Clash of Titans
Games featuring a future Hall of Fame coach on each sideline.
November 11, 1961: Oklahoma @ Missouri
Bud Wilkinson vs Dan Devine
After astounding the college football world with their 47-game winning streak from 1953-57, Bud Wilkinson's Oklahoma Sooners had fallen on hard times.
The 1958 team went 10-1, but as more players who contributed to the winning streak graduated, the Sooners fell to 7-3 in '59.
Then the unthinkable occurred in 1960: a losing record (3-6) for the first time in Wilkinson's 14-year tenure and the first in OU history since 1942.
Multiple factors were sighted for the drop-off. Obviously recruiting had declined, with Wilkinson accused of being too busy with non-Oklahoma responsibilities to spear­head the recruiting process. Injuries at the quarterback position also played a role.
The result was a 180° reversal of team attitudes. Whereas players expected to win every time they took the field during the winning streak, Sooner teams began to sus­pect that they would not succeed in the coming season or a particular game of the season.
Wilkinson used the 1961 spring practice to rebuild his team's psyche. The presea­son Associated Press poll for the 1961 season reflected sportswriters' confidence that OU would improve when they voted them sixth despite having suffered heavy losses to graduation.
So nobody expected the 0-5 start, with losses to Notre Dame, Iowa State, Texas, Kansas, and Colorado.

L: Bud Wilkinson (Oklahoma Sooner Yearbook - Class of 1962);
R: Dan Devine (Missouri Savitar Yearbook - Class of 1961)
At that point, Wilkinson decided to make a bold prediction. On his Sunday tele­vision show, after discussing the previous day's loss to Colorado, Bud turned his attention to the five remaining games on the schedule. He shocked the show's host and the tv audience by declaring that his Sooners would win all five of their remaining games.
His assistant coaches were stunned. At their meeting the next morning, someone asked, "What the heck was he thinking?"
But Bud, always upbeat, never down, knew that if his team could eliminate the mental errors that had plagued them in the first five games, they could win. He told the team the same thing, giving the players a terrific burst of confidence. By making the declaration publicly, he had also put his own reputation on the line as a gesture of that confidence.
The next Saturday, the Sooners traveled to Manhattan KS and beat Kansas State 17-6. But the next foe would be considerably more difficult to defeat than the 2-4 (now 2-5) Wildcats.
Dan Devine's Missouri Tigers started the season with five wins and a tie to rise to #10 in the national rankings. Then they lost at #8 Colorado, 7-6, although they didn't fall in the rankings.
Mizzou had an excellent defense that had allowed only 34 points in their first seven games. They had also not lost a home game since 1959 (to Oklahoma). On the other hand, the Sooners had not lost at Missouri since 1945, the year before Wilkinson became head coach.
Bud was not pleased with his team's practices the first three days of Mizzou week. So he decided to make another bold move. C John Tatum recalled what occurred.
The week of the Missouri game, the practices were just a comedy of errors for the alternate starting unit. It was so bad that on Thursday, Coach Wilkinson stopped practice and demoted our alternate starting unit to last team, and we had about fourteen different teams. Then he dismissed the rest of the squad and kept the alternates out late to work with the last unit. He'd never done this before. So after we'd gone through practice with the last team again, he called us together and told us how disappointed he was in us because we were making so many mistakes, and he was right. There were fumbles, guys jumping offsides, center snaps on the wrong snap count, receivers dropping passes, backs hitting the wrong holes... you name it. He even said that if there was any way that he could have left us behind for the trip to Columbia, he would have. When we met the bus to take us to Max Westheimer Field for the flight to Columbia the next day, (Assistant Coach) Gomer (Jones) wouldn't let our unit board the starters' bus. He stopped me as I was starting to board the bus and said, "Johnny, Coach Wilkinson wants you on that other bus... he doesn't want you around the starting team." So we got on the other bus and when we got to the airport, we had to fly on the second airplane. In Columbia, he had us staying in a different wing of the hotel, and we weren't even allowed to eat with the starters. He totally segregated us because we'd been screwing up so badly.
The alternates would get a chance to redeem themselves early in the Missouri game.

