ignited the Sooners, who capped their first unbeaten season since 1956.

76. 1997: OSU 30-7. OSU came in with a better record and higher ranking than OU for the first time since 1945.

77. 2007: OU 49-17. Allen Patrick ran for 202 yards as the Sooners clinched the Big 12 South title.

78. 1949: OU 41-0. Jim Lookabaugh’s last game after 11 years as OSU’s coach came at Owen Field. P.A. announcer Bruce Drake paid tribute to Lookabaugh, and the Sooner crowd of 47,937 offered a tremendous ovation.

79. 1967: OU 38-14. Steve Owens ran for 136 yards and Ron Shotts added 108 as the Sooner tailbacks finished 1-2 in Big Eight rushing.

80. 1944: OSU 28-6. OSU dominated the last Bedlam game played at Taft Stadium; as Bob Fenimore scored the Pokes’ only offensive TD and OSU accepted a bid to the Cotton Bowl.

81. 1972: OU 38-15. Dave Robertson threw a 68-yard TD pass to Albert Chandler on the game’s fourth play.

82. 1919: OU 33-6. In the last Oklahoma City Bedlam game for 24 years, Myron Tyler blocked three OSU punts.

83. 1956: OU 53-0. In the final moments, Bud Wilkinson inserted an all senior team that marched to the OSU 2 yard line. Tackle Ed Gray and halfback Clendon Thomas traded positions, and Gray scored the only TD of his career.

84. 1962: OU 37-6. Monte Deere threw three TD passes.

85. 1936: OU 35-13. The Sooners sent coach Biff Jones out a winner. Jones, a member of the military, had been transferred to Fort Leavenworth days before.

86. 1994: OU 33-14. Jerald Moore ran for five touchdowns in the last Bedlam game for coaches Gary Gibbs and Pat Jones.

87. 1957: OU 53-6. In their first home game since ending a 47-game winning streak, the Sooners rolled against an OSU team that stood 6-2-1.

88. 1968: OU 41-7. Sooner quarterback Bobby Warmack ran for two TDs and passed for two more.

89. 1953: OU 42-7. OU entered 8 1-1, OSU 7-2, but OU rolled after OSU’s Bobby Green returned a first-quarter punt 57 yards for a TD.

90. 1938: OU 19-0. The Sooners stayed on track for the Orange Bowl.

91. 1999: OU 44-7. Josh Heupel completed 22 of 32 passes and OU kept OSU from qualifying for a bowl.

92. 1920: OU 36-0. Harry Hill, OU’s Flying Dutchman, scored four touchdowns.

93. 1931: Tie 0-0. Owen Field was muddy, slippery and frigid, leading to a game of few gains and many fumbles.

94. 1945: OSU 47-0. Bob Fenimore ran back the opening kickoff 59 yards to spark the most lopsided loss in OU history, until 1996.

95. 1979: OU 38-7. A new feud. Bedlam week started with news that Barry Switzer angered Jimmy Johnson with a couple of alleged minor recruiting violations, one of which Switzer admitted to. The week ended with Billy Sims’ four TDs.

96. 1939: OU 41-0. Beryl Clark led the Sooner rout in Jim Lookabaugh’s first Bedlam game as OSU’s coach.

97. 1934: Tie 0-0. OSU shut out OU for the fifth straight time.

98. 1980: OU 63-14. J.C. Watts scored four TDs to douse the hopes of Orange Bowl officials invited OU but openly preferred Nebraska.

99. 1952: OU 54-7. OSU’s Bill Bredde returned the opening kick 98 yards, but the Sooners dominated.

100. 1904: OU 75-0. The first Bedlam game. and one of the most famous, thanks to Cottonwood Creek in Guthrie. A freezing wind blew a punt back behind the goal. Under the rules of the day, the ball was free even if out of bounds. It ended up in the creek, with wet players in tow.

101. 1970: OU 66-6. The OU wishbone’s first big explosion, the Sooners zoomed to a 45-0 halftime lead.

102. 1928: OU 46-0. A crowd of 10,000 in Stillwater was disappointed by the largest Bedlam rout since 1906. Earl Flint’s 33-yard TD run was the highlight.

103. 1978: OU 62-7. Billy Sims ran 209 yards to break Terry Miller’s Big Eight rushing record of 1,680, then the Sooners celebrated news they would get an Orange Bowl rematch with Nebraska.

104. 1955: OU 53-0. Clendon Thomas’ 65-yard punt return sparked the rout.

105. 1946: OU 73-12. Sooner coach Jim Tatum’s only Bedlam game started an amazing run of domination. Between 1945 and 1995, OU went 45-3-1 against OSU.

106. 1971: OU 58-14. Playing nine days after the Game of the Century against Nebraska, the Sooners rolled up 696 total yards.

107. 1907: OU 67-0. A battle of brothers. OSU’s Roy Campbell and OU’s Ralph Campbell were dueling centers who battled throughout the blowout.

108. 1993: OU 31-0. OSU recorded just one first down, and that came on a fourth-down, roughing-the-kicker penalty.


by Berry Tramel
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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