We’re 25 days away from football time in Oklahoma, so let’s take the time to remember an oft-forgotten hero of Oklahoma Sooners football history.
James Allen had a pretty solid career in Norman (2,387 yards in four seasons) and ended up with the Chicago Bears after going undrafted in 1997. He would go on to have a five-year NFL career, which included a 1000-yard season with the Bears in 2000. He actually ran for over 100 yards in a Sunday Night Football win over the Minnesota Vikings and also caught a Hail Mary pass to send the Bears to overtime against the Cleveland Browns. I’d provide you with a video of the Hail Mary, but you all know how the NFL is with their video rights.
However, Allen is primarily remembered in these parts as the guy who took down Texas in 1996.
John Blake’s first season was absolutely abysmal. The Sooners went 3-8 and didn’t win a game at Owen Field. They’d stumble into the State Fair of Texas with an 0-4 record, having suffered losses to TCU, San Diego State, Tulsa and Kansas. OU was in the gutter and would stay there until Stoops arrived, but on Oct. 12 of 1996 there was a brief moment of sunshine.
This is the first OU football game that I vividly remember watching attentively on TV (it was around the time that doctors started prescribing Ritalin to seemingly every child in America), so I’m glad it turned out well. As you may recall, OU-Texas ended in a 24-24 tie in 1995, so you can imagine how pumped the players were after this win.