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 Greatest Wins of the 2000s
Sooner fans cast more than 38,000 votes during May and June at SoonerSports.com for their top 10 wins of OU's championship run in the 2000s. Check back each week during the summer as we reveal the fan's favorite 10 wins leading up to No. 1.
 
  The Countdown

No. 1: Oklahoma 13, Florida State 2
January 3, 2001 | Video Highlights | Photos
Pro Player Stadium | Miami, Fla.
 
No. 2: Oklahoma 63, Texas 14
October 7, 2000 | Video Highlights | Photos
Cotton Bowl Stadium | Dallas, Texas
 
No. 3: Oklahoma 65, Texas 13
October 11, 2003 | Video Highlights | Photos
Cotton Bowl Stadium | Dallas, Texas
 
No. 4: Oklahoma 31, Nebraska 14
October 28, 2000 | Video Highlights | Photos
Memorial Stadium | Norman, Okla.
 
No. 5: Oklahoma 35, Texas A&M 31
November 11, 2000 | Watch Video Highlights
Kyle Field | College Station, Texas
 
No. 6: Oklahoma 38, Missouri 17
December 1, 2007 | Video Highlights | Photos
Alamodome | San Antonio, Texas
 
No. 7: Oklahoma 14, Texas 3
October 6, 2001 | Video Highlights | Photos
Cotton Bowl Stadium | Dallas, Texas
 
No. 8: Oklahoma 12, Texas 0
October 9, 2004 | Video Highlights | Photos
Cotton Bowl Stadium | Dallas, Texas
 
No. 9: Oklahoma 41, Kansas State 31
October 14, 2000 | Video Highlights | Photos
KSU Stadium | Manhattan, Kan.
 
No. 10: Oklahoma 20, Alabama 13
September 6, 2003 | Video Highlights | Photos
Bryant-Denny Stadium | Tuscaloosa, Ala.
 
  Greatest Plays of the 2000s

Now that Sooner fans have voted for their favorite wins of the 2000s, we're asking for your input on the top 10 plays. Watch video of these 20 options and vote online.
 
  2008 Oklahoma Football

The Sooners are again in the hunt for the BCS National Championship. Pundits are already ranking OU in the top 5 this fall. And, don't forget, head coach Bob Stoops and the Sooners will aim for an unprecedented third consecutive Big 12 Conference championship. SoonerSports.com will begin complete coverage of preseason football when the Sooners put on the pads in August.
 
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  No. 1: Oklahoma 13, Florida State 2

January 3, 2001 |VideoWatch Video Highlights |PhotosPhoto Gallery
 
Featuring two of the nation's top scoring teams, this was a game that figured to keep the scoreboard busy. Oklahoma's defense set the tone from the start, however, carrying the Sooners to their seventh national title. Only a bad snap over punter Jeff Ferguson's head in the final minute, which resulted in a safety, prevented the shutout.
 
Why it was great: No. 1 Oklahoma finished the 2000 season as the nation's only unbeaten team with a 13-2 shutdown of Florida State in the National Championship Game at the Orange Bowl. The program's seventh title capped a magical season for the Sooners in head coach Bob Stoops' second year at the helm in Norman.
 
Florida State, under head coach Bobby Bowden, represented the cream of college football in the 90s and marched into the game as the defending national champs. FSU quarterback Chris Weinke, who nabbed the Heisman Trophy over Oklahoma QB Josh Heupel, directed an explosive Seminole offense that rolled into Pro Player Stadium averaging 42.4 points per game.
 
Indeed, Florida State was installed as a 10.5-point favorite and most observers expected Oklahoma to come crashing back to reality after 12 consecutive wins and the program's first Big 12 title. As the game unfolded, it became clear that the oddsmakers hadn't fully appreciated the magic brewing in Norman all season long.
 
Oklahoma's defense smothered Weinke and held the FSU offense to just 301 total yards -- 248 below its average. Even more impressive, the Seminoles never crossed the goal line and avoided a shutout only when a snap sailed over the head of OU punter Jeff Ferguson with 55 seconds remaining in the game. Ferguson wisely gave FSU just two points, covering the ball in the end zone for the safety.
 
The Oklahoma offense provided a six-point lead heading into the fourth quarter but Sooner fans sweated the slim margin until All-American linebacker Rocky Calmus nailed Weinke with a jarring hit, knocking the ball loose. Roy Williams recovered the fumble at the FSU 15-yard line and two plays later, running back Quentin Griffin waltzed through the middle of the Seminole defense for the game's only touchdown.
 
Oklahoma's 13-2 victory clinched the school's seventh national championship since 1950 and vaulted the Sooners back into the elite of college football. Although not known at the time, it also signalled the end of a dynasty in Tallahassee. This performance would go down as arguably the greatest demonstration of defense in a college football national title game.
 
For Sooner fans, there is no argument. This is the greatest win of the 2000s. But remember, this decade isn't over yet.
 
 
1st
2nd
3rd
4th
F
 Florida State
0
0
0
2
2
 Oklahoma
3
0
3
7
13

Game balls go to:

Torrance Marshall | Senior Linebacker
Earned Orange Bowl MVP with defensive performance.

Josh Heupel | Senior Quarterback
Outplayed the Heisman winner when it counted the most.

Rocky Calmus | Junior Linebacker
Supplied constant pressure which eventually cracked Weinke.

The Quote: "Our players recognize the history of Oklahoma is winning championships. We already have six, now we have seven. It's easy to say Oklahoma is back!"
- Head Coach Bob Stoops
 
Our Take: We settled on five criteria for what makes a great football game and used those as guides to select the initial 20 wins of the 2000s to present to fans: buildup, setting, memorable plays, exciting game and ramifications. Here's how the 2001 Orange Bowl game in Miami scored for us:
 
Buildup | No. 1 and undefeated Oklahoma vs. the vaunted Seminoles of Florida State in the Orange Bowl for all the marbles. After all the bowl season dust had settled, these two were left to decide the game's highest prize. Hard to top a national championship game for medial attention and frenzied fan base.

