|| Oklahoma vs. Army: The History
While Oklahoma owns a limited history facing schools from the service academies, that tradition will be rekindled when the Army Black Knights visit Gaylord Family - Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in 2018. The Sooners will make the trek to West Point to face the cadets in 2020. The Sooners hold a 2-1 advantage in the three previous meetings.
Although OU's last outing against Army was in 1961, the Sooners have met Air Force twice during the Bob Stoops' era, registering 14-3 victory against the Falcons in 2001 and a 27-24 win in 2010. Prior that 2001 game against Air Force, you have to go back to a 10-0 loss to Navy in 1965 to find the most recent OU contest against one of the schools from the Armed Forces.
Jim Tatum coached just one season at OU, compiling an 8-3 record as the Sooners claimed a Big 6 title in 1946. The opening game of Tatum's brief tenure at the OU helm marked the first-ever meeting between Oklahoma and Army. The contest was conducted in New York City at the original Yankee Stadium.
The game featured numerous award winners for both teams. Army's 1946 Heisman Trophy winner, Glenn Davis started at running back while All-Americans Plato Andros, Buddy Burris and John Rapacz suited up for OU. The Sooners fell to the Black Knights 21-7 as Army would embark on a 9-0-1 campaign under legendary head coach Red Blaik. Only a scoreless tie against Notre Dame would prevent the Black Knights from registering a perfect season as they finished second in the final AP poll, but they were recognized by several other organizations as the best team in college football that season.
It would be more than a decade later when the two teams would meet again in 1959, this time in Norman. The 1950s were truly a special era in OU football history as the Sooners won three national titles under the leadership of head coach Bud Wilkinson. The Sooners' 28-20 victory over the Black Knights was part of a four-game win streak at the end of the 1959 season as Oklahoma was eventually crowned Big 7 Champions.
The last time the Sooners and the Black Knights faced each other was in 1961. Following in the footsteps of the first time the squads competed, this game was also played at Yankee Stadium. Along with Wilkinson, this game showcased other significant names in OU football lore as All-Americans Wayne Lee and Leon Cross started at left tackle and right tackle, respectively. The 14-8 win over Army placed OU ahead in the series by a 2-1 margin, where it still stands today.
Oklahoma is recognized across the nation for its remarkable football tradition that includes seven national championships, 44 conference titles, five Heisman winners and numerous other national award winners. The Black Knights have had their fair share of time under the spotlight, as well. Army won three consecutive national championships in 1944, 1945 and 1946 in a system where there was rarely a consensus champion crowned. From 1944-46, the Black Knights went 27-0-1 and won three national championships behind Davis and Felix "Doc" Blanchard.
Together, Blanchard and Davis were given the nickname "Mr. Inside and Mr. Outside." Blanchard, "Mr. Inside," ran for 38 touchdowns and 1,908 yards in his college career. Davis, "Mr. Outside," ran for nearly 3,000 yards, had 850 receiving yards and even passed for 1,172 yards during his time at Army. Davis and Blanchard were also the last set of teammates to win the Heisman Trophy in back-to-back years. The Black Knights would add a third Heisman winner to this history when Pete Dawkins won the award in 1958.
Blanchard was the first ever junior to claim the award and he claimed won the Maxwell Award the same year. After winning the Heisman in 1946, Davis was the second overall pick in the NFL Draft by the Los Angeles Rams. However, his professional career would be short lived, after he suffered a knee injury in 1952. Dawkins, didn't choose the NFL route after his Army career, instead he pursued a life in politics.
For many college football programs across the country, rivalry games play a major role in tradition. For the Sooners, the Bedlam game against Oklahoma State and the Red River Rivalry versus Texas are two games that traditionally are considered "must-wins" for the Sooners and their fans.
As for Army, its most-anticipated annual game is one that draws interest around the globe. The Army-Navy game dates back to the late 1800s and has been played annually since 1930. Since the game features enlisted personnel on both teams, the teams share a mutual respect for one another and know that they fight side-by-side to protect America. The Midshipmen lead that storied series by a 57-49-7 all-time margin. While the Golden Hat Trophy is presented to the winner of the Red River Rivalry, the service academies (Army, Navy and Air Force) all compete annually for the Commander in Chief's trophy.
And just as a primer for any OU fans planning to travel to West Point in 2020, the full moniker for Army Football is the "Black Knights of the Hudson." In addition, be on the lookout for the official Army mascot, the mule, a workhorse that has long held historical importance in Army operations.
Mark your calendars for 2018 and 2020 when two of the most storied programs in college football annals square off - Oklahoma vs. Army!