1951 Sugar Bowl
17th Sugar Bowl
1234 Total
Kentucky 7600 13
Oklahoma 0007 7
DateJanuary 1, 1951
StadiumTulane Stadium
LocationNew Orleans, Louisiana
FavoriteOklahoma by 6 to 7 points[1]
RefereeRonald Gibbs (Big Seven;
split crew: Big Seven, SEC)
Sugar Bowl
 < 1950  1952

The 1951 Sugar Bowl was a college football bowl game played on January 1, 1951. The 17th playing of the Sugar Bowl, it was one of the 1950–51 bowl games concluding the 1950 college football season.



Main article: 1950 Kentucky Wildcats football team

Kentucky entered the bowl with a 10–1 record. The Wildcats were 5–1 in SEC play, thus winning the conference title. The Wildcats' lone loss was to Tennessee. This was the Wildcats' first appearance in a Sugar Bowl.


Main article: 1950 Oklahoma Sooners football team

Oklahoma entered the Sugar Bowl top-ranked with a 10–0 record, having won all 6 of their Big Seven regular season games, thus clinching the conference title. Both major polls (AP writers, UP coaches) awarded the Sooners with their first national championship at the end of the regular season.[3][4] There were no post bowl polls at the time, but asked by the NCAA (who doesn’t officially recognize champions in football) to retroactively apply his methods to name a champion for each year prior to the beginnings of his rankings in 1978, Jeff Sagarin named Kentucky the champion for the 1950 season. Oklahoma had a record of 2–0 in prior Sugar Bowl games, having won in 1949 and 1950.

Game summary

Kentucky fielded three defensive tackles for much of the game, which caused Oklahoma quarterback Claude Arnold to hurry his handoffs and passes. One Wildcat tackle was Bob Gain, winner of the Outland Trophy that season. The third was Walt Yowarsky, who had played less than five minutes on defense during the regular season. Yowarsky recovered a fumble on the Oklahoma 22-yard line, leading to Kentucky's first score: on the next play after Yowarsky's fumble recovery, Kentucky quarterback Babe Parilli threw a touchdown pass to Wilbur Jamerson for a 7–0 lead at the end of the first quarter. In the second quarter, the Wildcats drove 81 yards for a touchdown, a run by Wilbur Jamerson, and led 13–0 at halftime.

In the third quarter, Oklahoma had the ball, first and goal on the Kentucky 3-yard line. The Wildcat defense held on first and second down; on third down Yowarsky tackled the Oklahoma ball carrier for a five-yard loss. On fourth down, the Sooners were stopped and Kentucky took possession.

In the fourth quarter, Yowarsky recovered a fumbled punt. With seven minutes left in the game, Oklahoma quarterback Billy Vessels threw a 17-yard touchdown pass to Merrill Green. Kentucky, however, retained possession of the football for the rest of the game, with the exception of one play, for a 13–7 victory. Yowarsky was named the game's Most Valuable Player.

1951 Sugar Bowl
Period 1 2 34Total
No. 7 Kentucky 7 6 0013
No. 1 Oklahoma 0 0 077

at Tulane StadiumNew Orleans, Louisiana

  • Date: Monday, January 1, 1951
Game information
First quarter
  • UK – Jamieson 22-yard pass from Parelli, kick (Kentucky 7–0)
Second quarter
  • UK – Jamieson 1-yard rush, kick failed (Kentucky 13–0)
Third quarter
No scoring
Fourth quarter
  • OKLA – Green 22-yard pass from Vessels, Jim Weatherall kick (Kentucky 13–7)


Statistics UK OKLA
First downs 7 18
Passing yards
Passing: comp–att–int
Time of possession
Team Category Player Statistics
Kentucky Passing
Oklahoma Passing


  1. ^ "Oklahoma choice to grab 32nd grid win". Milwaukee Sentinel. Associated Press. January 1, 1951. p. 4, part 2.
  2. ^ Tramel, Berry (December 27, 2013). "Oklahoma football: A look at the Sooners' Sugar Bowl history". theoklahoman.com. Archived from the original on September 18, 2020.
  3. ^ "Sooners keep top grid spot". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). United Press. December 5, 1950. p. 16.
  4. ^ Opotowsky, Stan (December 5, 1951). "Oklahoma expected to win Sugar Bowl tilt; extend its winning streak to 32 games". Bend Bulletin. (Oregon). United Press. p. 2.