 
Setting | It wasn't the old Orange Bowl down in little Havana where Oklahoma had written so much history over the years. But Pro Player Stadium provided the stage for college football's premiere game of the 2000 season and the Sooners still performed like champs.

 
Memorable Plays | This game had plenty, mostly on the defensive side of the ball: Derrick Strait and Roy Williams shutting down the pass lanes, Rocky Calmus and Torrance Marshall with fearsome hits and the OU defensive front chasing Weinke ragged. But the signature moment came on offense (set up by a forced fumble) when Quentin Griffin took a handoff from Heupel and dashed into the end zone to seal the game.

 
Exciting Game | If anxiety is a form of excitement, this one was a barnburner for three and a half quarters. For Sooner fans, the six-point lead never felt safe. This was Florida State on the other side of the ball and every fan could envision a freak, quick strike from the Seminoles to take the lead. Little did they know that Duncan's field goal just seven minutes into the game would provide all the points OU would need. With seven minutes left in the game, Griffin crossed the goal line and OU went up, 13-0. It's probably the first time most Sooner fans allowed themselves off the edge of their seats, if just a little. By the time the clock hit zero, the seats had been knocked over and the celebration was in full swing.

 
Ramifications | Simply put, this win brought Oklahoma football back from its deepest throes of the 90s. The new decade would witness OU re-assert itself as a college football power. The Sooners will win more championships in the future but a season like this, where OU came from so far down in the polls to emerge on top may not be replicated soon.

 
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  No. 2: Oklahoma 63, Texas 14

October 7, 2000 |VideoWatch Video Highlights |PhotosPhoto Gallery
 
There was never a doubt in this one, as Oklahoma began a memorable October run by running all over its arch-rival. Quentin Griffin set a school record with six rushing touchdowns, while OU held the Longhorns to -7 yards on the ground. The rout put an exclamation mark on a great start and signaled bigger things were yet to come.
 
Why it was great: The 95th meeting between OU and Texas was settled in the rain at Cotton Bowl Stadium in Dallas. The wet weather didn't slow the Oklahoma offense as the Sooners used a 29-yard TD strike from Josh Heupel to Andre Woolfolk to draw first blood at the 11:37 mark in the first quarter.
 
The Sooners scored again in the opening stanza when Heupel optioned to his left from the Texas two and running back Quentin Griffin -- making his first appearance in the Red River Rivalry -- rolled across the goal line.
 
Oklahoma pulled away in the second quarter, dropping 28 points on the Horns and surging to a 42-0 lead before Texas finally scored with three minutes left in the half. Linebacker Rocky Calmus returned an interception 41 yards for a score and the rout was on. UT would score just once more, in the fourth quarter, after the game had long been decided.
 
Griffin apparently enjoyed the ambiance in the Cotton Bowl end zone. The sophomore from Aldine, Texas, amassed six rushing touchdowns in the game, breaking the school record of five shared by Steve Owens (vs. Nebraska, 1968) and Jerald Moore (vs. OSU, 1994).
 
When the smoke cleared, OU's defense had smothered the Texas ground game, pushing UT back for minus seven yards overall and holding the Horns to just 154 yards of total offense and 14 points.
 
The 49-point win against Texas in 2000 set the stage for "Red October" as the Sooners would next defeat No. 2 Kansas State in Manhattan and No. 1 Nebraska in Norman to vault to the top of the polls. Navigating the remainder of the schedule unscathed, OU would clinch the program's first Big 12 title en route to the program's seventh national crown in the Orange Bowl vs. Florida State.
 
Although the 51-6 victory against Texas A&M in October of Coach Stoops' inaugural season in 1999 provided a hint of things to come, the 2000 Texas game served as official notice to the rest of the conference and the nation that Oklahoma football was back.
 
The 63-14 win certainly signaled a seismic shift in OU's rivalry with Texas. Oklahoma would win five consecutive against the Longhorns and six of eight from 2000-07. The Sooners would go on to clinch the South Division six times and the Big 12 Conference title five times after this game.
 
 
1st
2nd
3rd
4th
F
 Texas
0
7
0
7
14
 Oklahoma
14
28
14
7
63

Game balls go to:

Quentin Griffin | Sophomore Running Back
Set school record with six rushing touchdowns on 87 yards.

Josh Heupel | Senior Quarterback
17-of-27 passes for 275 yards, one TD and no interceptions.

The Oklahoma Defense
Held Texas to -7 yards on the ground and just two scores.

The Quote: "Texas is a good team but our guys were determined to make a statement about how good we might be. I'm happy for our players, our assistant coaches and happy for our fans."
- Head Coach Bob Stoops
 
Our Take: We settled on five criteria for what makes a great football game and used those as guides to select the initial 20 wins of the 2000s to present to fans: buildup, setting, memorable plays, exciting game and ramifications. Here's how the 2000 OU-Texas game in Dallas scored for us:
 
Buildup | No. 11 Texas was the first of six ranked opponents the Sooners would defeat during the 2000 season (No. 2 Kansas State, No. 1 Nebraska, No. 23 Texas A&M, No. 8 Kansas State and No. 3 Florida State). 2000 marked OU's first victory in the series since an overtime win in 1996.

 
Setting | As always, the Cotton Bowl in Dallas housed an overflow crowd split down the 50-yard line. Rain didn't dampen the emotions of the crowd and no one (at least on the Oklahoma side of the stadium) left their seat before the final gun sounded. This was a statement game for the team to their fans, opponents and college football overall. The Sooners were back.

 
Memorable Plays | The image of Quentin Griffin crossing the goal line must have seemed like a DVD gone bad for the Horns, repeating the same scene over and over. The option toss on his first touchdown in the first quarter was signature Sooners as was Rocky Calmus' 41-yard interception return for a score in the second. Quarterback Josh Heupel was brilliant with 275 yards passing, a TD and no interceptions.

