With a perfect 10-0 record and a defense that had allowed just 12 points all season, the Sooners had high hopes for a victory when they arrived in Miami in 1939 for the school’s first-ever bowl game against Tennessee. The Volunteers soundly dashed OU’s hope for a win and captured the Orange Bowl, 17-0.
No one, neither the players nor the coaching staff, had imagined Sooners fate that night, or were able to give an answer to what happened to the pride of the Big Sin and Missouri Valley sector, in the January 2nd game at Miami. Although Tennessee had by far the best team met by the redshirted Sooners all year and the best team on the field that day, Oklahoma put on perhaps its worst exhibition of the year.
The game was marred all the way through by rough play and penalties, with both sides giving and taking on one of the hardest games ever fought. Tennessee was brilliant. No team could have been beaten the Vols that day. It was the opinion of everyone present that day that the victors were the best team in the nation and could have taken care of other bowl winners without trouble.
The blocking of the orange-shirted Tennessee team was unbelievable to Sooners fans. On every play a horde of Tennessee men seemed to pop up out of the ground and mow the Sooners down. But while the Oklahomas were having trouble functioning as a team, several players turned in outstanding individual performance.
Unfortunately, seven Sooners players made their last appearance on the gridiron in an Oklahoma uniform in the Tennessee game. For more interesting football history and trivia, stay connected for more on our upcoming blog posts.
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