Oklahoma QB Bob Page tackled by Carl Crowford (81) and Don Wainright (28).
University of Missouri Savitar Yearbook - Class of 1962
Tigers Immediately Threaten
Oklahoma won the toss and elected to receive on the rain-washed field before a record crowd of 44,000. Needing to get off to a good start, the Sooners did just the opposite as senior QB Bob Page's pass intended for HB Jimmy Carpenter skidded through the receiver's hands and into the waiting arms of Tiger LB Jim Vermillion at the OU 43.
Two plays later, Missouri QB Ron Taylor tossed a bullet pass to E Conrad Hitch­ler, who caught the ball in the middle of the field, cut to the sideline and raced down to the 2y mark where Monte Deere crashed him out of bounds. Wilkinson called timeout.
Tatum: "Bud called the alternates over, and he told us in no uncertain terms that it was our fault that Missouri was moving the ball on the other team because of our poor practicing habits the prior week. Then he told us that we had to get out on the field and that if Missouri was going to score, they could score on us. When we went into the game, I swear, the Green Bay Packers couldn't have scored on us. We held them on downs and took over."
When play resumed, Missouri attacked inside twice and outside twice. But the coaches guessed correctly on all four defensive calls to stuff each Tiger thrust and take over on downs. On the fourth down play from the one, OU T Dennis Ward, playing in place of injured team captain Billy White, tripped HB Vince Turner at the line of scrimmage, and he fell 1' short of the goal line.
Later in the first quarter, Carpenter gave the Sooners good field position for the first time when he returned a punt 44y down the sideline to the Missouri 45, where Tom Hertz caught him from behind. Oklahoma moved to the 10 where the defense stopped them on fourth down.
Sooners Score First
Oklahoma broke the scoring ice in the second quarter. The march started when C Wayne Lee recovered QB Bill Tobin's fumble on the Mizzou 43. Sophomore FB Dick Beattie, a workhorse on offense and defense, gained 3y before RHB Mike "Roadrun­ner" McClellan bolted for 5y. Two short gains moved the ball to the 28. Sophomore QB Bill Van Burkleo came into the game for one play and tossed a pass to LHB Paul Lea to the 14. The Tigers then stopped McClellan for no gain on a pitchout.
At that point, Oklahoma dipped into its stockpile of plays and chose a maneuver that had brought it great success in the golden days of the 1946-59 era. Page late­ralled to LHB Carpenter, who started around right end. But he threw a wobbly pass to McClellan, who hauled in the ball, slipped past a defender, and beat S Jim Johnson to the goal line. George Jarman booted the PAT. Oklahoma 7 Missouri 0 with 7:24 left in the first half.
Carpenter recalled the touchdown play: "On our touchdown, we were on their 15-yard line when Bob Page called an option play to the right and pitched it out to me. Just as I caught the ball, I got drilled right in the center of my chest by a Missouri lineman and as I was going down, out of the corner of my eye, I noticed my room­mate, Mike McClellan, skirting the right side, so I flipped out to him, and he scored. We called him 'Iron Hands,' but he had no trouble handling that pitchout."
The Tigers rallied late in the half. Taylor completed two straight passes, first to Hitchler for 9y to the Missouri 37, then to FB Andy Russell (future All-Pro line­backer for the Pittsburgh Steelers) for 10 more. The drive continued when an interference penalty placed the pigskin on the OU 17 with 25 seconds left in the half.
Staying hot, Taylor hit Russell again, and he stepped out of bounds at the ten. Devine ordered a field goal to get on the board before halftime, but Tobin's boot sailed wide right.
Halftime score: Oklahoma 7 Missouri 0

Andy Russell tries to smash through two Sooners.
University of Missouri Savitar Yearbook - Class of 1962
Sooners Thwart Another Threat
Missouri took the second half kickoff in the rain and drove from their 38 to the OU eight. Two reverses by gritty HB Norm Beal gained 10y and a first down at the 48. After Russell bulled for 5y, Taylor pitched the ball on an option play to Tobin for nine more yards as the rain stopped.

Norm Beal breaks into open as Ron Taylor levels a Sooner.
University of Missouri Savitar Yearbook - Class of 1962
Russell clawed and dug for 12y through the middle to the 26. Following a reverse by Tobin that gained 3y, Taylor skirted right end for 10y to the 13. Two more runs put the ball at the eight.
Taylor decided to pass, but his throw for FL Don Wainwright at the goal line went astray. Then another incompletion gave the Big Red possession.
Oklahoma had two more chances to put the game away with a field goal. In the third quarter, they reached the Mizzou 24 before running out of downs. Midway in the final period, OU moved to the eight only to have Jarman's field goal try go wide.
Missouri then launched one last attempt at tying the score, driving from their 20 to the OU 31. But Deere intercepted Taylor's pass on the nine and returned it to the 21.
Not taking any chances, the Sooners ran the ball three times to face a fourth-down punting situation. Wilkinson had instructed his players on what to do next. C Tatum did not snap the ball and took a 5y delay-of-game penalty. The rules at that time called for the clock to be restarted after the penalty was marked off. So Tatum took another delay-of-game markoff and another until the clock ran out.
Final score: OKLAHOMA 7 MISSOURI 0
Dan Devine campaigned successfully in the offseason for the rule to be changed, and in 1962, the clock was not restarted after a delay of game penalty until the ball was snapped.
The statistics favored Missouri, which led in first downs 18-10, rushing yards 177-131, and passing yards 85-37. Oklahoma had more penalty yards (62-20) but had one less turnover (3 to 4).
Dan Devine told reporters: "We played as well as we know how. Our problem was failure to capitalize on our scoring opportunities. They just happened to cash in on the opportunity they got. We've lacked a scoring punch all year. And we get scoring oppor­tunities only once or twice a game." He said that Oklahoma's defensive strategy was an important factor in the victory. "In passing situations, they rushed from the offside on our rollouts, and most teams don't rush that way. We weren't looking for it."
Wilkinson: "It's wonderful to win after you've hung in there so long. Things went wrong for us for a long time, and it would have been easy for our boys to surrender. But they never quit, and it paid off today." He admitted, "Maybe the slippery turf hurt Missouri's outside running."
The Sooners won all three of their remaining games in 1961 to finish with a 5-5 record.
With their confidence restored, Oklahoma won the Big 8 in 1962 with a 7-0 record, part of an 8-2 season that earned an Orange Bowl berth against Alabama.
Wishbone: Oklahoma Football, 1959-1985, Wann Smith. University of Oklahoma Press. Kindle Edition. (2011)