 
Exciting Game | This one-sided affair got out of hand in the second quarter when the Sooners pushed to a 42-0 lead before the Longhorns could score a point. Once Oklahoma added another 14 in the third, moving to 56-7, most on the Texas side had seen enough and headed for the exits. It would be a long drive back to Austin. Most of the excitement came after the game as the Sooner players posed for team photos in front of the scoreboard and planted the crimson OU flag at midfield.

 
Ramifications | This game will be remembered as Coach Stoops' first big win. The 51-6 thrashing of then-No. 13 Texas A&M during the '99 season was a harbinger of the things to come but this game against arch-rival Texas signaled the start of the something special. Indeed, Oklahoma would topple the No. 2- and No. 1-ranked teams in their next two games and roll to conference and national titles in 2000. Long term, the Sooners would become the class of the Big 12 and join an elite group of programs with a legitimate shot at a national championship each season.

 
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Jason White vs. Texas, 2003

  No. 3: Oklahoma 65, Texas 13

October 11, 2003 |VideoWatch Video Highlights |PhotosPhoto Gallery
 
The emotions were evident when players from both teams had to be separated at midfield before the game. Then Oklahoma silenced the Longhorns with the most lopsided victory in series history. OU's defense forced six turnovers, Jason white threw four TD passes and Mark Clayton set a school record with 190 receiving yards.
 
Why it was great: No. 1 Oklahoma produced the most lopsided victory in the 98-game OU-Texas series: a 52-point win that marked OU's fourth consecutive against the Horns. What wasn't to like in the blitzkrieg for Sooner fans?
 
Oklahoma's offense set a school record with its fourth consecutive game scoring 50 or more points. Jason White hit 17-of-21 passes for 290 yards and four touchdowns -- all this while throwing only three times in the second-half and spending the entire final quarter on the sideline.
 
Junior receiver Mark Clayton snagged eight passes for a school-record 190 yards and a TD while running back Renaldo Works churned out 112 yards and a pair of scores on the ground.
 
The Sooner defense forced six Longhorn turnovers including a pick and 30-yard return by Derrick Strait which set up OU's first score. The senior DB added a career-high 11 tackles, three passes broken up and two fumble recoveries.
 
Redshirt freshman Vince Young relieved UT quarterback Chance Mock in the third series of the game but was harassed for much of the day. Texas hadn't thrown an interception all season but Mock and Young each had one in the first quarter. Both were converted for OU touchdowns.
 
After putting together a promising drive, Young fumbled while diving at the goal line and the Sooners marched 74 yards for a field goal. Later in the second quarter, Young threw an interception that Oklahoma end Jonathan Jackson returned 21 yards for another score.
 
When the smoke cleared, the Sooner coaches and players took their customary photo in front of the Cotton Bowl scoreboard to commemorate the win. Sooner fans streamed north, satisfied that the Golden Hat Trophy would remain in Norman for another year.
 
 
1st
2nd
3rd
4th
F
 Oklahoma
14
23
14
14
65
 Texas
7
6
0
0
13

Game balls go to:

Mark Clayton | Junior Receiver
Slippery receiver set school record with 190 yards.

Derrick Strait | Senior Defensive Back
Set up OU's first touchdown with INT and 30-yard return.

Jason White | Senior Quarterback
Would go on to win program's fourth Heisman Trophy.

The Quote: "They did a great job, and we got whipped. That happens in this business. I don't think it was as much as what we were doing as we got licked."
- Texas Defensive Coordinator Carl Reese
 
Our Take: We settled on five criteria for what makes a great football game and used those as guides to select the initial 20 wins of the 2000s to present to fans: buildup, setting, memorable plays, exciting game and ramifications. Here's how the 2003 OU-Texas game in Dallas scored for us:
 
Buildup | Undefeated Oklahoma was No. 1 while Texas came into the game at No. 11. The Sooners had impressive wins at Alabama and at home against UCLA and Fresno State. The Longhorns were still smarting from the 10-point home loss to Arkansas. The Texas end of the stadium would reveal baby blue seats in the fourth quarter as OU rolled to its fourth consecutive win in the series.

 
Setting | Hard to top Cotton Bowl Stadium in early October split down the 50-yard line, Big Tex howdy'n folks to the fair, corny dogs and fried coke along the midway, Bevo and the Sooner Schooner. The game is pure college football pageantry and the passion of the fans is what makes the game special. Ask any player about running down the tunnel...

 
Memorable Plays | Jason White and Mark Clayton hooked up plenty against a dazed Texas secondary. Derrick Strait snatched a pass and returned the ball 30 yards to set up OU's initial touchdown. A Vince Young-fumble at the goal line and Jonathan Jackson's INT return for touchdown kept the Sooner fans entertained.

 
Exciting Game | The Sooner coaching staff would take a "boring" 52-point win against Texas any October. Top-ranked Oklahoma demoralized the Horns with one big play after another. It was plenty exciting in the stands as OU fans celebrated early while Texas fans headed for the exits.

 
Ramifications | Oklahoma would roll through the rest of the schedule to a date with Kansas State in the Big 12 Championship game in Kansas City. One of the most dominant Sooner teams in recent memory inexplicably hit a wall at Arrowhead Stadium as the Wildcats ran wild to deny OU the conference title. The strength of Oklahoma's season propelled the Sooners to the Sugar Bowl for a shot at the national championship but LSU would win in home-turf New Orleans, 21-14.

 
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Antwone Savage vs. Nebraska, 2000

  No. 4: Oklahoma 31, Nebraska 14

October 28, 2000 |VideoWatch Video Highlights |PhotosPhoto Gallery
 
Reminiscent of old times, it was No. 3 OU vs. No. 1 Nebraska. The Huskers led 14-0 midway through the first quarter, but it was all Oklahoma from there. Josh Heupel threw for 300 yards and a TD, and Derrick Strait sealed the win with a 32-yard interception return in the third quarter amid a wave of oranges that came flying from the stands.
 
