1971 Oklahoma Sooners football team

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1971 Oklahoma Sooners football
Sugar Bowl champion
Sugar Bowl, W 40–22 vs. Auburn
ConferenceBig Eight Conference
Ranking
CoachesNo. 3
APNo. 2
1971 record11–1 (6–1 Big 8)
Head coachChuck Fairbanks (5th season)
Offensive coordinatorBarry Switzer (6th season)
Offensive schemeWishbone
Defensive coordinatorLarry Lacewell (2nd season)
Base defense4-3
CaptainJack Mildren
Steve Aycock
Home stadiumOklahoma Memorial Stadium (Capacity: 61,836)
Seasons
← 1970
1972 →
1971 Big 8 football standings
Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
No. 1 Nebraska $ 7 0 0     13 0 0
No. 2 Oklahoma 6 1 0     11 1 0
No. 3 Colorado 5 2 0     10 2 0
Iowa State 4 3 0     8 4 0
Kansas State 2 5 0     5 6 0
Oklahoma State 2 5 0     4 6 1
Kansas 2 5 0     4 7 0
Missouri 0 7 0     1 10 0
  • $ – Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll

The 1971 Oklahoma Sooners football team represented the University of Oklahoma in the 1971 NCAA University Division season. Oklahoma was a member of the Big Eight Conference and played its home games in Oklahoma Memorial Stadium where it has played its home games since 1923.[1] The team posted an 11–1 and 6–1 conference record to under head coach Chuck Fairbanks.[2][3] The Sooners finished the season ranked #2, losing only once, 35–31 to eventual national champion Nebraska in the 1971 Nebraska vs. Oklahoma football game, which has become known as Game of the Century.

In 1971, offensive coordinator Barry Switzer perfected the wishbone offense as it led the nation in both scoring (45 points average) and total yards (563 total yards average), and set an NCAA record by averaging over 472.4 (5196 in 11 games) rushing yards in a season.[4] The team holds the current school record with 7.07 yards per rushing attempt and 7.6 yards per play as well as the records for 469.6 rushing yards (5635 in 12 games counting bowl game) and 566.83 yards of total offense per game. The team also holds the single-season rushing touchdowns record of 62 and rushing touchdowns per game record of 5.17. The team's records of 711 single-game rushing yards and 785 total yards stood for nine seasons.[5] Jack Mildren's single-season record for yards rushing by a quarterback of 1140 would be broken three seasons later by Freddie Solomon.[6]

Greg Pruitt set the current national single-season record with 8.98 yards per attempt,[7] the school's single-game records of 294 rushing yards and 374 all-purpose yards. Meanwhile, Jon Harrison set the single-season and career yards per reception with 29.1 and 27.0.[8] His 2066 single-season all-purpose yards record stood until Quentin Griffin broke it in 2002. Joe Wylie's kickoff return average record of 28.5 stood for 27 years.[9]

The team was led by three All-Americans: Pruitt,[7] Tom Brahaney[10] and Jack Mildren.[11] The team won its first nine games on a schedule that included five ranked opponents (In order, #17 USC, #3 Texas, #6 Colorado, #1 Nebraska and #5 Auburn). All five of these opponents finished the season ranked. The only loss was to Nebraska. They played Auburn in the Sugar Bowl and won 40–22.[3]

The top three teams in the final AP poll for the 1971 season were from the Big Eight: Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Colorado. The top two teams had never been from the same conference, and this year had three.[12]

Pruitt led the team in rushing with 1760 yards, Mildren led the team in passing yards for the third straight season with 889 yards and also in scoring with 12 points, Harrison led the team in receiving with 494 yards, Mark Driscoll led the team in tackles with 134, and John Shelly led the team in interceptions with 5.[13]

Schedule[edit]

DateOpponentRankSiteTVResultAttendance
September 18SMU*No. 10W 30–053,545[14]
September 25at Pittsburgh*No. 11W 55–2934,916[14]
October 2No. 17 USC*No. 8
  • Oklahoma Memorial Stadium
  • Norman, OK
W 33–2062,351[14]
October 9vs. No. 3 Texas*No. 8ABCW 48–2772,032[14]
October 16No. 6 ColoradodaggerNo. 2
  • Oklahoma Memorial Stadium
  • Norman, OK
W 45–1762,501[14]
October 23at Kansas StateNo. 2W 75–2837,198[14]
October 30Iowa StateNo. 2
  • Oklahoma Memorial Stadium
  • Norman, OK
W 39–760,477[14]
November 6at MissouriNo. 2W 20–355,098[14]
November 13KansasNo. 2
  • Oklahoma Memorial Stadium
  • Norman, OK
ABCW 56–1054,347[14]
November 25No. 1 NebraskaNo. 2
  • Oklahoma Memorial Stadium
  • Norman, OK (rivalry)
ABCL 31–3562,884[14]
December 4at Oklahoma StateNo. 3W 58–1436,571[14]
January 1, 1972vs. No. 5 Auburn*No. 3ABCW 40–2284,031[14]
  • *Non-conference game
  • daggerHomecoming
  • Rankings from AP Poll released prior to the game

