Just before halftime, Tommy McDonald ran 55 yards with a theft of a Hornung pass to make the score 26-0. Paul Hornung, of course, had an outstanding career in professional football. He was obviously a great player, but for him to have won the Heisman Trophy in ’56 while playing on a team that went 2-8, in addition to suffering the indignity of four interceptions on national television, is almost as inexplicable as Don Larsen’s perfect game in the World Series just a few weeks earlier.
Jimmy Harris scored once in the third quarter and Clendon Thomas scored again in the fourth, when he returned an intercepted pass 36 yards to make the final score 40-0. Late in the game, the public address announcer gave this final score “Illinois 20, Michigan State 13.” Hearing this, the OU players celebrated jubilantly. Wilkinson may have even allowed himself a small smile, for OU would surely regain the top spot in the AP poll.
The Sooners went on to post a perfect 10-0 season and claimed their third National Championship under Wilkinson.