Oklahoma football: A look at the Sooners' Sugar Bowl history

OU's history in the Sugar Bowl comes in spurts. Three straight trips in the seasons from 1948 through 1950, then back-to-back trips in 1971-72.
by Berry Tramel Modified: December 28, 2013 at 2:00 pm •  Published: December 27, 2013
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photo - Elbert Van Buren (17), LSU fullback, gains three yards on a handoff from Charley Pevey (23).  He drags along Bobby Goad (80) as Norman McNabb (65) makes the tackle. The University of Oklahoma Sooners downed the Louisiana State University Tigers 35-0 in the 1950 Sugar Bowl in New Orleans. OKLAHOMAN ARCHIVE PHOTO
Elbert Van Buren (17), LSU fullback, gains three yards on a handoff from Charley Pevey (23). He drags along Bobby Goad (80) as Norman McNabb (65) makes the tackle. The University of Oklahoma Sooners downed the Louisiana State University Tigers 35-0 in the 1950 Sugar Bowl in New Orleans. OKLAHOMAN ARCHIVE PHOTO

OU's history in the Sugar Bowl comes in spurts. Three straight trips in the seasons from 1948 through 1950, then back-to-back trips in 1971-72. OU's only other Sugar Bowl appearance was in the 2003 national championship game. Here are OU's six Sugar Bowl appearances:

1948 SEASON

OU 14, North Carolina 6

Rankings & records: UNC 9-0-1, ranked third. OU 9-1, ranked fifth.

Crowd: 80,383 at Tulane Stadium.

Story: The Tar Heels were slight favorites and led 6-0 on Hosea Rodgers' first-quarter touchdown. But Myrle Greathouse returned an interception 70 yards, setting up Jack Mitchell's one-yard TD run. Lindell Pearson added a third-quarter touchdown and the Sooner defense did the rest. Tar Heel all-American tailback Charlie Choo Choo Justice gained 84 yards on 16 carries but was kept out of the end zone. Bobby Goad's late interception of a Justice pass sealed the game.

1949 SEASON

OU 35, LSU 0

Rankings & records: OU 10-0, ranked second. LSU 8-2, ranked ninth.

Crowd: 82,000 at Tulane Stadium.

Story: The spying allegations against LSU dominated the days leading up to the game. Then the Sooners dominated the game. Leon Heath ran for 170 yards on 15 carries, including touchdown runs of 86 and 34 yards. George Thomas scored two touchdowns, one on a 34-yard pass from Lindell Pearson.

1950 SEASON

Kentucky 13, OU 7

Rankings & records: OU 10-0, ranked first. Kentucky 10-1, ranked seventh.

Crowd: 80,206 at Tulane Stadium.

Story: OU's national championship team was upset by Bear Bryant's Wildcats, thanks primarily to five Sooner fumbles, ending OU's 31-game winning streak. Kentucky made just seven first downs, but quarterback Babe Parilli completed nine of 12 passes for 105 yards and a touchdown. The Sooners got a fourth-quarter TD from Merrill Green on a 17-yard pass from Billy Vessels, but a late interception ended OU's hopes. Leon Heath had another monster game for OU, gaining 121 yards on 20 carries.,

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by Berry Tramel
Columnist
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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