On Monday in our Red River Rivalry in July series, we looked at some of the most memorable plays in OU-Texas history. Today we're looking at the rivalry's villains, the players Sooners fans loathe because of their performances at the Cotton Bowl.
Here are five Longhorns villains throughout OU-Texas history:
No player broke Sooners’ hearts more than Texas QB Peter Gardere. Nicknamed “Peter the Great” for his Cotton Bowl antics, Gardere finished as the only QB on either side to go 4-0 as a starter in the series.
In 1989 and 1990, Gardere led the Horns on game-winning, come-from-behind, fourth-quarter touchdown drives. In 1992, he broke a then-Texas Red River Rivalry record with 274 passing yards as the Longhorns routed OU. In all four games under Gardere, Texas entered the Cotton Bowl unranked. OU, meanwhile, was No. 15, No. 4, No. 6 and No. 16 and favored in every game.
In his career, Gardere was just 25-16 as a starter, and played through a pair of losing seasons. But in Austin -- and in Norman -- he will forever be remembered for his performances in Dallas.
The greatest defender in Texas history also saved his best performances for the Sooners. Tommy Nobis was actually heavily recruited by Bud Wilkinson, but opted to stay in the Lone Star State and make life miserable for Wilkinson and the Sooners.
The Sooners scored 14 points -- total -- in three games against Nobis, all convincing Texas wins. In 1963, Nobis and tackle Scott Appleton dominated the Sooners in the first matchup of No. 1 vs. No. 2 in the series. Texas won 28-7 in a game that wasn’t near as close as the final score. In 1964, he recorded 21 tackles in another Texas whitewashing, and in 1965 picked off a pass as UT shut out the Sooners for the first time in 21 years. The same season, Nobis won the Outland Trophy and earned consensus All-American honors.
In 2008, Jordan Shipley gave the Longhorns the confidence they could beat OU. Then, he made sure the Longhorns would.
With OU leading 14-3 and Sam Bradford and company on the verge of blowing the game open, Shipley returned the kickoff 96 yards for a touchdown. The game suddenly was a game. After OU linebacker Ryan Reynolds injured his knee in the third quarter, Shipley took over. Lining up in the slot, Shipley repeatedly gashed the Sooners defense by breaking open against Reynolds' backup Brandon Crow, as the Longhorns outscored OU, 45-35. Shipley finished with a career-high 11 catches for 112 yards.
Shipley also had touchdown catches in 2006 and 2007, and helped Texas beat the Sooners again in 2009.
According to legend, Bobby Layne put a curse on the Detroit Lions after they traded him to Pittsburgh in his prime. Layne might as well have put one on the Sooners as well. Other than Peter Gardere, no Texas quarterback gave the Sooners more headaches than the hard-partying and hard-drinking Blonde Bomber.
Layne threw two touchdowns in Texas' 20-9 win in 1944. Layne missed the OU game the following year while serving in the Merchant Marine, but came back in 1946 to lead the Horns to a 20-13 victory. Then in 1947, with the assistance of official Jack Sisco, Layne quarterbacked Texas to a 34-14 rout of the Sooners, which ended with OU fans hurling bottles onto the field.
Randy McEachern didn’t exactly look the part of Sooner-killing quarterback. He was just 5-foot-11, 170 pounds, and was so buried on the depth chart he didn’t even get a mention in the Texas media guide. McEachern, in fact, watched the 1976 Red River Rivalry from the press box. After injuring his knee, he worked as a spotter for the Texas radio network. Before the 1977 season, he was moved to defensive back.
McEachern would get moved back to quarterback before the OU game, but his parents were so certain their son would not get in the game, they didn’t bother driving up from Houston.
But in the first quarter, the Longhorns lost their top-two quarterbacks to injury, unexpectedly forcing McEachern into the lineup. When he finally got his hands to stop shaking, McEachern led the Longhorns on the only touchdown drive of the game, completing a pair of long passes to Alfred Jackson to set up Earl Campbell’s 24-yard touchdown run. The Texas defense snuffed out OU’s final attempt to tie the game with a fourth-down stop, and the Longhorns prevailed 13-6 – Texas’ first win over the Sooners in seven years.