What’s up, friends and fans? We’ve got another exciting edition of our 2019 Countdown to Kickoff series for you today. With 71 days left until the Oklahoma Sooners begin the college football season, I wanted to use this opportunity to look back on the game that saw an OU QB throw for the most pass attempts in program history. In 2012, Landry Jones set this astounding record, and here’s how it all went down.
They call it Bedlam for a reason, and the 2012 version of this in-state rivalry certainly fit the description of that moniker. Going into this game, the Sooners needed to win out in order to keep their chances for another Big 12 title alive. As has been the case in Bedlams past, Oklahoma State was looking to play spoiler, and the Cowboys came out swinging.
Co-offensive coordinators Josh Heupel and Jay Norvell designed the game plan, and it was Heupel who called the plays. As a result, the idea was to air it out early and often. Senior QB Landry Jones did plenty of that over the course of his career, which is why he owns the program record for several passing statistics.
In a back and forth contest that never saw the Sooners take the lead until there was no time left on the clock, Jones amassed an Oklahoma record 71 pass attempts while completing a record 46 of those attempts. The resulting 500 yards, three touchdowns and one interception proved to be just enough to make this the first Bedlam game to extend into overtime. Ironically, Jones didn’t attempt another pass in OT, but the Crimson & Cream still managed a walk-off win.
To put this in perspective, the most passes ever attempted in a single game since Lincoln Riley has been in Norman (2015) is 41. That’s only happened twice, and both were with Baker Mayfield at the helm against Clemson in 2015 and Kansas State in 2017. It’s a wonder how unbalanced the Sooners’ offense was during the 3-4 year stretch prior to Riley’s arrival, but hey, at least there were some fireworks along the way.
Now let’s cover any days we missed since our last countdown post:
72 Days! - Chuck Fairbanks’ final season at OU
In his sixth season as the head coach of Oklahoma, Chuck Fairbanks led the Sooners to an 11-1 overall record, a Big 8 conference title, and a Sugar Bowl victory over Penn State. Following the 1972 season, Fairbanks accepted a job with the New England Patriots, and shortly after that, it was discovered that OU had committed recruiting violations under his watch, leading to the forfeiture of nine games and a two season bowl ban to kick off the Barry Switzer era. For his career, he went 52-15-1 en route to three Big 8 titles.
73 Days! - Barry Switzer’s first season as head coach
In 1973, as Fairbanks moved on to the NFL, long-time offensive coordinator Barry Switzer was promoted to HC, and ‘The King’s’ era began. Unfortunately, because of the inherited violations and subsequent penalties imposed on Oklahoma, the Sooners were prohibited from postseason play for two years and also were prevented from appearing on television during that span. Still, this didn’t stop Switzer from kicking off his career as a head coach with a bang.
Switzer’s team boasted a star-studded lineup that would make any coach proud. The offense featured QB Steve Davis, RB Joe Washington, and WR Tinker Owens, while the defense was led by three-time All-American Rod Shoate and Sooner royalty Lucious, Lee Roy and Dewey Selmon.
A 7-7 tie on the road against then No. 1 USC in just the second game of the season was the only time Switzer’s ‘73 squad did not taste victory. The 10-0-1 inaugural run paved the way for another highly successful coaching era in program history.
74 Days! - The best team never seen on screen
College football has been a regular event on televisions across the nation for decades, but in 1974, the Oklahoma Sooners went undefeated and were named national champions all while playing in the dark. If you wanted to watch any of those games, you simply had to be there. I wrote about that strange yet incredible season for OU during last year’s countdown series, and you can find it right here.
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