Why it was great: These two traditional college football heavyweights opened the new century with the latest chapter of their rivalry scripted to perfection for Sooner fans. Undefeated Oklahoma had rocketed up the polls after impressive wins against No. 11 Texas in Dallas and No. 2 Kansas State in Manhattan. Now, it was time to complete "Red October" at home in Norman against the No. 1 Huskers.
 
An overflow crowd at Owen Field joined by a national television audience watched the two top-ranked teams in the BCS standings battle for control of the Big 12 and national title race. The game appeared to be a mismatch before ABC could make it through the roster introductions.
 
Nebraska quarterback Eric Crouch engineered impressive 76- and 91-yard TD drives in NU's first two possessions, knocking the Sooner defense back on its heels. Few in the stadium could predict that this would be the high-water mark for the Huskers.
 
In the second quarter, quarterback Josh Heupel and the Sooner offense torched Nebraska's "Blackshirts" for 24 points to take a 24-14 lead into halftime. Meanwhile, Oklahoma's defense was blacking the eyes of Crouch and Co., holding the Huskers to just one first down and 16 total yards. Incredibly, the Sooners had more points than Nebraska had yards in the second quarter.
 
Freshman defensive back Derrick Strait set the tone on Nebraska's first possession of the second half with an interception return for touchdown that stretched OU's lead to 31-14. That's the mark the scoreboard displayed as time expired at Memorial Stadium. Sooner fans rushed the team amid a shower of oranges and both goalposts came down in a rare display of euphoria on OU's home field.
 
This game marked Oklahoma's first win against the AP No. 1-ranked team since 1987 (again Nebraska, but in Lincoln) and lifted the Sooners to No. 1 in the land. Oklahoma would march through the rest of its schedule in the top spot and emerge a perfect 13-0 with the program's seventh national title.
 
 
1st
2nd
3rd
4th
F
 Nebraska
14
0
0
0
14
 Oklahoma
0
24
7
0
31

Game balls go to:

Josh Heupel | Senior Quarterback
One TD, 300 yards passing but also ran for 46 more.

Curtis Fagan | Sophomore Receiver
Busted open game with 34-yard touchdown reception.

Derrick Strait | Freshman Defensive Back
Set tone for defensive dominance with INT return.

The Quote: "This puts us in great shape to achieve our goals of winning the Big 12 Championship and competing for a national championship."
- Head Coach Bob Stoops
 
Our Take: We settled on five criteria for what makes a great football game and used those as guides to select the initial 20 wins of the 2000s to present to fans: buildup, setting, memorable plays, exciting game and ramifications. Here's how the 2000 OU-Nebraska game in Norman scored for us:
 
Buildup | It was No. 1 vs. No. 2 in the BCS standings. Oklahoma vs. Nebraska with title implications. A sellout crowd at Owen Field and the nation riveted on Norman. Oklahoma Football was back and with an off-week prior to the game, the buildup for this one was immense. A run on oranges at the grocery stores in Cleveland County tells you everything you need to know.

 
Setting | This was Memorial Stadium prior to expansion and east upper deck but the place was packed and the sellout crowd was rocking for the game. A later Husker coach would denounce the "produce" thrown from the stands but to anyone familiar with the OU-Nebraska rivalry, flying oranges evoked memories of classic Big Red showdowns from the past. The fans rushed the field and the goal posts came down. In a word: electric.

 
Memorable Plays | Crouch and Nebraska opened with some spectacular offensive fireworks but it was all Sooners from the second quarter on. Josh Heupel hit Curtis Fagan in stride on a 34-yard strike immortalized in the memories of anyone located in the south end zone. Then-receiver Andre Woolfolk made perhaps the play of the year with a falling, one-handed catch along the sideline and of course there were the stifling defensive plays that smothered Crouch and Nebraska's option.

 
Exciting Game | Oklahoma's 24-point explosion in the second quarter and Strait's interception return for touchdown in the third sealed the victory but the implications involved in winning this game were enough to keep OU fans enthralled through the final whistle. Blocked punts, interceptions, long pass bombs and swarming defensive plays along the line of scrimmage helped to retain interest.

 
Ramifications | Oklahoma became the first squad to defeat the AP-ranked No. 2 (Kansas State) and No. 1 teams in consecutive games. "Red October" vaulted the Sooners to the top of the polls and to the program's first Big 12 Championship and seventh national title. Of all three games during that legendary October run of 2000, this win was the biggest.

 
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2000 Oklahoma at Texas A&M

  No. 5: Oklahoma 35, Texas A&M 31

November 11, 2000 |VideoWatch Highlights |VideoWatch Marshall's INT
 
Top-ranked Oklahoma rallied for 22 fourth-quarter points to silence the largest crowd ever to see a game in the state of Texas. Trailing 31-21, Quentin Griffin scored from two yards out and, moments later, Torrance Marshall completed the comeback with a 41-yard INT return for touchdown, keeping OU's perfect season intact.
 
Why it was great: By early November, Oklahoma remained the lone undefeated team in NCAA D-I. The Sooners faced the largest crowd ever to witness a football game in the state of Texas: 87,188 screaming, towel-waving Aggie fans intent on willing A&M to an upset of No. 1 Oklahoma at Kyle Field.
 
For three quarters, things did not go OU's way as Texas A&M built a 24-10 lead. Sooner kicker Tim Duncan nailed a field goal at the end of the third quarter and Quentin Griffin raced 21 yards just 14 seconds into the fourth to cut the Aggie lead to 24-21.
 
Just as it appeared Oklahoma was poised for a comeback, big A&M running back Jammar Toombs broke through the Sooner line on a fourth and one and scored from 27 yards away to put the Aggies up, 31-21.
 
OU's offense answered with a march capped by a two-yard TD run by Griffin (his 15th rushing score of the season). With just 7:43 left in the game, Texas A&M still had a 31-28 lead. Now, it was up to the defense.
 
