Ohio State comes to Norman this weekend in what might be the biggest non-conference game for the Oklahoma Sooners under Bob Stoops. Before there is too much talk about the Buckeyes vs. the Sooners, let’s look back at the top-five non-conference homes games of the Stoops era.
Here it goes:
5. 2007 - Miami vs. No. 7 Oklahoma
When Miami came to Norman, the Hurricanes weren’t too far removed from their run of massive success in the early 2000s. But they were falling hard as the old rivalry from the 1980s re-emerged.
Sam Bradford, who was making his second career start, put an early statement on only Miami’s second losing season since 1979 with a 51-13 victory. Bradford threw for a program record tying five touchdown passes – three of them to Malcolm Kelly.
4. 2004 - Oregon vs. No. 2 Oklahoma
Another tough non-conference game kick-started the Sooners’ run to the national championship game in 2004. To no surprise, running back Adrian Peterson carried the load in the 31-7 victory.
Peterson, a freshman at the time, rushed for 183 yards and two touchdowns. It was his third-straight 100-yard game – in just his third game on campus.
Jason White has an easy time with Peterson, who didn’t even start the game, in the backfield behind him. Mark Clayton became Oklahoma’s career leader in receptions in the first quarter of the win – and already owning the yardage and touchdown career records.
3. 2002 - Alabama vs. No. 2 Oklahoma
A season that ultimately ended in a Sooners’ victory in the Rose Bowl started, at home at least, with a matchup against Alabama, a program on suspension and banned from a bowl game.
It was also Oklahoma’s first home game since a 2001 Bedlam than kept Oklahoma out of the national championship. Jason White was lost early to a torn knee ligament making way for Nate Hybl, who had to keep the Sooners afloat when Quentin Griffin rushed for just nine yards.
Alabama, which lost only two games all season in 2002, rallied back from a 20-point halftime deficit to take the lead, but Kejuan Jones scored with 2:11 to go to give Oklahoma a three-point lead. Eric Bassey capped the 37-27 win with a scoop-and-score.
2. 2010 - No. 14 Florida State vs. No. 10 Oklahoma
Coming off a shaky season opener against Utah State, the Oklahoma Sooners came into Week 2 facing a rematch of the 2001 Orange Bowl – the Sooners’ last national championship victory.
Florida State quarterback Christian Ponder was being hyped as Heisman contender, and Oklahoma’s defense forced him to a sub-50 percent completion rate and two interceptions in the second half on the way to a 47-17 victory to extend Oklahoma’s 32-game home win streak.
It was the longest active winning streak in the country.
Landry Jones threw for 380 yards and four touchdowns against a Mark Stoops-led defense as Oklahoma led by 27 points at halftime.
1. 2012 - No. 5 Notre Dame vs. No. 8 Oklahoma
This game remains the combined highest-rated contest in Oklahoma’s non-conference history under Bob Stoops. Linebacker Manti Teo, a Heisman candidate, led Notre Dame into Norman in a rare late-October non-conference matchup. Much like this season, the Sooners were hoping to use a major non-conference game to vault back into the national championship picture after an early loss.
A 20-point, fourth-quarter surge by Notre Dame dashed Oklahoma’s hopes in the eventual 30-13 loss.
Senior quarterback Landry Jones threw for no touchdowns for the first time that season and only the fourth time since his freshman year. In just his third game with the Sooners, Jalen Saunders had 15 catches for 181 yards.
It was only the fifth home loss under Stoops.
Teo and the Fighting Irish were just too tough defensively as the Sooners didn’t find the end zone until 9:10 remained in the game.