1980sABCAustinFootballKeith JacksonNCAANCAAFOklahoma SoonersTexas LonghornsUT Austin

NCAA Football – 1984 – Red River Shootout – Texas Longhorns VS Oklahoma Sooners – 2nd Half

DOG ASIDE: 

On October 13, 1984 at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, TX in front of a crowd of 37,794 Longhorn fans wearing burnt orange….along with 37,794 Sooner fans wearing red…..and for the first time since 1965….the Texas Longhorns (3-0) entered the Red River Rivalry game as the top-ranked team in the country. Under 8th-year head coach Fred Akers….they were the defending Southwestern Conference champions….as their disappointing 10-9 loss to Georgia in the Cotton Bowl had ruined their undefeated season and cost them a possible national championship….which would likely have been theirs after Nebraska lost to Miami later that same evening…..so, despite an all-time record 17 Longhorns being selected in the ’84 NFL draft….the Horns began the 1984 season ranked 6th….then moved up two notches before even playing a game when a win over preseason favorite and #11 Auburn was followed by an impressive win over #4 Penn State, allowing the Horns to claim the AP’s top spot in the October 2nd poll. It was the first time in three years they had been #1….since having beaten Oklahoma 34-14 to claim the spot….only to lose it a week later after a defeat to Arkansas.

The Texas offense was averaging 33.7 points per game and was very experienced. It was under the capable direction of senior QB Todd Dodge….who among his many weapons were a pair of seniors in RB Terry Orr and WR Bill Boy Bryant. The Longhorn defense had permitted only 14.3 points per game coming into this OU rivalry…..and featured a pair of senior all-conference performers in DT Tony Degrate and All-American CB Jerry Gray.  Meanwhile, the Sooners after coming off three consecutive 4-loss seasons…. began the year ranked #16 in the preseason….when they were off to their first 4-0 start in five years with wins over Stanford, #17 Pittsburgh, Baylor, and Kansas State, and entered the game ranked third, their highest entering the contest in five years. But they were still carrying a seven-game winless streak against top-ranked teams during the last 20 years….as OU came into the game with the nation’s 2nd ranked defense….having allowed an average of 9.5 points per game….who under the guidance of 4th year coordinator Gary Gibbs….it was a young, quick and menacing group that featured junior nose tackle Tony Casillas, sophomore tackle Steve Bryan, a pair of freshman ends in Troy Johnson and Darrell Reed, and a tough pair of linebackers, sophomore Paul Migliazzo and a freshman named Brian Bosworth….who hailed from Irving, TX. The offense was averaging 29.8 points per game and was an experienced group that featured seniors QB Danny Bradley, RB Steve Sewell and TE Buster Rhymes.   After the Honrs took a lead at halftime of 10 – 0…..OU 1st year offensive coordinator Mack Brown (who would leed the Longhorns to a National Championship in 2005) made some adjustments by deciding to get more physical and run straight ahead….and as it started raining pretty heavily….and the strategy began to work for the physical Sooners.

Bosworth collided with Orr and jarred the ball loose….as the Sooners recovered on the Texas 6 yard line ….when Sewell quickly capitalized by scampering in on a  5yard run….and the Longhorn lead was down to 3 points at 10 – 7.  On the next series, a pumped up Oklahoma defense stuffed Texas….when UT center Terry Steelhammer snapped the ball way over P Teltschik’s head and it rolled through the end zone for a safety….cutting the Texas lead to just 10-9…..as OU would get the ball back on the free kick.

Bradley marched the Sooners downfield with the spectacular play of Sewell….who made two crucial third down catches between the two….one a 24-yarder which moved the ball to the Texas 12….then on the next play….Sewell then sliced around the left end for a touchdown….and Oklahoma had its first lead of the day at 15-10 with only 3 minutes left in the 3rd quarter….so, ahead by 5 points with Texas within a touchdown, Switzer opted to go for two points when the attempt failed.

The tough Oklahoma defense continued to dominate….as Texas sputtered until about only six minutes remained in the game….when QB Dodge faked a screen to one back, and then another, before hitting sure-handed TE William Harris over the middle for a 20-yard gain…..followed by freshman RB Kevin Nelson breaking off a 58-yard splashing run down to the OU 2 yard line….as Texas prepared to take the lead.  However, 3 times RB Orr tried to penetrate the Sooners’ front line….but Casillas and Bosworth stuffed him each time…..then on 4th down, Texas tried another route and pitched to Nelson on a sweep…. but the rain and wet field combined to take his feet out from under him and Oklahoma took over on downs at the three-yard line after the impressive goal-line stand.

Backed up against its own end zone….it was now Oklahoma’s turn to try to move the ball….but unable to gain ground….and with a punter who already had a bobble and a couple of shanks during the game…. Switzer opted to entrust his defense and had Oklahoma deliberately do what Texas had accidentally done by having C Kevin Adkins snap the ball over P Winchester’s head to take a safety….and the Sooners still led the Horns, 15-12.  After the free kick, the Longhorns got the ball back on their 44-yard line with just 2:04 left….and as Texas was looking at 2nd and 10….Dodge attempted a pass which fell incomplete….but Sooners’ DB Keith Stanberrry was flagged for interference…..despite his argument that it was pass that was an uncatchable ball.

With new life and helped by an OU offsides penalty….Dodge directed the offense down the field by completing a 15-yard pass and an 11-yard pass….and with 10 seconds left and the ball sitting on the Oklahoma 15-yard line….and as K Ward was about to run onto the field….Akers pulled him back….as Dodge dropped back to pass to Bryant and the ball was tipped and appeared to be intercepted in the end zone by Stanberry….but an official ruled the receiver had been juggling the ball as he stepped out of bounds. Despite repeated jawing by the Sooners….Ward came in and connected on a 32-yard field goal as time expired….as both teams left the field with their fans shouting “We’re Number One, We’re Number One!”….after an epic Red River Shootout in 1984 ending in a 15 – 15 tie.

It was only the fourth tie game in the long history of the rivalry, but certainly one of the most memorable.

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