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Friday, December 28, 2012
How OU has fared vs. Heisman winners

By Jake Trotter

NORMAN, Okla. -- In just more than a week, Oklahoma will face Texas A&M and Heisman winner Johnny Manziel in the Cotton Bowl.

Facing the Heisman winner, however, has usually not been a positive for the Sooners. OU is 5-11 against Heisman winners in the season they captured the award.

In fact, since beating Florida State quarterback Chris Weinke in the Orange Bowl to take the 2000 national championship, the Sooners have lost three in a row to Heisman winners.

Ronnell Lewis, Frank Alexander
Led by Robert Griffin III in 2011, Baylor beat the Sooners for the first time ever.
SoonerNation breaks down OU’s history when pitted against the Heisman:

2011: QB Robert Griffin III, Baylor
The result: Baylor 45-35

Griffin Heisman’s moment actually came against the Sooners. Griffin torched OU for 479 passing yards and four touchdowns, including the game-winner with eight seconds to play.

2004: QB Matt Leinart, USC
The result: USC 55-19

The game featured the top four Heisman finalists, but Leinart rose to the top in the national title game rout. Leinart outplayed Adrian Peterson, and Jason White and threw for 332 yards and five touchdowns.

2001: QB Eric Crouch, Nebraska
The result: Nebraska 20-10

The Sooners corralled Crouch for much of the game. But in the fourth quarter, he hauled in a 63-yard touchdown off a double reverse pass to seal the Big Red victory and catapult Nebraska to the national title game.

2000: QB Chris Weinke, Florida State
The result: OU 13-2

During the coin toss, OU linebacker Torrance Marshall told Weinke that he stole his boy’s (QB Josh Heupel) trophy. Marshall and the Sooners then backed up their talk on the field. Against a tenacious OU defense, the 28-yard-old Weinke had the worst performance of his career, completing just 25 of 51 passes for 274 yards and three turnovers. Thanks to a defensive performance for the ages, the Sooners won their seventh national championship.

1998: RB Ricky Williams, Texas
The result: Texas 34-3

Against a hapless OU defense, Williams ran wild, scratching out 139 yards and two touchdowns on 31 carries in a game that was over by the third quarter.

1994: RB Rashaan Salaam, Colorado
The result: Colorado 45-7

Against the 22nd-ranked Sooners, Salaam racked up 161 yards and four touchdowns on 25 carries. The Sooners spiraled after the crushing defeat and finished 6-6 in Gary Gibbs’ final season.

1988: RB Barry Sanders, Oklahoma State
The result: OU 31-28

In perhaps the most epic Bedlam game, Sanders dazzled with 215 yards and two touchdowns. But thanks to a little Sooner Magic, Brent Parker dropped the game-winning touchdown in the end zone and OU held on for the narrow victory in Stillwater.

1986: QB Vinny Testaverde, Miami
The result: Miami 28-16

In a showdown featuring the No. 1- and No. 2-ranked teams, Testaverde was awesome, throwing for 261 yards and four touchdowns. He also completed a school-record 14 straight completions. Thanks in part to his OU performance, Testaverde went on to capture 70 percent of the Heisman vote, though Miami would miss out on the national title after losing to Penn State in the Fiesta Bowl.

1983: RB Mike Rozier, Nebraska
The result: Nebraska 28-21

Spearheaded by Rozier's 205 rushing yards, the Huskers came from behind twice to pull out the win in Norman. Rozier would finish as the all-time leading rusher in Big Eight history and became the second player in FBS history to top 2,000 yards in a season.

1981: RB Marcus Allen, USC
The result: USC 28-24

Against second-ranked OU, Allen and the top-ranked Trojans rallied with a late fourth-quarter touchdown drive to stun the Sooners with two seconds remaining. Allen led USC with 208 rushing yards and two touchdowns.

1977: RB Earl Campbell, Texas
The result: Texas 13-6

In the Red River Rivalry, Campbell -- whom Barry Switzer calls the best player he ever faced -- scored the game’s only touchdown, a 24-yard scamper in the second quarter. Campbell finished with 124 rushing yards in his only victory over the Sooners.

1972: RB Johnny Rodgers
The result: OU 17-14

Rodgers got the best of the Sooners the year before in the “Game of the Century” with a thrilling punt return. But in ’72, OU corralled Rodgers and limited him to just 46 yards rushing and receiving.

1971: QB Pat Sullivan, Auburn
The result: OU 40-22

Sullivan, also a two-time SEC Player of the Year, came into the game with more than 2,000 passing yards and 19 touchdowns. But OU was stifling on both sides of the ball in ’71, and limited Sullivan to just six completions in the first half. Most of Sullivan’s 250 passing yards came after the Sooners had built up a 34-0 lead.

1956: QB Paul Hornung, Notre Dame
The result: OU 40-0

Bud Wilkinson’s finest team obliterated Hornung and Notre Dame in South Bend -- OU’s lone victory over the Irish in now 10 tries. The Sooners intercepted Hornung four times. OU stars Tommy McDonald and Jerry Tubbs, however, ended up splitting the Southwest Heisman vote, allowing Hornung to still win the award even though McDonald had more first-place votes -- the only time that’s ever happened. The “Golden Boy” also remains the only Heisman winner from a losing team.

1953: RB John Lattner, Notre Dame
The result: Notre Dame 28-21

In the most anticipated home opener in OU history, the preseason No. 1 Irish visited Norman for the first time. The Sooners played Notre Dame tough, but Lattner’s fourth-quarter interception sealed the win for the Irish. Lattner was a major force defensively with two picks, but had just a pedestrian offensive day with 22 yards rushing and 47 receiving.

1946: RB Glenn Davis, Notre Dame
The result: Army 21-7

In a game that would prove to be a springboard to the building of OU’s football program, the Sooners defensive front stood tall against “Mr. Outside.” In a losing effort, OU actually outrushed Army as the Sooners held Davis to just 19 yards, the lowest total of his career.

* List includes only those meetings against Heisman winners in the years they won the Heisman.