On the ensuing play following OU's kickoff, Sooner linebacker Torrance Marshall snagged a pass over the middle by A&M quarterback Mark Farris and turned for the OU sideline. The senior from Miami skirted up the edge of the field, danced his way past Aggie offensive linemen and raced into the end zone for a 41-yard score. (Watch the play here)
 
Texas A&M fought to the OU 10-yard line on its final drive but the Oklahoma defense stuffed four consecutive shots to the end zone. Scoreboard: Oklahoma 35, Texas A&M 31. The drive for OU's seventh national championship survived.
 
 
1st
2nd
3rd
4th
F
 Oklahoma
3
7
3
22
35
 Texas A&M
7
10
7
7
31

Game balls go to:

Torrance Marshall | Senior Linebacker
Marshall made the INT and score for winning margin.

Tim Duncan | Junior Kicker
Clinton, Okla., native connected for nine crucial points.

Quentin Griffin | Sophomore Running Back
Ground out 74 tough yards and two fourth-quarter TDs.

The Quote: "We said all week that this game could come down to the fourth quarter and it did. Championship teams find ways to win games, and we did it today."
- Head Coach Bob Stoops
 
Our Take: We settled on five criteria for what makes a great football game and used those as guides to select the initial 20 wins of the 2000s to present to fans: buildup, setting, memorable plays, exciting game and ramifications. Here's how the 2000 OU-Texas A&M game in College Station scored for us:
 
Buildup | Just two weeks after Oklahoma's ascension to No. 1, the Sooners were making a dangerous road trip to Kyle Field. Fans in College Station knew this was a big one: the largest crowd to ever witness a football game in the state of Texas turned out and ABC handled the TV broadcast.

 
Setting | Texas A&M had lost just six games in the past 12 years at Kyle Field. A sea of swirling white towels provided the writhing backdrop as waves of thunderous noise rolled down on the Sooner team. OU's classic white road unis and shiny crimson helmets always look good on TV.

 
Memorable Plays | Torrance Marshall provided one of the most memorable plays in recent Sooner history. The senior from Miami, Fla., extended his body to snag a pass over the middle and then swung east-west toward the Sooner sideline. Marshall cleared several 300-pound missiles clad in maroon along the edge of the field before breaking free and into the end zone. All Brent Musberger could yell was "Touchdown! Touchdown! .....OKLAAAAA-HOMA!"

 
Exciting Game | The Sooners didn't bring their A-game to College Station but this was a gritty, dramatic affair. Texas A&M left their hearts on the field as Sooner fans everywhere were on their feet trying to block the four consecutive passes to the end zone in the final, excruciating seconds of the game.

 
Ramifications | If OU hadn't rallied twice in the fourth quarter, if Torrance Marshall didn't intercept that pass, if the defense hadn't kept A&M out of the end zone on the final drive, OU doesn't go to the Orange Bowl for the national championship. The title game would have been a regular-season rematch between the Miami Hurricanes and Florida State. Simple as that.

 
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Curtis Lofton vs. Missouri in 2007 Big 12 Championship.

  No. 6: Oklahoma 38, Missouri 17

December 1, 2007 |VideoWatch Video Highlights |PhotosPhoto Gallery
  
Oklahoma proved that Missouri's national championship dreams were only a mirage, dominating the Tigers in every facet of the game. The Sooners rushed for three TDs, Sam Bradford threw for two more and OU's defense harassed the Tigers all night as Oklahoma became the first team in Big 12 history to win consecutive conference titles.
 
Why it was great: Everything set up perfectly for Missouri as the Tigers took the field at the Alamodome in San Antonio: the No. 1 ranking, a trip to the BCS National Championship Game, a Big 12 Conference title and revenge against the only team to blemish their record in 2007.
 
Problem was, Oklahoma didn't read that script. Breaking a 14-all deadlock at halftime, the Sooners buried Mizzou in the second half and became the first back-to-back champions in conference history. 2007 marked the fifth Big 12 title in eight seasons for OU.
 
The Sooners contained the Tigers' Heisman Trophy hopeful quarterback Chase Daniel and three times forced one of the nation's best offenses to settle for short field goals instead of touchdowns. This was the only game in 2007 Missouri was held under 30 points.
 
OU linebacker Curtis Lofton once again was a man on a mission. He harassed Daniel much of the night capping his performance with an interception return on a tipped pass to set up a TD that extended Oklahoma's lead to 28-14 in the third quarter.
 
OU added 10 more points in the fourth and frustrated the Missouri offense to seal the win. It was another bitter defeat for the Tigers at the hands of their old-Big 8 adversaries.
 
 
1st
2nd
3rd
4th
F
 Oklahoma
0
14
14
10
38
 Missouri
3
11
0
3
17

Game balls go to:

Curtis Lofton | Junior Linebacker
Chase Daniel had to be happy Lofton declared early.

Sam Bradford | Freshman Quarterback
Extended NCAA freshman-record 34 touchdown passes.

Allen Patrick | Senior Running Back
Along with Chris Brown, punished Mizzou defense.

The Quote: "You all voted them (Missouri) No. 1 and we beat them ... for the second time on a neutral field. No one else played the No. 1 team in the country.''
- OU Head Coach Bob Stoops
 
Our Take: We settled on five criteria for what makes a great football game and used those as guides to select the initial 20 wins of the 2000s to present to fans: buildup, setting, memorable plays, exciting game and ramifications. Here's how the 2007 Big 12 Championship game in San Antonio scored for us:
 
Buildup | After handing Kansas its first loss of the season in the biggest Border War showdown in Kansas City, the Tigers rose to No. 1 and promptly set their sights on Oklahoma. A 41-31 loss in Norman earlier in the season was provided a post-revisionist spin as a game that the Tigers simply gave away. Notch the second loss to OU as another example of history written by the victors.

 
Setting | San Antonio's Alamodome provided the stage for the 2007 Big 12 Championship. Neither participant for this game, set deep in the heart of Texas, hailed from the Lone Star State (a detail OU took care of in October in Dallas). Sooner fans were loud for this one and the noise reverberated off the dome and into the living rooms of a national television audience.

