1951 Sugar Bowl

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1951 Sugar Bowl
1234 Total
Kentucky 7600 13
Oklahoma 0007 7
Date January 1, 1951
Season 1950
Stadium Tulane Stadium
Location New Orleans, Louisiana
Favorite Oklahoma by 6 to 7 points[1]
Attendance 80,206
Sugar Bowl
 < 1950  1952

The 1951 Sugar Bowl was the 17th Sugar Bowl, played on January 1, 1951, in New Orleans, Louisiana.[2] It matched the Oklahoma Sooners and the Kentucky Wildcats.

Oklahoma (10–0) was the Big Seven champion and was ranked first in both major polls; seventh-ranked Kentucky (10–1) was the Southeastern Conference champion. Oklahoma averaged 34.5 points per game; only one team had scored more than twice in a game against Kentucky that season. Oklahoma entered the New Year's Day game with a 31-game winning streak; the Sooners' previous loss was in September 1948, and they were favored by six to seven points.[1] Kentucky was led by head coach Bear Bryant, and Oklahoma by Bud Wilkinson. Notable players included Oklahoma's Billy Vessels and Kentucky's Charlie McClendon, Babe Parilli, and Wilbur "Shorty" Jamerson. Over 80,000 fans attended the game.[2]

Kentucky fielded three defensive tackles for much of the game, which caused Oklahoma quarterback Claude Arnold to hurry his handoffs and passes. One Wildcat tackle was Bob Gain, winner of the Outland Trophy that season. The third was Walt Yowarsky, who had played less than five minutes on defense during the regular season. Yowarsky recovered a fumble on the Oklahoma 22-yard line, leading to Kentucky's first score: on the next play after Yowarsky's fumble recovery, Kentucky quarterback Babe Parilli threw a touchdown pass to Wilbur Jamerson for a 7–0 lead at the end of the first quarter. In the second quarter, the Wildcats drove 81 yards for a touchdown, a run by Wilbur Jamerson, and led 13–0 at halftime.[2]

In the third quarter, Oklahoma had the ball, first and goal on the Kentucky 3-yard line. The Wildcat defense held on first and second down; on third down Yowarsky tackled the Oklahoma ball carrier for a five-yard loss. On fourth down, the Sooners were stopped and Kentucky took possession.

In the fourth quarter, Yowarsky recovered a fumbled punt. With seven minutes left in the game, Oklahoma quarterback Billy Vessels threw a 17-yard touchdown pass to Merrill Green. Kentucky, however, retained possession of the football for the rest of the game, with the exception of one play, for a 13–7 victory.[2] Yowarsky was named the game's Most Valuable Player.


  1. ^ a b "Oklahoma choice to grab 32nd grid win". Milwaukee Sentinel. Associated Press. January 1, 1951. p. 4, part 2. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Kentucky passes upset Oklahoma, 13-7". Milwaukee Sentinel. Associated Press. January 2, 1951. p. 3, part 2. 
  • 2007 University of Kentucky Football Media Guide