Oklahoma has had a wealth of quarterbacks from Texas high schools who have guided the Sooners to victories against the University of Texas.
On Saturday in Dallas, yet another name will be added to that list when Houston native Jalen Hurts guides the Sooners in the Cotton Bowl in one of college football’s top rivalry games.
He will be OU’s third different starting quarterback in as many seasons. In 2017, Baker Mayfield (Austin Lake Travis) led the Sooners. In 2018, it was Kyler Murray (Allen).
“We just have some dogs coming out of Texas,” OU wide receiver Charleston Rambo said with a big smile.
Years from now when this current stretch of history is studied, the Mayfield-Murray-Hurts era could be the school’s finest at the position, especially with Mayfield and Murray winning the Heisman Trophy. It’s expected that Hurts could make a run at it this season, as well.
“It’s been a good run. Obviously this year we’ve got a long ways to go, but it’s been a good run for all those guys,” OU coach Lincoln Riley said about the Sooners’ Texas-bred QBs. “I think it’s a possibility. It’s easier to say on the last two right now, you know. This one’s again so, so early, and very positive so far, but so much further to go.
“I hope we’re saying that at the end. I hope so.”
OU’s string of quarterbacks from Texas high schools even goes beyond this trio. In 2014, Trevor Knight (San Antonio Reagan) was the starter.
Any discussion about the best Texas-based quarterback to play for OU against the Longhorns has to go far beyond those recent candidates and even before the Barry Switzer era.
Jimmy Harris (1954-56) is the only Texas high school quarterback to win three games against his home-state university. The Terrell High School graduate’s first start was in the 1954 win over Texas. He has the most wins for a QB in school history (31-0).
“I got to know Jimmy Harris when I was coaching at OU in the ’60s and ’70s. He was a gifted guy — fast and quick,” Switzer said. “Those (OU) teams didn’t pass the ball. They ran the football, and Jimmy ran (Bud Wilkinson’s) playbook very well.”
Here are the Texas high-school based quarterbacks who had the most success as a starting quarterback for OU against the Longhorns.
Jimmy Harris, 1954-56 (3-0 vs. Texas)
A member of OU’s teams during the record 47-game win streak, Harris’ second career start was against Texas and he led the Sooners to a 14-7 win. The Terrell native helped beat the Longhorns 20-0 and 45-0 in OU’s next two national championship seasons.
Baker Mayfield, 2015-17 (2-1 vs. Texas)
Mayfield, named the greatest walk-on in college football history by ESPN on Thursday, wasn’t recruited by his hometown university in Austin, but he made the Longhorns pay with wins in 2016 (45-40) and 2017 (29-24). He only lost two conference games in his three-year career, one a 24-17 setback to Texas in 2015.
Trevor Knight, 2014 (1-0 vs. Texas)
Knight won the only start that he had against the Longhorns, coming one week after an upset loss at TCU. The San Antonio native threw for 129 yards (including a 24-yard TD pass to Sterling Shepard) to help OU build a 31-13 lead with 12:50 remaining. OU then weathered a UT comeback to win 31-26.
Thomas Lott, 1976-78 (1-1-1 vs. Texas)
The San Antonio native mastered Switzer’s wishbone attack. After leading the Sooners to a 6-6 tie against the Longhorns in 1976 and to a 13-6 defeat in 1977, the bandana-wearing Lott sparked a 31-10 triumph over Texas in his senior season, despite leaving in the third quarter with a sprained ankle.
Kyler Murray, 2018 (1-1 vs. Texas)
The Heisman Trophy winner from Allen helped OU overcome a three-touchdown deficit before the Sooners fell 48-45 in the regular season. Murray and Co. avenged the loss with a 39-27 victory over the Longhorns in the Big 12 championship game.
Jack Mildren, 1969-71 (1-2 vs. Texas)
Mildren, from Abilene, lost his first two games (27-17 and 41-9) in the series before OU blitzed the Longhorns 48-27 in 1971 as the Sooners began perfecting the wishbone attack.