The Norman Transcript

October 27, 2013

Better to be safe than sorry in the Sooner State

By Clay Horning
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — A stormy, rainy, overcast, cool and wet day made for a different kind of football Saturday at Owen Field.

For one, the kick was delayed almost an hour and a half. At 1:10 p.m., the decision came down to push the kick to 3:45. No lightning could be spotted from the press box, though Oklahoma reported three lightning strikes within six miles of the stadium and many more within 10 miles of the stadium.

“We were advised by our meteorologists of an expected clearance at 2:15-230 p.m.,” OU athletic director Joe Castlglione said. “In order to provide the teams with their normal 75-minute pre-game warm-up, kickoff was set at 3:45.”

The delay wasn’t the greatest situation for Fox, which was broadcasting the game on its network; the same network set to broadcast Game 3 of the World Series, beginning with a pre-game show at 6:30 p.m.

It was announced in the press box that the broadcast of the game would move to the Fox News Channel at 6:30 p.m. However, in the Oklahoma City market, KOKH-25, the local Fox affiliate, maintained its broadcast of the game before joining the World Series in progress.

Nice touch: As it became apparent the game’s last play had taken place, both sidelines emptied and the players headed to the middle of the field. Then, something strange happened: the Sooners dispersed in all directions to celebrate with the crowd. 

Soon after, more organized, the players were taking a victory lap together, with several jumping into the crowd atop the bricks behind the north end zone, kind of like their own Lambeau Leap.

There were times during the game the crowd cooperated with Bob Stoops’ plea for the rowdiest of atmospheres, yet those moments were fleeting. Nonetheless, as the game ended, it was very clear just how big the win was to the players who garnered it.

Only in Oklahoma: Iconic meteorologist Gary England was honored, alongside University of Oklahoma President David Boren, just as the game went to half.

England, a 1965 OU graduate, just recently retired from his regular and longtime on-air gig as Oklahoma City CBS affiliate KWTV-9’s chief meteorologist.

A pioneer in tornado study and early detection, and long the highest-rated meteorologist in the Oklahoma City market, England received a standing ovation from many of the fans in attendance.

Remember 1994: At the 8:27 mark of the first quarter, during a stoppage in play, a national championship Sooner team, along with their coach, was introduced to the Sooner crowd.

That was the 1994 Sooner baseball team that topped Georgia Tech 13-5 in the national championship game. Along with the players was coach Larry Cochell, still a Norman resident, who stayed with the program through 2005.

The team’s title-game victory was most remembered for one of the earliest and most epic dogpiles, as well T-Shirts the players quickly put on proclaiming “25 guys pulling on the same rope.”

Clay Horning

Follow me @clayhorning