Texas and Oklahoma meet on Saturday at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas for the 110th edition of the Red River Showdown. The Longhorns lead the series, 60-44-5, but have dropped four of the last five to the Sooners. While OU is favored to win handily this year, it would be hard-pressed to match its performance against Texas 12 years ago.
This week in Heisman history, Jason White threw for 290 yards and four touchdowns to leads the No. 1 Sooners over the No. 11 Longhorns, 65-13, on Oct. 11, 2003. It was the most points scored by either team in the history of the series and the largest margin of victory.
OU entered the game at 5-0, having scored at least 50 points in its previous three games. White — finally healthy after being injured in his two previous seasons — was off to a fantastic start. After five games, the senior already had 1,472 yards and 16 TD passes. But the Heisman-whispers hadn’t yet started. It would take a big game against Texas to do that.
The Longhorns were 4-1 and had a redshirt freshman named Vince Young at backup quarterback. He would get his chance to spell starter Chance Mock against OU, but Texas was still a couple years away from greatness and, anyway, the Sooners were a juggernaut that day.
White was cooly efficient against the Longhorns. He completed his first eight passees and 17 of 21 overall — an 81 percent clip — with touchdowns of 5, 20, 15 and 38 yards. He averaged a remarkable 13.81 yards per attempt. It helped that Texas turned the ball over six times, which led to OU jumping out to a 37-13 halftime lead.
Young, the 2005 Heisman runner up, was 11-of-21 for 135 yards and ran 15 times for 127 yards, many on a dazzling 59-yard run. But he fumbled once and threw a costly interception that OU defender Jonathan Jackson returned for a touchdown.
When the dust cleared, the Sooners had a 65-13 triumph and White emerged as the clear Heisman front runner. He would go on to throw for 3,744 yards and 40 touchdown passes with just eight interceptions as Oklahoma finished the regular season 12-1 and made it to the BCS title game. White beat out Pittsburgh sophomore wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald for the Heisman, becoming the fourth Sooner to win the award.
White returned for a sixth year of eligibility and produced another excellent season, placing third in the 2004 Heisman vote. He helped beat Texas again that year and finished his career 2-0 as a starter against the Longhorns, with another saved win as a backup in 2001. While the wear and tear of his knee injuries prevented the Tuttle, Okla., native from pursuing a professional career, his 2003 season remains one of the best in the annals of the Heisman.
And when it comes to the Red River Showdown, there are few who can match what he accomplished.