Texas OU Week: 1937 A Year of Firsts

It's Texas/OU week, the Red River Shootout on the Roundup. Today, the 1937 game, a first time Texas/OU game for two coaches and the first time the Horns and Sooners played in Dallas. 

Organizers of the 1937 Texas/Oklahoma game watched forecast, as it was, all week the forecast called for rain. Worried that the game, played for the first time at the Cotton Bowl, might turn into a quagmire, the Stadium's turf was covered by a tarp. The Longhorns didn't travel to Dallas until early Saturday morning; they spent the night before the game in train cars. It was part of new Coach Dana X. Bible's new pre-game routine to allow the Horns to finish Friday classes and avoid the circus surrounding the game. 

Texas hired Bible the previous January after considering Tennessee's Robert Neyland and Duke's Wallace Wade. Both of those coaches currently have their names on stadiums. Bible coached at Texas A&M and Nebraska before coming to Austin. His 1919 Texas A&M team went undefeated and outscored opponents 275-0. At Nebraska Bible's teams won the Big Eight six times in eight years. 

Across the field in 1937 was Tom Stidham, promoted to head coach at Oklahoma after Major Lawrence "Biff" Jones left Oklahoma to take over for Bible at Nebraska. Stidham played collegiately at the legendary Haskell Indian Nations University, one of the first powerhouse western United States programs. As the local newspapers quickly pointed out, Stidham was "part Indian" though we're not sure which part. 

Stidham's tenure opened with a loss at cross-state rival Tulsa before rebounding with a win over Rice a week later. Bible's squad beat Texas Tech before losing to LSU in Baton Rouge. Each team was 1-1 heading into their October matchup. Two hours east of Dallas, in Tyler Texas A&M and Mississippi State played in a rainstorm as part of the Rose Festival. 

Cotton Bowl organizers expected 30,000 fans in the 46,000 seat venue. The rain kept some of those away, and the announced attendance was 20,000 on an overcast day. The rain came in the morning but held off for the most part during the game. 

Oklahoma scored first on a Woody Huddleston three-yard run in the second quarter. The Oklahoma offensive line dominated most of the game and scored after Texas penalties gave the Sooners six plays inside the ten-yard line. 

Texas then drove to tie the game on a pass on the very next series. Tied at seven at halftime, the Longhorns never threatened again and were it not for a valiant effort by Texas' defense; the Horns would've lost in the Cotton Bowl that day. When the final horn sounded, the Longhorns and Sooners left the game tied at 7-7. In 1937 ties happened and no one cared because they worried about more significant issues like smallpox and Nazis. 

The Oklahoma tie was one of the last bright spots in Texas' season. The Longhorns dropped five of their last six games. After struggling for three seasons, Bible's Longhorns turned the corner and won eight or more games in five of his last seven years including three SWC titles and a number 4 ranking in 1941. 

Stidham won 75% of his games while at Oklahoma but left to take over the Marquette program. Yes, Marquette had a football program at one time, even one that was a lateral move for a coach at Oklahoma.  

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