Saturday will mark the 108th meeting between the University of Oklahoma and the University of Texas. It will be exactly 28 years ago, in 1985, that Troy Aikman led the Sooners to a victory over the Longhorns, 14-7.
Aikman led the Sooners at quarterback, but, the defense really took charge of that game. The defense was led by more than a few players who would go on to have notable careers in the NFL (including Brian Bosworth, Rickey Dixon, Tony Casillas and Kevin Murphy).
The game against Texas was Aikman’s last win as a starting quarterback for Oklahoma. In the very next game against the University of Miami in Norman, Aikman was sacked by the late Jerome Brown and broke his ankle (that week Sports Illustrated captured the injury with a wide angle photo on the inside cover). Miami, led by Vinny Testaverde and Michael Irvin, went on to defeat the Sooners, 27-14.
The history of that season took another unusual turn as true freshman Jamelle Holieway took over the reins as quarterback and made the team’s wishbone attack explode. Holieway led Oklahoma as they won the rest of their games. In the national championship game, Holieway connected with Keith Jackson on a 71-yard touchdown pass and the Sooners won the battle and their sixth national championship (Holieway is still the only true freshman to win a national championship as the starting quarterback).
Not all football fans know that Aikman is a Super Bowl winner and collegiate national champion. He was also a true freshman that year and decided to transfer to UCLA for the remaining years of his college eligibility after head coach Barry Switzer made it clear that he would be sticking with Holieway the next season. Aikman did well at UCLA under Terry Donahue, but never won another national championship.
After an average game in the win over Texas in 1985, Aikman started his OU career at 3-0. The Sooners pounded the Longhorns by controlling possession and going for more than 220 yards on the ground with multiple running backs. It was a win in which Texas couldn’t move the ball much at all and Brian Bosworth dominated with 14 tackles and one interception.
There was one other true freshman attending Oklahoma that year who was also making a difference at home games. I was selling hot dogs all the way up to row 70 and above in various sections at Owen Field.
I even saw Aikman one time in the hallways during school. I remember telling myself that he looked like a future NFL quarterback that day.
Howard Alperin is Managing Editor of AmericanizeSoccer.com