16th Annual Sugar Bowl Classic ~ January 2, 1950
#2 Oklahoma 35 (11-0-0)
#9 LSU 0 (8-3-0)
How Oklahoma and LSU Met in the 1950 Sugar Bowl
Things didn’t start the way they finished. Not by a longshot.
“We actually started off well,” Tiger back Kenny Konz said later. “We started like we had been playing during the regular season, pretty efficiently. Things at that point were going well.”
For 15 minutes the LSU line actually outperformed Bud Wilkerson’s alternating units. In two possessions, the Tigers reached the Sooners 15, then the 35.
Sooners quarterback Darrell Royal had to change things up to cope with the LSU defense. “Our drop-back passes were completely useless because they knew exactly what was coming,” Royal said. “The passes I did complete were a new set of plays that we didn’t practice.”
This is how well LSU was playing early against the eight-point favorite Sooners: Nine plays into the second quarter, Royal went to his alternate plan, lateralling to halfback Lindell Pearson, who threw to a wide-open Bobby Goad 40 yards downfield on the 8. The Sooners never did score as LSU held on fourth down inside the 1.
Everything changed in the second quarter with a short drive after an LSU’s punt, and a lost fumble. George Thomas going in on a 27-yard pass and a 5-yard run.
Konz seemingly gave LSU a chance to get back in it with a punt that came to rest at the OU 14. Fullback Leon Heath then wheeled out of the Sooner split-T and blazed 86 yards, the longest scoring run of all the previous Sugar Bowls, to effectively end the game.
Armand Kitto, a 157-pound LSU end who chased Heath the length of the field, said,”…They say on a long run like that, a bear will jump on the runner’s back. Well, I just kept waiting for the bear to jump on him and, instead, he jumped on me.”
Another lost fumble and interception near the LSU goal led to two more Oklahoma touchdowns, ballooning the score.
In the first 15 games the Sugar Bowl had a remarkable matchmaking record with an average of seven points separating the opponents. The 1950 game remains the worst scoring differential in Sugar Bowl history. The headline in the Dallas News of January 3 read: “Oklahoma Overpowers Minor League LSU Team,” ignoring the fact that LSU had beaten both Rice and North Carolina, the Cotton Bowl participants.
Wilkerson graciously understated the SEC’s eighth defeat in 12 Sugar Bowls when he said, “If we played LSU a dozen times we’d never play that well against them again, or score that many points. They’re too good a team.”
This was probably why the Sooners coach didn’t take out his regulars until approximately three minutes remained in the game and the score stood at its final 35-0.
Recap excerpted from the book “Sugar Bowl Classic: A History” by Marty Mulé, who covered the game and the organization for decades for the New Orleans Times-Picayune