 
Memorable Plays | Missouri quarterback Chase Daniel found himself on the wrong end of several memorable plays. Curtis Lofton nailed Daniel on an option and then dropped the beefy QB on a shoe-string tackle before catching a tipped pass and rumbling 26 yards to set up another OU score. Allen Patrick and Chris Brown provided OU power football highlights while Bradford continued his mastery of the air.

 
Exciting Game | This one was worth the long drive down I-35. The teams were deadlocked at halftime before Oklahoma's defensive pressure began to wear on the Tigers. OU's crowd provided plenty of noise throughout the game as the Sooners surged late to earn the program's fifth Big 12 title since 2000.

 
Ramifications | With its second win of the season against the Tigers, Oklahoma moved to 5-1 in Big 12 Conference title games and earned distinction as the Big 12's first repeat champ. To the dismay of Tiger fans, Missouri would yield its BCS spot to rival Kansas and draw Arkansas in the Cotton Bowl. OU would end its season in another BCS game, finishing on a sour note in the Fiesta Bowl.

 
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Teddy Lehman eyes Texas quarterback Chris Simms.

  No. 7: Oklahoma 14, Texas 3

October 6, 2001 |VideoWatch Video Highlights |PhotosPhoto Gallery
  
The lead was just 7-3 in the fourth with Texas driving deep in Sooner territory. OU's defense rose to the challenge, intercepting Chris Simms on three straight possessions. First, it was Antonio Perkins in his own end zone. Then, with the Horns pinned deep, Roy Williams went Superman and Teddy Lehman waltzed in for the clinching score.
 
Why it was great: The game will be forever remembered by OU and Texas fans alike for one amazing play in the fourth quarter. But the Oklahoma defense stymied Chris Simms and the Longhorn attack for much of the game, limiting UT to just one field goal.
 
After a scoreless first stanza, OU took a 7-0 lead in the second when Quentin Griffin scored from two yards out. After an injury to starting quarterback Nate Hybl, Jason White came in and led the Sooners down the field. Utilizing White's speed and decision-making ability, OU ran the option offense to perfection on the 11-play, 61-yard drive.
 
Texas added three with just 14 seconds remaining in the first half when Dusty Mangum's 27-yard field goal sailed true. The 7-3 score held through the third quarter as the teams flexed defensive muscle and played field position.
 
In the fourth, OU's Tim Duncan lined up to kick a 27-yard field goal, however he instead pooch punted the ball and Texas' Nathan Vasher inexplicably downed the ball on his own three yard line. Texas had 97 yards to go for the winning score, however Roy Williams dashed those hopes on a play that had to be seen to be believed.
 
Williams leaped over a UT blocking back and hit Chris Simms' throwing arm before he was able to throw the ball. The deflected pass went directly into the arms of Teddy Lehman and the sophomore linebacker dashed in for the game-clinching score.
 
 
1st
2nd
3rd
4th
F
 Oklahoma
0
7
0
7
14
 Texas
0
3
0
0
3

Game balls go to:

Roy Williams | Senior Safety
Superman flies over Longhorn line, into OU-Texas lore.

Jason White | Sophomore Quarterback
Future Heisman winner takes reins in second quarter.

Jimmy Wilkerson | Sophomore Defensive End
Ended up on cover of SI for three-sack performance.

The Quote: "I don't know if Roy knows it, I should have told him, but if it weren't for me, it would have just been second down (laughs)."
- Teddy Lehman on "The Play" | VideoWatch "The Play"
 
Our Take: We settled on five criteria for what makes a great football game and used those as guides to select the initial 20 wins of the 2000s to present to fans: buildup, setting, memorable plays, exciting game and ramifications. Here's how the 2001 OU-Texas game in Dallas scored for us:
 
Buildup | The No. 3-ranked Sooners were riding a 17-game winning streak as the defending national champs. No. 5 Texas had ballyhooed quarterback Chris Simms and the nation's fourth-highest scoring offense. It marked the first time since the infamous 1984 game that both teams entered the Cotton Bowl ranked in the top 5. Let's just say it was festive in the stands for this one.

 
Setting | Another State Fair of Texas, another split Cotton Bowl crowd, another classic game between the Red River rivals. The 2001 meeting marked the 96th game in the 101-year history of the series and in contrast to the wet 2000 clash, there was perfect weather in Big "D" for this one.

 
Memorable Plays | If this game doesn't receive a five-star rating for memorable plays, what would? Roy Williams provided an iconic moment for Sooner fans with his leap over the Texas line. The Sooner defense intercepted Chris Simms on three consecutive possessions (Williams intercepted Simms on the very next offensive play for the Longhorns after "The Play"). The first INT came courtesy Antonio Perkins in his own end zone to deny Texas a TD in the game.

 
Exciting Game | The 75,587 fans in the Cotton Bowl plus an ABC television audience watched a defensive slugfest that culminated in a decisive fourth quarter. Oklahoma clung to a 7-3 lead with its 17-game winning streak hanging in the balance. Texas had 97 yards to go for the winning score. But Longhorn hopes evaporated when Teddy Lehman crossed the goal line and the Gold Hat went back to Norman for the second consecutive year.

 
Ramifications | With the win, Oklahoma rolled to a 20-game streak until old nemesis Nebraska handed OU its first loss of the 21st century behind the heroics of eventual Heisman winner Eric Crouch in Lincoln. In the regular-season finale, OSU would deny the Sooners a spot in the Big 12 Championship game with a stunning 16-13 upset at Owen Field (one of only two losses in Norman for OU under Stoops). The Sooners would stifle Arkansas in a cold, January Cotton Bowl to end the season at 11-2 and ranked No. 6.

 
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Adrian Peterson breaks out in first OU-Texas game.

  No. 8: Oklahoma 12, Texas 0

October 9, 2004 |VideoWatch Video Highlights |PhotosPhoto Gallery
  
Slowly and painfully, No. 2 Oklahoma devastated the fifth-ranked Longhorns, handing Texas its first shutout in 25 years. OU's defense bullied Vince Young all day, and while the final score suggested a defensive struggle, Adrian Peterson provided plenty of offensive fireworks, rushing for 225 yards in just his fifth college game.
 
