"Bernie Crimmins saw them play three games," Brennan said. "Then we exchanged three movies with them, so the whole coaching staff had a chance to look them over. We knew from what we saw and from last year, too, that we might have an opening for short passes against them. Then their linebackers were going with our quarterback and we used a play very much like a counter, where the right halfback, for instance, starts at the right guard, then slides over to the other side of the center and that worked pretty well. And Pietrosante went well on the shots up the middle."
Before the game, Brennan told Bobby Williams, his quarterback, "We won't win playing cautious football. We have to gamble and do things when they least expect them." Williams, who is as fond of gambling as a card-sharp on a river boat, took Brennan's advice wholeheartedly. He surprised Oklahoma, Brennan, the 62,000 people in the stands and the millions watching on television in the last two minutes of the game by trying two passes while Notre Dame was protecting its precious 7-0 lead.
"I wasn't too much surprised at the first pass," Brennan said. "That was a good call. He was gambling on catching them by surprise and picking up a first down and making sure we would have time to run out the clock. I was pretty mystified when Bobby threw on fourth down with 14 yards to go, but even that worked out all right. What happened was that Bobby looked over to the sidelines to see how many yards he had to go for a first and mistook the first pole on the chain for the second. He thought it was fourth and four, not fourth and 14. Bobby called a great game all the way, though. He called all the plays in our touchdown march and, now that it is over, I'll say I would have called the same play he called for the touchdown. I called the fake field goal we used early, but it didn't do much good, did it?"
The fake field goal ended as a pass and carried the ball down to the Oklahoma six, but Notre Dame could not score from there on that drive.
When Oklahoma took over possession of the ball after Williams' unsuccessful fourth-down pass, Oklahoma Coach Bud Wilkinson sent in a third-string quarterback and several other players from his third and fourth units, somewhat to the surprise of the assembled multitude. After the game, he explained, "I thought they might do better. You need quickness at the end of the game. They did fine. I guess we never really had a chance to score during the whole game. They covered our receivers real well. We had time to pass, but we couldn't get anyone open. We played a fine game, but they played a better one."
Wilkinson, who usually allows reporters in his dressing room immediately after a game, kept them out for five minutes after this one. He talked to his team briefly: "You played a good game and I'm proud of all of you. We couldn't go on winning forever." But the youngsters sat in deep dejection and wept. Outside the dressing room, a restless, noisy crowd waited to cheer the discouraged team as it came out.
Inside, Bill Krisher, the tremendously muscled Oklahoma All-America guard candidate, sat red-eyed before his, locker. "They wanted to win more," he said sadly. "I guess last year's experience made a team out of them this year."
Dennit Morris, the Oklahoma fullback, agreed. "It's not the same team we played last year," he said. "This time they played as a team. They seemed more organized." Ken Northcutt, a guard from Texas who had sobbed loudly as he left the field, came out of the shower toweling himself. He walked over to Doyle Jennings and said, "You know, Doyle, it's like I always say: the party was fun while it lasted." He turned to a knot of newsmen and added, "I've seen all 47 of those victories. You can't win 'em all."
Wilkinson, seated on a black-covered training table, denied there was any relief in seeing the end of the winning streak. "No," he answered ruefully. "That's one question I can answer unequivocally."
The defeat, of course, came as a surprise to the Oklahoma players, none of whom had ever played in a losing game in college. "I thought we'd pull it out," said Northcutt. "We've been doing it a long time. You just don't give up." Bobby Boyd, a surprisingly small left half, with the flat, strong face of a fighter, grimaced with the pain of his injured ribs "I sure thought we'd come back," he said. "But they iust had more desire, I guess." Someone asked if next week would start a new winning streak, and Bob Harrison, giant junior center, boomed, "Dag betcha! You dag betcha!"