[15]

Game summaries[edit]

SMU[edit]

1 234Total
SMU 0 000 0
• Oklahoma 3 1773 30

Pittsburgh[edit]

1 234Total
• Oklahoma 21 2167 55
Pittsburgh 11 6012 29
  • Date: September 25
  • Location: Pitt Stadium
  • Game attendance: 34,916

USC[edit]

1 234Total
USC 7 706 20
• Oklahoma 13 6140 33
  • Date: October 2
  • Location: Oklahoma Memorial Stadium
  • Game attendance: 62,351

Texas[edit]

#8 Oklahoma Sooners vs. #3 Texas Longhorns
1 234Total
#8 Oklahoma 14 17710 48
#3 Texas 14 760 27

[16][17]

Colorado[edit]

#6 Colorado Buffaloes at #2 Oklahoma Sooners
1 234Total
#6 Colorado 0 0170 17
#2 Oklahoma 14 10714 45

[18]

Kansas State[edit]

1 234Total
• Oklahoma 14 271321 75
Kansas St 7 777 28

[19]

Iowa State[edit]

1 234Total
Iowa St 6 060 12
• Oklahoma 17 1277 43
  • Date: October 30
  • Location: Oklahoma Memorial Stadium
  • Game attendance: 60,477

Missouri[edit]

1 234Total
• Oklahoma 6 1400 20
Missouri 0 300 3
  • Date: November 6
  • Location: Faurot Field
  • Game attendance: 55,098

Kansas[edit]

1 234Total
Kansas 0 0010 10
• Oklahoma 14 3570 56
  • Date: November 13
  • Location: Oklahoma Memorial Stadium

Nebraska[edit]

#1 Nebraska at #2 Oklahoma
1 234Total
• #1 Nebraska 7 7147 35
#2 Oklahoma 3 1477 31

Oklahoma and Nebraska battled back and forth in the Game of the Century in front of a sold-out crowd in Norman and over 55 million viewers on ABC-TV on Thanksgiving Day. Nebraska struck first with a 72-yard Johnny Rodgers punt return, but Oklahoma pulled ahead by 3 by halftime. The Cornhuskers came back strong in the third quarter with two more touchdowns, but the Sooners responded with two of their own to retake the lead with only 7:10 remaining. Down by 3 points, the Huskers went on a final drive and with only 1:38 remaining, Jeff Kinney scored his fourth touchdown of the day for the lead and the win.[20][21][22]

Oklahoma State[edit]

#3 Oklahoma Sooners at Oklahoma State Cowboys
1 234Total
#3 Oklahoma 17 20714 58
Oklahoma State 0 707 14

[23]

Sugar Bowl[edit]

1 234Total
• Oklahoma 19 1236 40
Auburn 0 0715 22
  • Date: January 1
  • Location: Tulane Stadium
  • Game attendance: 84,031
  • TV announcers (ABC): Bill Flemming & Bud Wilkinson
  • Passing: AUB Sullivan 20/44, 250 Yds, TD, INT, OU Mildren 1/4, 11 Yds
  • Rushing: AUB Unger 6 Rush, 38 Yds, 2 TD, OU Mildren 30 Rush, 149 Yds, 3 TD
  • Receiving: AUB Beasley 6 Rec, 117 Yds, OU Chandler 1 Rec, 11 Yds
  • OU Crosswhite 4 yd run (kick failed)
  • OU Mildren 5 yd run (Carroll kick)
  • OU Mildren 4 yd run (kick failed)
  • OU Mildren 7 yd run (kick failed)
  • OU Wylie 71 yd punt return (kick failed)
  • AUB Unger 1 yd run (Jett kick)
  • OU Caroll 53 yd FG
  • AUB Unger 1 yd run (Jett kick)
  • OU Pruitt 2 yd run (kick failed)
  • AUB Cannon 11 yd pass from Sullivan (run good)

[24]

Roster[edit]