Why it was great: Let's start with keeping the Longhorns out of the end zone. The game marked the first time an opponent had delivered Texas a goose egg on the scoreboard in 25 years. Oklahoma's first shutout of Texas since 1972 also secured OU's fifth consecutive win in the series.
 
Midway through the first quarter, freshman back Adrian Peterson took a handoff from Jason White in his own end zone and swept around the right end for 44 yards. A.D. went on to shred the Longhorn defense for 225 yards on 32 carries in his first appearance in the Red River Rivalry. He rolled up some of his yardage in one shoe and challenged would-be tacklers for every inch of Cotton Bowl turf.
 
Wet conditions in Dallas made the footing treacherous but Sooner kicker Trey DiCarlo knocked in 22- and 26-yard field goals to provide Oklahoma a 6-0 lead going into the fourth quarter. The Sooners then removed all doubt by marching 80 yards on 11 plays capped by a six-yard TD scamper by Kejuan Jones.
 
OU's defense frustrated Texas quarterback Vince Young and running back Cedric "I'd rather win a Heisman than beat Oklahoma" Benson much of the day. End Dan Cody delivered memorable sacks while Clint Ingram and Rufus Alexander had banner games from the linebacking corps.
 
 
1st
2nd
3rd
4th
F
 Texas
0
0
0
0
0
 Oklahoma
0
3
3
6
12

Game balls go to:

Adrian Peterson | Freshman Running Back
Battled the Longhorns for every inch of his 225 yards.

Dan Cody | Senior Defensive End
Positioned prominently in Vince Young's grill much of game.

Rufus Alexander | Sophomore Linebacker
Crowd roared "Ruuuu-fus" throughout game with 10 tackles.

The Quote: "Peterson personally outgained all four other teams the Longhorns have played this season and became the first Oklahoma player to crack 100 yards in each of his first five games."
- The Associated Press
 
Our Take: We settled on five criteria for what makes a great football game and used those as guides to select the initial 20 wins of the 2000s to present to fans: buildup, setting, memorable plays, exciting game and ramifications. Here's how the 2004 OU-Texas game in Dallas scored for us:
 
Buildup | The 99th edition of the OU-Texas rivalry featured Peterson in his very first trip to Dallas in crimson. Both teams were ranked in the top 5 (OU at No. 2, Texas No. 5) and the largest crowd (79,587) in series history was on hand in the Cotton Bowl.

 
Setting | Early October in Dallas, Cotton Bowl split down the middle -- half burnt orange, the other half crimson, State Fair, Big Tex and hot corny dogs. Hard to find a college football setting more steeped in history, tradition and fanfare than this. There's a reason both programs tout it as a bowl game in the middle of the season. Wet weather didn't have a chance to dim this spectacle.

 
Memorable Plays | Lots of turnovers and big defensive stops. Adrian Peterson broke loose on scintillating runs to power all three OU scoring drives but didn't get in the end zone. This was the first look for Texas at a Sooner back that would put his head down and challenge for every inch of turf.

 
Exciting Game | Not much scoring but the game was in doubt until midway through the fourth quarter with OU hanging on to a six-point lead courtesy of two DiCarlo field goals. OU's scoring drive in the final quarter sealed the victory for the Sooners. Any OU-Texas game provides plenty of drama with the fans split 50-50 providing noise on every play.

 
Ramifications | Oklahoma firmly established its dominance in the recent rivalry with its fifth consecutive win against the Longhorns. The Sooners would roll on to the Big 12 Championship and a second consecutive appearance in the BCS title game before melting against USC. This game was Adrian Peterson's first big show on a national stage.

 
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 Josh Heupel vs. the Kansas State defense.

  No. 9: Oklahoma 41, Kansas State 31

October 14, 2000 |VideoWatch Video Highlights |PhotosPhoto Gallery
  
The Sooners stung the Wildcats with one big play after another. After K-State took a 7-3 lead in the first quarter, J.T. Thatcher broke a 93-yard kickoff return, and OU never looked back. Oklahoma upped its lead to 38-14 on the strength of Josh Heupel's 29-of-37, 374-yard performance and staved off a late rally to down the No. 2 Wildcats.
 
Why it was great: OU, coming off a 63-14 dismantling of Texas, was on the road to face No. 2 Kansas State in Manhattan. The Sooners trailed early, 7-3, in the first quarter when J.T. Thatcher returned a K-State kickoff 93 yards to set up a Seth Litrell touchdown one play later. The Sooner scoring machine lurched to life.
 
Oklahoma built a 31-14 lead at the half and moved to 38-14 in the third quarter when Antwone Savage took a short pass from Josh Heupel, broke five tackles and was off for a 74-yard score. Kansas State mounted a comeback late in the fourth quarter but the Sooner defense snuffed out the threat.
 
In what was described as "one of the toughest performances of the year" by media across the country, Heupel completed 29-of-37 passes for 374 yards and two TDs. Late in the fourth quarter, the lefty drove the offense 47 yards, using more than four minutes of clock, for a Tim Duncan field goal that provided Oklahoma the final 10-point margin.
 
With the win, the Sooners shattered a 25-game home winning streak for KSU (the Wildcats' first defeat in Manhattan since 1996) and set up a showdown with No. 1 Nebraska in Norman two weeks later. This game represented the middle chapter of the "Red October" run that would put OU at No. 1 for the rest of the 2000 season.
 
 
1st
2nd
3rd
4th
F
 Oklahoma
17
14
7
3
41
 K-State
7
7
3
14
31

Game balls go to:

Josh Heupel | Senior Quarterback
OU's future QB coach would seal game in the 4th quarter.

J.T. Thatcher | Senior Kick Returner
Thatcher's 93-yard kickoff return jump started the scoring.

Antwone Savage | Sophomore Receiver
Led OU receivers with seven catches for 116 yards, 1 TD.

