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OKLAHOMA WINS THE WISHBONE WAR
Dan Jenkins
October 18, 1971
Darrell Royal invented college football's most effective offense, but last week the Sooners made him wish he hadn't
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October 18, 1971

Oklahoma Wins The Wishbone War

Darrell Royal invented college football's most effective offense, but last week the Sooners made him wish he hadn't

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For a season and a half, Mildren had been a big disappointment. Chuck Fairbanks was trying to run the I formation and a form of the Veer, and Mildren simply didn't throw well enough. Just before the Texas game a year ago, however, Fairbanks switched to the Wishbone, which would allow Mildren to use his best tools, his running and his savvy.

Although the Sooners lost that game 41-9, Fairbanks was encouraged. He had found the offense he wanted. The next thing he found was Pruitt, who would become a halfback. The Sooners won five of their last seven regular-season games and wound up 7-4-1—and they were still learning the attack.

"We know it now," said Mildren. "It comes natural for us. If I do my job right, and read the option right, we can move it on anybody. And what makes us different from Texas is our speed. They mainly have power, but we've got the jets."

The lead jet, Greg Pruitt, now has 629 yards in four games, and Oklahoma is averaging well over 400 yards Wish-boning it. The Sooners also are averaging 41.5 points a game, and Chuck Fairbanks has whipped both USC and Texas with shocking ease.

What this adds up to is quite a football team, maybe the fastest in the land, and a serious contender for the national title that Mildren has been yearning for. There are still two big problems, Colorado, which is this Saturday, and Nebraska, which comes on Thanksgiving Day.

"I wish I had time to relish beating Texas," said the mild, good-natured Chuck Fairbanks. "It's been a long wait, and I always said if we ever found out how to do it, I'd bottle it and sell it. But we've got Big Eight problems now."

Darrell Royal said, "Maybe not. They're the best team we've played in years, and if they can keep that Corvette running...."

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