There won’t be any college football this year on Christmas Eve after the EasyPost Hawai’i Bowl was canceled. Hawai’i announced Thursday that it was pulling out of the game, citing COVID-19 issues within the program in addition to injuries and transfers.
In its history, Oklahoma has played just one game on Christmas Eve. That happened 28 years ago in the 1993 John Hancock Bowl in El Paso, Texas, when Oklahoma collided against then-Southwest Conference member Texas Tech.
OU had started that season under head coach Gary Gibbs 5-0 and ranked No. 9, but losses to No. 20 Colorado (27-10), at No. 25 Kansas State (21-7) and at No. 2 Nebraska (21-7) derailed a promising start.
Meanwhile, Texas Tech entered that Christmas Eve tilt having won five straight games to recover from a 1-5 start and finish second in the Southwest Conference.
The Red Raiders were led by running back Byron “Bam” Morris. Morris was an eventual third-round selection in the 1994 NFL Draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers and he entered the bowl game having rushed for 1,657 yards and 21 touchdowns.
After forcing a three-and-out on the game’s first possession, OU had the football in plus territory following an 18-yard punt return from Darrius Johnson.
Gundy wasted little time going to work for the Sooners, connecting with wide receiver Corey Warren on a 33-yard pass to the 2-yard line on Oklahoma’s second offensive snap.
OU running back Dwayne Chandler scored on a 2-yard rushing touchdown and the Sooners led 7-0 after just a little more than a minute and a half had expired in the game.
Chandler helped set up Oklahoma’s second score, too. Chandler ripped off a 20-yard rush to set up the Sooners with goal-to-go on OU’s second possession.
Gundy then flicked a 9-yard touchdown pass into the back of the end zone to tight end Rickey Brady, Oklahoma’s leading receiver that season. That put OU in front 14-0.
After punts on their first five possessions, Texas Tech finally got onto the board with a 22-yard field goal from Jon Davis. That field goal was marred, though, by a pair of dropped would-be touchdown receptions by Tech.
Gundy and OU responded quickly. After a defensive pass interference penalty helped keep the drive alive, Gundy fired over the middle and found Warren who bounced off a Tech tackler and took in the reception for a 34-yard touchdown reception to put Oklahoma in front 21-3 with 1:45 left to play in the first half.
The Red Raiders looked like they were driving for points, calling their first timeout with 34 seconds remaining before halftime after a pass to the OU 35-yard line.
Then, OU linebacker Mike Coats stepped in front of Texas Tech quarterback Robert Hall’s pass and sprinted the other way to the Red Raiders’ 27-yard line.
Under pressure, Gundy flipped the football to running back James Allen for a 12-yard gain. Then, Gundy found Brady again for a 15-yard passing touchdown to send Oklahoma into halftime up 28-3.
Oklahoma and running back Jerald Moore added a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns to put the finishing touches on a Christmas Eve blowout victory.
First, it was Moore’s 32-yard rushing touchdown with 9:34 remaining. Moore also scored a 6-yard rushing touchdown on the game’s final play and OU topped Texas Tech 41-10.
Gundy was named the 1993 John Hancock Bowl’s Most Valuable Player after completing 15-of-26 passes for 215 yards with three passing touchdowns.
Of course, the two schools would soon after be paired together in the Big 12 conference after the Southwest Conference’s demise.
Oklahoma leads the all-time series against Texas Tech 23-6 and has won each of the past 10 meetings. OU topped Texas Tech 52-21 this season on Oct. 30 as true freshman quarterback Caleb Williams passed for 402 yards and six touchdowns.
In the process, Williams became just the third OU quarterback in program history to pass for six or more touchdowns without an interception in a single game.
Oklahoma will close its 2021 season against Oregon on Dec. 29 in the Valero Alamo Bowl with kickoff set for 8:15 p.m. on ESPN.