The wild, bottle-throwing, badly officiated 1947 OU-Texas game

The Red River rivalry will not disappoint (0:51)

The historic showdown between Oklahoma and Texas has come around for yet another year. Tune in Saturday at 3:30 p.m. ET on ESPN to find out who will walk away with the Golden Hat. (0:51)

Saturday in Dallas, Tom Herman and Lincoln Riley will debut as head coaches in the Red River Showdown. Not since 1947 have Oklahoma and Texas both had new coaches in the same season.

Yet not much could happen this weekend that could top the insanity and chaos that enveloped that 1947 game, which featured flying bottles, ended with a getaway police car and generated a new expletive in the lexicon for those north of the Red River.

The buildup for the 1947 clash had plenty of hype, and included legendary names on both sides.

After Jim Tatum had bolted Oklahoma for Maryland after one season, the Sooners promoted an assistant by the name of Bud Wilkinson to the top job. One of Wilkinson's best players was All-American back Darrell Royal.

As for Texas, Blair Cherry inherited a backfield from mentor Dana X. Bible manned by fullback Tom Landry and a quarterback named Bobby Layne.

Up to that point, Texas had owned Oklahoma with seven straight wins and a 28-11-2 all-time record in the series. Behind their loaded backfield, the Longhorns were ranked No. 3 and entered a heavy favorite again.

Wilkinson's budding squad hung tough early. But late in the first half, the game quickly turned. Decades later, Oklahoma fans, including the university president, would still blame referee Jack Sisco.

The game was tied 7-7, and Texas had possession at the Oklahoma 3-yard line with 20 seconds remaining. After getting to the 1, the Longhorns quickly lined up for another play. The following week, Wilkinson would declare that before the game both teams had agreed that the scoreboard clock would be the official time. On the next play, Texas running back Randall Clay was stuffed for no gain just as the final seconds ticked off the clock.

Initially, Sisco signaled "touchdown," according to accounts from incredulous Oklahoma fans and players, then changed his signal to "timeout" after discovering Clay had not scored. Still, there was no time left on the scoreboard. Yet Sisco said a Texas player from underneath the pile had called timeout in time, and allowed the Longhorns to run another play. Sisco later pointed out that because he had signaled "touchdown," he was late in notifying the scoreboard operator of the timeout before the clock ran out.

Either way, the usually even-keeled Wilkinson was furious. He tore off his gray fedora and rushed the field before being waved back by Sisco. Wilkinson would confide to friends that had he not been a rookie head coach, he would've taken his team off the field.

Instead, Texas was given another play with no time showing on the scoreboard.

And that play that followed would prove more controversial than the one preceding it.

Layne and halfback Jimmy Canady fumbled the handoff exchange as Canady dove across the goal line, leaving the ball at Layne's feet. Squatting while fighting off incoming Sooners defenders, Layne shrewdly wheeled around and flipped the ball to Clay, who barreled into the end zone. The Oklahoma players instantly protested that Layne's knee had been down before he pitched the ball. But Sisco overruled the other officials, asserting Layne's knee hadn't touched the ground, which gave the Longhorns the touchdown.

The play would be hotly debated for weeks in Austin and Norman. On Monday, Wilkinson complained about it in a radio interview with legendary announcer Curt Gowdy, who was based in Oklahoma City at the time. That prompted Cherry to retort, "Check the Sunday morning papers to see if we scored or not." Despite the back and forth, nobody could know for sure whether Layne was down. Including Layne himself. "I couldn't tell you," he would say years later. "I don't know myself to this day."

Nevertheless, at halftime, Wilkinson was irate. As the players ran off the field, he charged through the Texas band to confront Sisco, accidentally knocking over a piccolo player on the way.

Then in the second half, all hell broke loose.

A block in the back wiped out a big Royal punt return. A roughing the passer flag negated a Royal interception of Layne. When officials allowed Clay to keep another play going and circle out of the scrum for a touchdown when his forward progress appeared to have been stopped, Sooners fans had enough.

They began raining pop bottles and seat cushions down on the field. Players on both sides dashed to midfield to avoid getting pelted.

The field was cleared after a delay, and Texas went on to win, 34-14.

After the final whistle, Oklahoma fans lobbed anything else they could find onto the field, including flasks and more bottles. Royal grabbed his future wife, Edith, put his helmet on her head and ran her to the tunnel for cover.

Fistfights broke out in the stands, while scores of Oklahoma fans made a beeline onto the field for Sisco. Lucky for him, Dallas police saw the riot coming. As soon as the game ended, they drove a squad car to midfield and hurried him and the other officials into it while slugging away at the swarm of enraged fans. "I didn't get alarmed until some little guy knocked a cop off the fender of the police car with a bottle," umpire John Waldorf said, according to longtime Austin, Texas, AP writer Robert Heard. "Several cops got cut with bottles."

As a result of the melee, bottled drinks would never be served at the Cotton Bowl again.

The next week, Oklahoma president George Lynn Cross was so incensed over the Sisco calls, he threatened to pull the series out of the State Fair of Texas in favor of a home-and-home. Two decades later, Cross wrote in his book "Presidents Can't Punt" that "one still hears the word 'Sisco' used occasionally in relation to an unsavory situation - 'He pulled a Sisco on me,' or 'we were Siscoed in that deal.'"

Long after taking over as the coach at Texas, Royal remembered Sisco, too.

"You mention Jack Sisco to a lot of people from Oklahoma and they'll bristle," Royal said, according to an excerpt from the book, "The Die-Hard Fan's Guide to Longhorn Football." "But it happened such a long time ago that most of them probably don't even know why they dislike him."

Maybe not. Years later, Sisco, who had played for Baylor in the 1920s and had been a coach at North Texas State before World War II, traveled to Shawnee, Oklahoma, for a luncheon. Merle Dinkins, who had been a key player for Wilkinson in 1947, was there, and couldn't believe Sisco had dared to cross into Oklahoma.

"Everyone there wanted to see if I would knock the hell out of him," Dinkins would say. "I just looked at him and said, 'It's a wonder you didn't get killed coming up this way.'"