The Quote: "I don't think anyone believe we could come here and beat a very good Kansas State team on its own field. This doesn't surprise us because we knew that we were capable of this. We know that we're capable of being better than this."
- Oklahoma Head Coach Bob Stoops
 
Our Take: We settled on five criteria for what makes a great football game and used those as guides to select the initial 20 wins of the 2000s to present to fans: buildup, setting, memorable plays, exciting game and ramifications. Here's how the 2000 Oklahoma at Kansas State game scored for us:
 
Buildup | Bill Snyder and the Wildcats were riding a 25-game home winning streak and five consecutive victories against the Sooners. OU fans, while basking in the 49-point beatdown of Texas one week earlier, were wondering if this team was for real.

 
Setting | More than 53,000 Kansas State fans at full throttle creating a purple haze in Manhattan where the 'Cats hadn't lost in 25 games. Stoops and Venables facing one-time boss Bill Snyder across the field. Most of the score here is for OU staring down the 25-game home winning streak.

 
Memorable Plays | J.T. Thatcher's kickoff return, Josh Heupel's gun-slinging and amazing catches by Josh Norman, Antwone Savage and Curtis Fagan provided plenty of fireworks for Sooner fans. Kansas State countered with the ever-elusive Jonathan Beasley under center and running back David Allen in the big-play department plus a key blocked punt late in the fourth quarter.

 
Exciting Game | Oklahoma built a 31-14 lead by halftime and extended the margin to 38-14 in the third quarter before Kansas State rallied in the final stanza. Josh Heupel helped the Sooners bleed valuable minutes off the clock to preserve the 10-point win. This game would take on even more significance later when it would be remembered as the middle game of OU's "Red October" trifecta.

 
Ramifications | This win in Manhattan set up a showdown between No. 3 Oklahoma and No. 1 Nebraska at Owen Field in Norman two weeks later. OU's win against the Huskers would vault the Sooners to the top of the polls. 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. Of course, this win also kept the Sooners undefeated and on track for the school's seventh national championship. The highest score (4.5 helmets) for the game here: this one was huge.

 
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Tommie Harris sacks Bama quarterback Brodie Croyle

  No. 10: Oklahoma 20, Alabama 13

September 6, 2003 |VideoWatch Video Highlights |PhotosPhoto Gallery
  
In a clash between two of the most storied programs in college football, Alabama appeared to be taking control late in the third quarter. OU turned the Tide when Blake Ferguson completed a 22-yard pass on a fake punt, and Jason White followed with a 47-yard bomb to Brandon Jones to lead the top-ranked Sooners to victory.
 
Why it was great: Bluest of blue bloods in college football, national television audience, OU ranked No. 1 and going for broke with everything on the line... need we say more? Oklahoma and Alabama combined for 13 national championships (OU 7, Bama 6) but 2003 marked just the fourth meeting between the Sooners and Crimson Tide -- and the first time a No. 1-ranked team had come to play Bama in Tuscaloosa.
 
Oklahoma had defeated the Tide in Norman the previous season and more than 83,000 Alabama fans were ready to exact revenge in head coach Mike Shula's first home game.
 
The Sooners went up early after Antonio Perkins picked off a pass from Bama quarterback Brodie Croyle on the first play of the game and Trey DiCarlo converted two field goals in the first quarter. It was 13-3 at the half after Mark Clayton hauled in a 46-yard strike from Jason White. Alabama narrowed the gap to 13-10 early in the third quarter and prepared to receive the punt after holding the Sooners at their own 30. That's when Coach Stoops revealed his nerves of steel and called for the fake.
 
Punter Blake Ferguson hit Michael Thompson (who bobbled the ball on the ensuing run) on a pass play that went for 22 yards to move the chains. On the very next play, White fired a 47-yard bomb to Brandon Jones for the TD that effectively sealed the game.
 
 
1st
2nd
3rd
4th
F
 Oklahoma
6
7
7
0
20
 Alabama
0
3
7
3
13

Game balls go to:

Bob Stoops | Head Coach
The HBC made the call that changed the tide of the game.

Jason White | Senior Quarterback
Future Heisman winner threw for 259 yards and two TDs.

Blake Ferguson | Junior Punter
Broken Arrow native didn't rely on foot for biggest play.

The Quote: "We felt if they would be that reckless off the corners we would use it. In games like this on the road, you need to make things happen. You have to have the guts to go with it and it worked."
- Oklahoma Head Coach Bob Stoops
 
Buildup | This game was a highly anticipated early-season matchup between two programs with enough tradition between them to fill football museums for 20 schools. National television and a No. 1 ranking for the Sooners, the first time a top-ranked team had played Alabama in Tuscaloosa and a capacity crowd ready to exact revenge for the Tide's loss in Norman in 2002 add up to a four-helmet score.
Four Helmets
 
Setting | Deep in the heart of SEC country, Bryant-Denny Stadium, capacity crowd at night, Sooners fans in white to distinguish from the Bama crimson, a full day of tailgating and the ghost of Bear Bryant lurking down every stadium ramp. Not many OU road games have more atmosphere than this.
4.5 Helmets
 
Memorable Plays | You know it's a big play if it shows up in intro videos for the team the following season. The fake punt was there the following season and several seasons beyond. Both White touchdown passes went for more than 45 yards and the defense amassed a Stoops-era high six sacks.
4.5 Helmets
 
Exciting Game | The game started with an interception by Antonio Perkins but OU settled for field goals in the first quarter. The second and third quarters provided the fireworks but the fourth quarter belonged to OU's defense. More of a slugfest punctuated by some shots that put Bama on the floor but no knockouts.
3 Helmets
 
Ramifications | OU went on to an undefeated regular season before falling to Kansas State in the Big 12 Championship game in Kansas City. The Sooners ran up against another SEC foe, LSU, in the Sugar Bowl and lost the BCS title game, 21-14, to finish the season at 12-2.
3.5 Helmets
 
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Sooner fans cast more than 38,000 votes at SoonerSports.com for their top 10 wins of OU's championship run in the 2000s. Check back each week during the summer as we reveal the fan's favorite 10 wins leading up to No. 1.