On October 28 of 2000 - at the tail end of what would become known as “Red October” in Sooner lore - OU hosted No. 1 Nebraska for arguably the biggest home game in school history. OU had just defeated then-No. 3 Kansas state two weeks prior and had demolished then-No. 10 Texas the week before that. Bob had taken OU out of the darkness and back into the national spotlight, but this was by far the biggest stage his team had seen.
I was in the sixth grade at the time. I rocked highlighted hair, a Rocky Calmus jersey and cargo shorts. My style was more than suspect, but for the first time in my life, my choice to root for OU wasn’t.
Growing up during the John Blake and Howard Schnellenberger years, I had never really seen Sooner greatness firsthand. My dad warned me on the way to the game, “You’ve never been to a wild football game before. You’ve never seen people acting the way they are going to act”. I replied, “Yeah, but I’ve seen some good ones at Lloyd Noble”. My dad just shook his head.
In the first few possessions, it looked like the moment was just too big for this OU team. Eric Crouch threw for one score and ran for another, and the Sooners were down 14-0 midway through the first quarter. After the team finally got comfortable, they went on to score 31 unanswered points and put to rest any doubt that Oklahoma was back. We stormed the field after the game, which is still one of only two times I have experienced that (I recall that we stormed the field after beating Syracuse in 1997. How sad is that in hindsight?).
I don’t think I’ve ever been more elated about the outcome of a sporting event, and that includes the subsequent title game against FSU. Going to a game when you’re a kid is just different. You’re not worried about running out of beer at the tailgate. You’re not worried about traffic. You’re just there for the football game, and that game was like none other I have experienced. My ears are still ringing.