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Bowls and the Heisman: Looking at the Sooners' history vs. Heisman winners

OU will face Texas A&M and Johnny Manziel in the Cotton Bowl on Jan. 4. It won't be the Sooners' first bowl game against the most-recently named Heisman winner.
by Berry Tramel Published: December 10, 2012

1994: Colorado's Rashaan Salaam was not a Heisman favorite but won the trophy with a consistent season. Part of that was a four-touchdown, 161-yard (on 25 carries) game against the Sooners, in a 45-7 Buff rout.

1988: Barry Sanders put on a Heisman-worthy show every game that season. In Bedlam, Sanders carried 39 times for 215 yards and two TDs, but OU won 31-28.

1986: Vinny Testaverde became the runaway Heisman favorite even before October, passing Miami to a 28-16 victory. Testaverde completed 21 of 28 passes for 261 yards and four touchdowns in a 28-16 victory.

1983: Nebraska's Mike Rozier cemented his candidacy with a huge game in a 28-21 victory. Rozier carried 32 times for 205 yards and a touchdown.

1981: Southern Cal tailback Marcus Allen produced perhaps the greatest tailback season ever, pre-Barry Sanders, and his play against the Sooners was among his best games. In a 28-24 victory, Allen carried 39 times for 208 yards and two TDs.

1977: The Sooners contained Earl Campbell rather well, 124 yards on 23 carries and one TD, but Texas won 13-6.

1972: Wingback Johnny Rodgers felled the Sooners the year before in the Game of the Century, but in '72, OU won 17-14 and held Rodgers to five yards on four carries, plus three catches for 41 yards.

1956: Paul Hornung didn't win the Heisman for his play against OU. The Sooners won 40-0 at South Bend in late October, and Hornung completed eight of 13 passes with four interceptions.

1953: Johnny Lattner led Notre Dame to a 28-21 season-opening victory. Lattner had two interceptions, several monster punts and a variety of clutch runs and catches.

1946: Doc Blanchard won the 1945 Heisman for Army, and his teammate, Glenn Davis, won it in '46, but not necessarily because of his play in a 21-7 victory over the Sooners. Davis had an interception and two 12-yard receptions on a key TD drive.

OU Heisman winners in bowls

Of OU's five Heisman winners, only three played in a bowl game, and only Billy Sims won. Billy Vessels in 1952 and Steve Owens in 1969 ended their Heisman seasons in the Bedlam game:

1978: In OU's 31-24 Orange Bowl victory over Nebraska, Billy Sims rushed 134 yards on 25 carries, with two touchdowns.

2003: In a 21-14 loss to LSU in the Sugar Bowl national title game, an injured Jason White completed just 13 of 37 passes for 102 yards, two interceptions and no touchdowns.

2008: In a 24-14 loss to Florida in the national title game in Miami, Sam Bradford completed 26 of 41 passes for 256 yards, two TDs and two interceptions.