1971 Oklahoma Sooners football team roster
Players Coaches
Offense
Pos. # Name Class
HB 35 Roy Bell Sr
HB 20 Bob Berg So
C 54 Tom Brahaney Jr
OE 82 Al Chandler Jr
FB 17 Leon Crosswhite Jr
T 73 Darryl Emmert Sr
SE 12 Jon Harrison Sr
T 79 Robert Jensen Jr
G 69 John McLaughlin So
TE 85 Mike McLaughlin So
QB 11 Jack Mildren Sr
RB 34 Greg Pruitt Jr
QB 15 Dave Robertson Jr
G 60 Dean Unruh Jr
HB 22 Joe Wylie Jr
Defense
Pos. # Name Class
LB 43 Steve Aycock Sr
LB 59 Mark Driscoll Sr
DE 96 Ray Hamilton Jr
DT 97 Derland Moore Jr
DHB 19 Geoffrey Nordgren Sr
DHB 18 Steve O'Shaughnessy Sr
LB 81 Albert Qualls Sr
DT 98 Lucious Selmon So
Special teams
Pos. # Name Class
K 10 John Carroll Jr
P 22 Joe Wylie Jr
Head coach
Coordinators/assistant coaches

Legend
  • (C) Team captain
  • (S) Suspended
  • (I) Ineligible
  • Injured Injured
  • Redshirt Redshirt

Roster

Awards and honors[edit]

1972 NFL Draft[edit]

Player Position Round Pick NFL club
Jack Mildren Defensive back 2 46 Baltimore Colts
Al Quallis Linebacker 8 191 Baltimore Colts
Roy Bell Running back 9 234 Dallas Cowboys

[25]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Memorial Stadium". CBS Interactive. Archived from the original on 2010-06-28. Retrieved June 30, 2010.
  2. ^ "OU Football Tradition – 42 Conference Titles". CBS Interactive. Archived from the original on June 22, 2010. Retrieved June 30, 2010.
  3. ^ a b "1971 Football Season". SoonerStats.com. Retrieved July 2, 2010.
  4. ^ "Football Bowl Subdivision Records" (PDF). National Collegiate Athletic Association. p. 27. Retrieved July 2, 2010.
  5. ^ "2009 Football Record Book" (PDF). Big 12 Conference. p. 164. Retrieved July 1, 2010.
  6. ^ "2009 Division I Football Records Book: Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) Records" (PDF). National Collegiate Athletic Association. p. 35. Retrieved July 9, 2010.
  7. ^ a b c "All-American: Greg Pruitt". CBS Interactive. Archived from the original on 2010-05-25. Retrieved July 2, 2010.
  8. ^ "2009 Football Record Book" (PDF). Big 12 Conference. p. 166. Retrieved July 1, 2010.
  9. ^ "2009 Football Record Book" (PDF). Big 12 Conference. p. 173. Retrieved July 1, 2010.
  10. ^ a b "All-American: Tom Brahaney". CBS Interactive. Archived from the original on 2010-05-25. Retrieved July 2, 2010.
  11. ^ a b c "All-American: Jack Mildren". CBS Interactive. Archived from the original on 2010-05-25. Retrieved July 2, 2010.
  12. ^ "Huskers solid No. 1". Reading Eagle. Pennsylvania. Associated Press. January 4, 1972. p. 20.
  13. ^ "2009 Football Record Book" (PDF). Big 12 Conference. p. 164. Retrieved July 2, 2010.
  14. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l http://www.soonerstats.com/football/seasons/schedule.cfm?seasonid=1971
  15. ^ "1971 Oklahoma Sooners Schedule". Soonerstats.com. 2008. Retrieved September 27, 2008.
  16. ^ "Sooners thunder past favored Longhorns, 48-27." Eugene Register-Guard. October 10, 1971
  17. ^ 1971 Oklahoma vs. Texas recap - SoonerStats.com
  18. ^ "Oklahoma Routs Buffs." Palm Beach Post. October 17, 1971
  19. ^ "Sooners Romp, 75-28." Palm Beach Post. 1971 Oct 24.
  20. ^ "'Huskers dump Sooners". Eugene Register-Guard. Oregon. Associated Press. November 26, 1971. p. 3B.
  21. ^ "Kinney leads Nebraska triumph". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. Associated Press. November 26, 1971. p. 42.
  22. ^ Jenkins, Dan (December 6, 1971). "Nebraska rides high". Sports Illustrated. p. 22.
  23. ^ "Oklahoma Ropes Cowboys, 58-14." Palm Beach Post. December 5, 1971
  24. ^ 2018 Oklahoma football media guide. Retrieved 2019-Jan-15.
  25. ^ https://www.pro-football-reference.com/draft/1972.htm

External links[edit]