Saturday will mark the 108th meeting between the University of Oklahoma and the University of Texas. It will be exactly 28 years ago, in 1985, that Troy Aikman led the Oklahoma Sooners to a victory over the Texas Longhorns, 14-7.
Aikman led the Sooners because he was the quarterback, but, the defense is who really took charge of that game. The defense was led by more than a few players who would go on to have notable careers in the NFL (including-Brian Bosworth, Rickey Dixon, Tony Casillas, Kevin Murphy).
The game versus Texas was Aikman’s last win as a starting quarterback for OU. In the very next game versus the University of Miami in Norman, Aikman was sacked by the late Jerome Brown and broke his ankle (that week in SI-the inside cover captured the injury with a wide angle photo). Miami, led by Vinny Testaverde and Michael Irvin, went on to defeat OU, 27-14.
The history of that season took another unusual turn as true freshman, Jamelle Holieway, took over the reins as quarterback and turned the jets on the wishbone attack, helping the team to win out the rest of their games. In the national championship game, Holieway connected with Keith Jackson on a 71-yard pass for a touchdown and the Sooners won the battle and their sixth national championship (Holieway is still considered the only true freshman to win a college national championship as the starting quarterback.)
Not all football fans know that Aikman is a Super Bowl winner and college national champion. He was also a true freshman that year and decided to transfer to UCLA for the remaining years of his college eligibility as head coach Barry Switzer made it clear that he would be sticking with Holieway for the following season. Aikman did well at UCLA under Terry Donahue, but never won another national championship.
In a pretty nondescript offensive output over Texas in 1985, Aikman started his OU career at 3-0. The Sooners pounded the Longhorns with ball possession and more than 220 yards of rushing with multiple running backs. It was a win in which Texas couldn’t move the ball much at all and Brian Bosworth dominated with 14 tackles and one interception.
There was one other true freshman that year attending OU, who was also making a difference at home games. I was selling hot dogs all the way up to row 70 and above in various sections at Owen Field.
I even saw Aikman one time in the hallways during school time. He looked that day exactly like a future NFL quarterback; I remember saying so to myself.