By Saturday afternoon, when the players were dressed and lying on the dressing-room floor waiting for the game to start, the silent tension was almost smothering. Wilkinson, watching quietly, said, "There's just no way you can play football without it, this tension. It's not a game you just go out and play, like a round of golf. You've got to be pretty well choked up to start."
The pent-up nervous energy exploded on the kickoff when McDonald, weaving in and out to get full use of the vicious blocking, brought the ball out from the Oklahoma two to the Texas 44. The Sooners never let up. The smoothly coordinated, strong surge of the line swept the stunting Texas defense aside, allowing McDonald and Thomas to probe deftly inside the tackles or sprint outside the ends. In three minutes Oklahoma had scored.
From then on everything worked just right. The pass defense, as expected, allowed no long gainers and came up with five interceptions. The Texas spreads were nullified, Fondren contained. Wilkinson used all of his razzle-dazzle in the first half, so that the adjustments made by Texas at half time were useless.
In the second half the Sooners returned to their old, reliable split-T. The first two Oklahoma units played 57 minutes against a team which was whipped in the first quarter. Why? Simply winning a football game is no longer enough for this Oklahoma team. These proud champions feel that the only way they can give meaning to their long string of victories over weak teams is to wallop the victims as impressively as possible. "Everybody is watching us," says Co-captain Jerry Tubbs. "All we need is one bad Saturday—not even lose, just look bad—and they'll jump all over us. We go out to win, first. But then, in the back of our mind, we know what they're all saying about OU, and we hit a little bit harder so that at least the team we're playing against will know we're the best."
Indeed, Oklahoma may be the greatest college football team of all time. But because of the relatively weak opposition they face this year no one will ever be sure.
UP IN THE STANDS a wide-eyed coed stared at the scoreboard that registered the startling news: Michigan 48, Army 0, with a quarter left to play. Petulantly she poked her escort in the ribs. "Did they score or something while I was looking at my program?" she demanded reproachfully.
They had. With brisk perfection, Michigan was turning four Army fumbles and a bad punt into touchdowns and adding two more on solid drives.
Ignoring its T-formation plays, Michigan stuck to the old-fangled single wing and gave a convincing demonstration of clean, crisp football. Crew-cut Terry Barr scampered for 60 yards in three carries on a weak-side reverse. Michigan's magnificent ends—Ron Kramer and Captain Tom Maentz—were brilliant. Kramer, a dark, silent giant, caught a 57-yard picture pass from Barr off the weak-side reverse to set up a touchdown. Maentz coolly removed the last Cadet defender with a scissor-sharp block on the thundering, 60-yard sprint up the middle by Fullback John Herrnstein for another score.
Despite its 9 to 0 loss last week to tough Michigan State, Michigan obviously is still a team to be reckoned with in the Big Ten race.