SI Vault
Rick Telander
October 19, 1987
No. 1 Oklahoma, featuring a whole herd of talented players from the Lone Star State, tore up Texas 44-9
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October 19, 1987

Another Border War

No. 1 Oklahoma, featuring a whole herd of talented players from the Lone Star State, tore up Texas 44-9

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This match was very close for a quarter (3-0 in favor of Texas), pretty close for a half (13-6, Oklahoma), but after that it was just like the Sooners' previous games—a rout. Early in the proceedings, Metcalf found a few holes in the Sooner defense, and Texas quarterback Bret Stafford completed passes in front of the Sooners' nickel secondary. The Longhorns kicked a field goal just before halftime, which gave them false hope.

It shouldn't have. In the second half, Texas's quarterbacks (Stafford alternated throughout the second half with Shannon Kelley) threw five interceptions; they had seven for the game. Meanwhile, Holieway (15 rushes for 70 yards and 2-of-5 passing for 76 yards and a touchdown) marched the Sooners up and down the field. Oklahoma finished the day still leading the nation in rushing offense (532.2 yards per game) and total offense (529.0).

Backup quarterback Charles Thompson, who entered the game tied for third in the nation in scoring, took over for Holieway in the fourth quarter and ran for 114 yards and a touchdown in eight carries. Thompson is one of the reasons that Switzer can't help running up the score. When Thompson was asked what the difference is between a quarterback and a halfback in the Sooners' wishbone, he replied, "Nothing, except a halfback gets into a three-point stance and a quarterback stands up."

Oklahoma moves the ball so well it's hard to remember that runts like Holieway and Thompson—he's generously listed at 5'10" and 174 pounds—might not even play at schools with pro-style passing or power-I offenses. But Switzer recruits specifically for his attack, and he recruits all the time. In his office last week he stopped in midsentence during a response to a reporter's question, squinted and telephoned a high school coach in Tennessee. "You just pushed a button with me," he said to the interviewer after hanging up. Who knows, maybe that coach's best player will someday find happiness in Norman.

In the Sooner locker room after the game, senior All-America guard Mark Hutson explained why he came to Oklahoma. "I'm from Arkansas, and I wanted to be on a national championship team, and I didn't see it happening back there," he said.

"He wanted to party and not get kicked off the team," suggested center Mark Van Keirsbilck.

Hutson laughed and said, "Barry always has had a loose program. The way he's always put it is, Just stay out of jail, stay out of the papers and play as hard as you can on Saturday. That's all he wants."

That—and a few Texans—might be all he needs.

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