No Contest: OU 47, Texas 12

Bob Hersom Published: October 12, 1986
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DALLAS Was Oklahoma that good? Or was Texas that bad?

That was what most people were wondering Saturday, after the football Sooners lassoed the Longhorns like they've seldom been lassoed before.

It was, officially, Oklahoma 47, Texas 12, in their annual Red River Riot at the Cotton Bowl, on ABC split-national television. But it was really hold-down-the-score Oklahoma against score-against-reserves Texas.

Who knows what the winning margin might have been if OU coach Barry Switzer weren't coaching against Fred Akers, his ex-Arkansas teammate and, according to thousands of Texans, soon-to-be ex-UT football coach.

The 35-point loss was: The 10th-worst in Texas' 94-year football history.

The Sooners' fourth-highest victory margin in the series, behind 50 (50-0) in 1908, 45 (45-0) in 1956 and 39 (52-13) in 1973.

And Texas' most lopsided loss since a 55-17 pummeling by Iowa in the 1984 Freedom Bowl.

OU's point total ranks as the fifth-highest in the 81-game Sooner-Longhorn series, behind 52 in 1973, 50 in 1908, 49 in 1952 and 48 in 1971.

The sixth-ranked and 4-1 Sooners scored the first three times they had the football and on five of their first six possessions to build a 31-0 halftime lead. It was 38-0 less than five minutes into the second half.

And it could have been even more lopsided, as OU used reserves throughout the second half. Starting quarterback Jamelle Holieway played in only six of OU's 13 series the first five of the game, and the first of the final half. In those six series Holieway guided OU to four touchdowns and one field goal.

"The option worked as well today as it ever has," Holieway said after running his record to 11-1 as OU's starting quarterback. "But it was because of the downfield blocking. I thought Texas was better than Miami at the line of scrimmage, but a lot of times it was easy once you got beyond the line."

Second-team quarterback Eric Mitchel, who entered the game with 5:18 left in the first half and OU leading, 24-0, guided the Sooners to two touchdowns in five series.

Third-team quarterback Glenn Sullivan played the final 7:47, for two series.

OU outgained Texas, 467-247. The Sooners' total yardage was their highest against Texas since netting 508 in 1973, Switzer's first year as OU head coach. Since 1946, OU has gained more than 467 yards against Texas only three times (508 in 1973, 475 in 1971 and 502 in 1956).

The Sooners' rushing total Saturday of 396 yards has been topped only one time by OU against Texas since 1946 when OU rushed for 435 yards in 1971, with Switzer serving as Sooner offensive coordinator under head coach Chuck Fairbanks.

No Sooner rushed for 100 yards Saturday, but Holieway ran 14 times for 95 yards, left halfback Spencer Tillman had 75 yards on just eight carries and right halfback Patrick Collins ran four times for 47 yards and scored three touchdowns for the first time in his OU career.

"Patrick Collins was outstanding, but we knew he could play that well," Switzer said. "It looked like he was trying for the Heisman Trophy."

"We had our heads on our shoulders right today and we executed properly," Collins said. "I was fortunate to get some great blocks out there today. I haven't scored three touchdowns in a game since high school."

No Longhorn rushed for more than 12 yards, as the UT running game netted just 29 yards on 29 carries, nearly repeating their 17 yards rushing in last year's 14-7 loss to OU.

Without a running game, Texas launched a record-breaking passing attack. Quarterbacks Bret Stafford and Donovan Forbes, under pressure all day even though OU used five defensive backs throughout, completed a school record 22 of 39 passes for 218 yards.

The Texas record had been 21 completions against Arkansas in 1981.

OU completed only two of six passes for 71 yards, but one was Mitchel's 56-yard touchdown toss to tight end Keith Jackson that gave OU a 31-0 lead with 3:40 left in the first half.

The loss dropped Texas' record to 2-2 and intensified rumors that Akers would be coaching in his final OU-Texas showdown.

Akers, now 5-4-1 against OU, offered the ultimate in praise for the Sooners.

"I really believe this is the best Oklahoma team I have seen," Akers said, "and I have been on that field a lot of times. I don't know if a team can play better. They played flawless football."

No one could question Akers' final sentence, as the Sooners never fumbled and never threw a pass interception. Texas, meanwhile, lost one of two fumbles and had one pass intercepted.

Switzer, now 7-5-2 against Texas, said "the key to the game for us was that we had no turnovers, not a single fumble or interception. When we play that well on offense, we can win."

The OU defense also played well, as 137 of Texas' 247 yards and nine of the Longhorns' 13 first downs came in the final 25 minutes, when OU substituted freely after building a 38-0 lead.

So, what was it? Is OU this good, or is Texas this bad?

"This is a game of talent," Switzer said, "and Oklahoma just happens to have more talent than Texas has this year."

Texas wide receiver Everett Gay said, "We came into this game wanting to prove to everybody that we're better than they have been saying. I really felt like we were going to win it. But Oklahoma just played too great."

Noted Texas-baiter and OU linebacker Brian Bosworth, with his famous hairdo dyed orange, smiled and said, "Sure, I knew we'd win. I predicted 63-0, so I really blew it. At halftime we were already celebrating and having fun on the sidelines. That's kind of a bad thing to do, maybe, but we knew the game was out of hand."

OU, which has outscored its four victims, 204-25, will entertain Oklahoma State next Saturday on Owen Field, in the Sooners' second-to-last home game of the season. Four of OU's final five games are on the road.

OU won the pre-game coin toss and elected to take the second-half option. Texas then chose to receive the football.

After a UT punt, OU took over at its 48-yard line and began an eight-play, 52-yard touchdown drive.

On third-and-four, left halfback Tillman zipped 26 yards around right end, to the UT 21. With that gain, Tillman became the 12th OU player and 45th in Big Eight history to rush for 2,000 yards.

Five snaps later, right halfback Collins scored easily on a nine-yard run around left end after taking a pitch from Holieway. No Longhorn was within five yards of Collins as he sprinted into the end zone with 10:42 left in the first quarter, 3:17 after OU took possession.


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by Diana Baldwin
Sr. Reporter
Diana Baldwin has been an Oklahoma journalist since 1976 and came to The Oklahoman in 1991. She covered the Oklahoma City bombing and covered the downfall of Oklahoma City police forensic chemist Joyce Gilchrist misidentifying evidence. She wrote...
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