The next day 62,000 homecoming fans filled Owen Field, and two critical plays occurred almost immediately. Oklahoma's Gordon Wheeler, punting from his 32, hurried the kick, and the ball carried only 11 yards. Colorado took over at the Sooner 43 and moved smartly through the Sooner defense—until it reached the 10. There, on fourth down and two, the Sooners held.
"That stand fired us up for good," said Guard Ken Mendenhall later.
"It hurt us terrible," said Cooks.
The Sooners, unable to move, were forced to punt again—and here came a genuine turning point. Wheeler took his time and lofted a high, floating spiral from his 18 all the way to the Colorado 25, where Charlie Greer took the ball and lost 10 more yards trying to return it.
"It sure felt good," said Wheeler of his tremendous kick, "but I owed it to the boss. I had to make up for the first one." "It had a fantastic effect on the game," said Fairbanks. "It turned the whole field around for us."
It did, indeed, for when a weak Colorado punt gave Oklahoma the ball at the Buffaloes' 23, the Sooners made it 3-0, Mike Vachon kicking his first field goal of the year. Oklahoma kicked off and moments later Bob Stephenson intercepted a pass and returned it to the Colorado 44. From there Oklahoma scored in seven plays, Owens going over from the four. By the time the Sooners had added their last two touchdowns in the fourth quarter, the crowd was streaming toward the exits.
"It's just like I pictured it," Warmack said later as he put on a blue button-down shirt and slipped an atrocious blue and gold tie under the collar. "When I was a kid, all I wanted to do was play for OU. I loved Bud Wilkinson, and after he left I hoped it would all be the same again someday. Now, I think it will be."
Granville Liggins was one of the last Sooners out of the locker room. "It was like they told us all along," he said. "Stick it right to their mustache, and they won't be as anxious to run at you next time."
Fairbanks was padding around in his bare feet, hoping to squeeze a shower in somewhere between the handshakes and congratulations. "This is a fine team and it will get better," he said.
Jim Mackenzie would have agreed.