As the Oklahoma Sooners wrap up the bye week and the first month of the Lincoln Riley era, we thought it’d be a good night to look back at some great moments through the revolutionary era of OU football under Bob Stoops. While there were many important games featuring All-American-worthy performances littered through the big guy’s reign as head ball coach at Oklahoma, a few truly stood out above the rest. As always, if we left any out that you think deserved a spot on this list or think of a couple of others you’d like to reminisce about, feel free to leave a comment below.
With that, here are what we feel were the 10 best individual Sooner performances throughout the 18-season reign of Robert Anthony Stoops.
10. Quentin Griffin vs. Texas, 2000
While it can be argued the 2002 Red River matchup was Quentin Griffin’s finest performance at Oklahoma, his record-setting day in the 63-14 massacre of Texas in the championship season of 2000 is one that perhaps was the most memorable. Q rushed for a school-record six touchdowns that day and 132 total yards from scrimmage on 26 touches in the landmark victory. The win vaulted the Bob Stoops-led Sooners into the national conversation and began a march through the Big 12’s best in an unprecedented and undefeated “Red October”.
9. Rocky Calmus vs. Colorado, 1999
The former Jenks star gave perhaps the finest defensive performance through the Bob Stoops era as he tied The Boz for a school-record 22 tackles in a game on the road in Colorado in 1999. Though the Sooners lost a competitive matchup in Boulder against the former Big 12 North Buffaloes, Calmus’ dominant performance kept OU close throughout and established the sophomore linebacker among the country’s best.
8. Sam Bradford vs. Oklahoma State, 2008
With the Sooners playing to finish in a three-way tie for the South Division lead (a tie eventually broken in OU’s favor by the Bowl Championship Series standings), Sam Bradford led one of the most potent offenses in college football history to Stillwater and put up 61 points in a wild shootout win in 2008. Despite injuring his thumb early on, Sammy B went 30-of-44 for 370 yards and four total touchdowns in an aerial display of pinpoint accuracy and passing efficiency, along with adding a signature Heisman moment on a daring flip to set up his own score at the 1-yard line in the third quarter. The Bedlam win earned Oklahoma a berth to play for its third-straight Big 12 Championship the following week against Missouri.
7. Landry Jones vs. Oklahoma State, 2010
Two years after the Bradford-led Sooners came away with a victory in a Beldam shootout, the 2010 Sooners led by Landry Jones prevailed in arguably the most entertaining game in the history of the long-standing in-state rivalry. An eventful and zany fourth quarter saw Jones at his best, calling audibles at the line and connecting on clutch throw after clutch throw en route to pacing OU to a hard-fought, 47-41, win in Stillwater. The two rivals combined for 40 fouth-quarter points, with Oklahoma owning 23 of them, and behind Jones’ 37-of-62 passing for 468 yards and four touchdowns, the Sooners earned a spot to face Nebraska the following week in the Big 12 Championship.
6. Mark Clayton vs. Texas A&M, 2003
What Mark Clayton wanted that day, he got — all in one half. Catching dimes all day from deep-ball specialist/2003 Heisman Trophy winner Jason White, Clayton’s 166 yards on seven catches led the 2003 Sooners attack to a 77-0 demolition of the Aggies. Clayton’s many breath-taking performances and stellar Oklahoma career set the standard that would be followed by future standouts Ryan Broyles, Sterling Shepard and 2016 Biletnikoff Award winner Dede Westbrook — who all enjoyed performances that could’ve also easily made this list — and his special day against Texas A&M showcased his ethereal talent in memorable fashion.
5. Antonio Perkins vs. UCLA, 2003
Arguably Oklahoma’s greatest return specialist in the modern era, or at worst the most spectacular, Antonio Perkins’ three-touchdown outing against the Bruins is one for the ages. Also a solid cornerback on an elite defense through his four-year career, Perkins’ day in Norman reached rarified air and established him as one of college football’s most memorable and elite special teams performers of all-time.
4. Roy Williams vs Texas, 2001
The indomitable Roy Williams played one for the ages in the Cotton Bowl, registering eight tackles, including one for loss, along with an interception. And, of course, there was that unforgettable, superhuman pass breakup that came to be known as The Superman Play, forever etching Williams and this moment in college football immortality.
3. Trevor Knight vs Alabama, 2014 Sugar Bowl
“Alabama Trevor Knight”, where in the world did you come from? And where the hell did you go, oh so soon? Both are answers we’ll never know. I will never understand what happened in the Superdome that evening, but it was a welcomed spectacle the likes of which none of us ever thought we’d see. Entering the game as a near-three-touchdown underdog, No. 11 Oklahoma went into the 2014 Sugar Bowl and spanked the third-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide, 45-31, behind Knight’s 32-of-44 passing, 348-yard, four-touchdown beast of a ballgame in New Orleans.
2. Adrian Peterson vs. Texas, 2004
Although he was kept out of the end zone that afternoon by a stout Texas defense, Adrian Peterson showcased as a true freshman in the 2004 Red River Rivalry that he was the premier running back in the game. Surrounded by talent all over field, on both teams, AD stood tall as the best and above the rest. A monster 32 carries and 225 yards later, the Chosen One from Palestine led No. 2 Oklahoma to a 12-0 win against the No. 5 Longhorns in Dallas, the Sooners’ fifth-straight victory against their arch rivals.
1. Samaje Perine vs. Kansas, 2014
One of the most forgettable matchups against Big 12 cellar dweller Kansas became a most memorable afternoon in Norman on Homecoming Weekend 2014. Freshman running back Samaje Perine delivered an unbelievable, 427-yard rushing performance and placed his name atop the FBS record books on a rain-soaked field against the Jayhawks. The 2014 season came with many disappointments, but Perine’s landmark day was one highlight reel that will live on forever in college football history.
Follow Crimson & Cream Machine on Twitter!