Only 14 days to go! We’ve got a fun one for you today: Sooner legends Josh Heupel and Sam Bradford.
Like most OU fans, I can still remember the 2000 season like it was yesterday. My dad got his hands on season tickets in 1999, the first year of the Stoops regime—er, era. In just his second year, Stoops brought a national championship back to Norman.
Although the team was brought to such lofty heights on the back of their defense, their quarterback and Heisman runner-up—damn you, Chris Weinke!—was their heart and soul, their leader. His legacy was tarnished a bit with his iffy play-calling as an offensive coordinator, but he’ll still be remembered as one of the best.
Of course, I’m talking about lefty cannon-arm Josh Heupel. Check out the highlights from the 2000 Red River Rivalry:
“...and the eyes of Texas have been BLACKENED!”
Unlike Heupel, Sam Bradford did win the Heisman. He’s Oklahoma’s leading passer in single season yards and touchdowns, with 4,720 and 50 in 2008, respectively.
Like the entirety of the 2000 season, I’ll also never forget Bradford’s first game as a true freshman. Against the University of North Texas, Bradford went 21 for 23, piling on 363 yards and three touchdowns—and this was just in the two quarters, breaking the OU record for yards in a half.
The next week, he broke Jason White’s record for consecutive completions.
Bradford was the recipient of Heisman Award, Davey O’Brien trophy, was the first pick in the NFL draft and garnered NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year honors. He’s young still, but he’s already had an impressive and highly decorated career.
My favorite moment from Sam was also the one that defined his Heisman season: the flip in Stillwater.
It was a gutsy play, vaulting himself over the defender and going heels-over-head before hitting the ground hard. I’m pretty sure Sooner Nation’s collective heart skipped a beat on that one.
Thanks for everything, Josh and Sam.