The 1952 Oklahoma Sooners' backfield was the only one in school history to produce three All-Americans in the same season. Heisman Trophy-winning running back Billy Vessels, quarterback Eddie Crowder and fullback Buck McPhail all earned the prestigious honor.
The trio and their teammates picked a momentous day to earn Oklahoma's 300th victory, a 49-20 triumph over Texas.
Playing in front of a then-Cotton Bowl record crowd of 75,504, Crowder, Vessels, McPhail and halfback Buddy Leake, who was All-Big Seven in 1954, had their finest day as a unit. They accounted for seven touchdowns and nearly 400 yards of offense.
Saturday, Oct. 28, 1952
Oklahoma 49, Texas 20
Cotton Bowl - Dallas, Texas
The tone for this one was set early when OU took advantage of Texas' miscues. Sooner safety Larry Grigg recovered a Longhorn fumble on the first play from scrimmage at the Texas 26.
Vessels scored six plays later from the two-yard line before Leake added the extra point to give the Sooners an early 7-0 lead.
Unable to move the ball, Texas then punted to Sooners' 24. Four plays later Crowder connected with Leake for a 65-yard touchdown. That play is still the longest pass completion for the Sooners in the 104-game series. Leake added another PAT to give the Sooners a 14-0 advantage.
Another Texas fumble set up Oklahoma's third touchdown. The Longhorns lost the ball on the kickoff and Gene Calame recovered at the UT 29.
This time, the Sooners took six plays to score when McPhail took a lateral from Vessels for the score from the 7-yardline. Leake's extra point increased the score to 21-0.
After another Texas punt, Grigg scampered 37 yards up the sideline before being tackled by the last Texas defender at the Horns' 29.
On the next play, Crowder faked to McPhail, then found a wide open John Reddell for a 29-yard TD strike. Oklahoma was up 28-0.
The Longhorn fans were stunned. The Sooners had scored four touchdowns in just eight minutes and five seconds.
Texas regrouped to get a second-quarter touchdown and could have cut the margin in half if not for a goal line stand. The Longhorns marched 29 yards to the OU one, but the drive was halted there on a jarring tackle by Sooner All-American Tom Catlin.
After a scoreless third period, the Sooner backs all scored touchdowns in the fourth. Leake went in on a three-yard run, McPhail followed with a 60-yard beauty and Vessels crashed over from the one.
McPhail finished with 147 rushing yards and two touchdowns, while Vessels ran for 106 and a TD and Leake scored a pair of touchdowns on 74 rushing yards and 75 receiving yards.
At the time, Leake's 19 points, bolstered by seven made extra points, were the most ever scored by an OU player against Texas. Forty-eight years later that record was finally broken Quentin Griffin scored six touchdowns and 36 points in 2000.
Crowder was completed 5-of-7 seven passes for 132 yards and two touchdowns and no interceptions.
Clark Nelson, Houston Post reporter, said of Crowder, "The Sooners were deadly with their passes aided tremendously by the fact that Crowder was faking the Texas defense right out of its pants."
- Sooner football historian Mike Brooks highlights the milestone wins for Oklahoma.
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