2000 National Champions
With a young team and one of the toughest schedules of any Big 12 squad, the 2000 Sooners took to the field with everything to gain and nothing to lose. OU rolled through its four September games, outscoring its opponents 176-51 and setting up contests with three nationally-ranked teams: Texas (10), Kansas State (2) and Nebraska (1).
Now referred to as "Red October," the Sooners dismantled the Longhorns, 63-14, won at K-State, 41-31, and handled the top-ranked Huskers, 31-14. The victories against KSU and Nebraska marked the first time in NCAA history that one team had defeated the No. 1 and No. 2 ranked teams in consecutive games.
At the top of every national poll for the first time since the end of the 1985 season, OU found itself navigating uncharted waters. Now the hunted and just four victories away from the third 11-0 regular season in school history, the Sooners moved through November with caution.
Starting the stretch run with a 56-7 win at Baylor, OU faced Texas A&M in College Station, where the Aggies had lost just six times in the last 12 years.
Trailing 24-13 heading into the final quarter and 31-21 with just eight minutes to play, OU was looking for the famous Sooner Magic to make an appearance. After Quentin Griffin scored to cut the Aggie lead to three (31-28) with 7:43 remaining, it was time for the defense to make a statement.
On the very first offensive play for A&M, Oklahoma linebacker Torrance Marshall intercepted a pass and returned it 41 yards for the game-winning touchdown. A&M drove to the Sooner 10-yard line on its next possession, but the Aggies were stopped four times trying to get into the end zone.
The Sooners finished the regular season with wins over Texas Tech (27-13) and Oklahoma State (12-7) to set up a rematch with the Wildcats of Kansas State for the Big 12 championship and a chance to play for a national title against Florida State in the Orange Bowl.
Once again the Sooner defense stepped up to hold K-State to just 239 total yards of offense (185 below its average). Offensively, Josh Heupel accounted for 21 points with a TD run and two scoring passes. When placekicker Tim Duncan hit a career-long 46-yard field goal with 1:25 to play, the Sooners were headed to Miami.
With the entire nation looking on, No. 1 Oklahoma used a smothering defense to shut down the third-ranked Seminoles and Heupel generated enough offense to lead the Sooners to a perfect season. The Sooners beat Bobby Bowden and FSU, 13-2, at the Orange Bowl in Miami.
Heupel more than made up for his runner-up finish to Florida State's Chris Weinke in the Heisman Trophy race by outplaying him in the biggest game of his life. The left-hander from Aberdeen, S.D., completed 25-of-39 passes for 214 yards and kept the Seminoles off balance all night.
Led by Orange Bowl MVP Torrance Marshall, the Sooners time and again forced Weinke into bad decisions. At least half a dozen passes were in the hands of Sooner defenders but dropped.
Tim Duncan kicked two field goals and Quentin Griffin scored the clinching touchdown on a 10-yard run up the middle with 8:30 to play. Florida State avoided its first shutout in 12 seasons when Stanford Samuels tackled OU punter Jeff Furguson in the end zone for a safety with 55 seconds remaining in the game.
Florida State got the ball back on the ensuing free kick, but Weinke's 29-yard pass into the end zone was intercepted by Ontei Jones with 16 seconds left and the celebration began.
After Heupel took a knee and the clock ran down, the Pride of Oklahoma broke out in yet another rendition of Boomer Sooner and the players and fans converged on the field to celebrate.
Stoops hugged players and assistants after OU clinched its seventh national title as many in the crowd of 76,835 at Pro Player Stadium cheered.