1972 Sugar Bowl (January)
|1972 Sugar Bowl|
|Date||January 1, 1972|
|Location||New Orleans, Louisiana|
|MVP||QB Jack Mildren (Oklahoma)|
|Favorite||Oklahoma by 10 points |
|National anthem||Ella Fitzgerald|
|Referee||James M. Artley (SEC)|
(split crew: SEC, Big 8)
|United States TV coverage|
|Announcers||Chris Schenkel and|
The 1972 Sugar Bowl was a college football bowl played on January 1 at Tulane Stadium in New Orleans, Louisiana. The game featured the Auburn Tigers of the Southeastern Conference (SEC) and the Oklahoma Sooners of the Big Eight Conference. This was the last Sugar Bowl played in January until 1977, as it moved to New Year's Eve night for the next four editions.
Although the runner-up in their respective conferences, both teams were ranked in the top five in the polls, as this game was a tale of duality. Both teams averaged over 300 yards on the season, though Oklahoma's record setting 566 yards a game was more notable than Auburn's 393. Both teams started the season 9–0, with both teams losing late in the season to their respective arch-rivals, who were likewise undefeated and untied. Auburn lost to Alabama, and Oklahoma lost to Nebraska, the losses costing each team a conference title. Alabama and Nebraska ended up playing in the Orange Bowl for the national championship, essentially making this a runner-up game. Auburn was playing in their first Sugar Bowl game, while Oklahoma was playing their fourth, but first since 1951.
Though he threw only four passes (with one completion), Oklahoma quarterback Jack Mildren used his legs to help win the game and the MVP award, running thirty times for 149 yards and three touchdowns. Leon Crosswhite helped start the scoring with a touchdown run on OU's first drive. Mildren scored three straight touchdown runs to make it 25–0 by the second quarter and after a punt return touchdown by Joe Wylie, it was 31–0 at halftime.
Sooner kicker John Carroll made a 53-yard field goal before Auburn finally got on the scoreboard with a touchdown run by fullback Harry Unger, and the score was 34–7 after three quarters. The Sooners responded as halfback Greg Pruitt made it an even forty points, and Auburn then scored two late touchdowns. The first was a pass from Heisman Trophy winner Pat Sullivan to Sandy Cannon with less than four minutes remaining, and Unger added another on the ground to complete the scoring at 40–22. Oklahoma had more yards, fewer turnovers (2 to 3), and more first downs, and won their first Sugar Bowl since 1950.
- Oklahoma – Leon Crosswhite 4 run (kick failed)
- Oklahoma – Jack Mildren 5 run (John Carroll kick)
- Oklahoma – Joe Wylie 71 punt return (pass failed)
- Oklahoma – Mildren 4 run (run failed)
- Oklahoma – Mildren 7 run (pass failed)
- Oklahoma – Field goal, Carroll 53
- Auburn – Harry Unger 2 run (Gardner Jett kick)
- Oklahoma – Greg Pruitt 2 run (kick failed)
- Auburn – Sandy Cannon 12 pass from Pat Sullivan (Jett kick)
- Auburn – Unger 1 run (David Beck run)
Statistics Oklahoma Auburn First Downs 28 15 Rushes–Yards 87–439 19–40 Yards Passing 11 250 Passes 1–4–0 20–45–2 Total Yards 450 290 Punts-Average 5–35.4 5–48.6 Fumbles–Lost 5–2 5–1 Turnovers by 2 3 Penalties–Yards 3–12 0–0
The Sooners returned to the Sugar Bowl in December and won, becoming the only school to win the same bowl game twice in a calendar year. Auburn waited eleven years for their next Sugar Bowl, a victory.
- "Sugar(y) explosion favors Sooners". Lakeland Ledger. (Florida). Associated Press. January 1, 1972. p. 1B.
- "Bowl lineups: Cotton Bowl". Milwaukee Sentinel. January 1, 1972. p. 4, part 2.
- Mearns, M. Gene (January 1, 1972). "High score forecast in New Orleans". Reading Eagle. (Pennsylvania). UPI. p. 10.
- "Offensive stars meet in contest". Spokane Daily Chronicle. (Washington). Associated Press. December 31, 1971. p. 10.
- Darling, Ed (January 2, 1972). "Sooners rip Tigers, 40-22". Tuscaloosa News. (Alabama). p. 1B.
- "Sooners zap Eagles 40-22". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). Associated Press. January 2, 1972. p. 1, sports.
- "Oklahoma rips Auburn, 40-22". Reading Eagle. (Pennsylvania). Associated Press. January 2, 1972. p. 61.
- "Sooner standout praises Sullivan". Spokane Daily Chronicle. (Washington). January 3, 1972. p. 18.
- "1972 Sugar Bowl (January)". Oklahoma Sooners Football Media Guide. Oklahoma Sooners Athletics. p. 157. Retrieved January 10, 2015.
- "Nebraska king with Big Eight in 1-2-3 spots". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). Associated Press. January 4, 1972. p. 1-C.
- "Voters unanimously pick Nebraska as top grid team". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). Associated Press. January 4, 1972. p. 11.