The well-prepared and unpredictable varsity boys were putting it all together when it was time for a road trip to Kansas for the next battle. Two days after the rough contest in Columbia, Oklahoma played Emporia Normal in Emporia with a tired bunch of beat-up college students. University coach Mark McMahon played under the name of Chester Reeds, the player prohibited by the trip by his mother, so he wouldn’t upset the opposing fans by playing as a coach.
The strategy was agreed upon by Emporia, so they wouldn’t lose the financial gain of the game, but would cause some heartache when the team arrived back in Norman. McMahon would settle that later, but his last second addition Fred Roberts, ran the 40 yard touchdown that settled this slugfest, 6-5. The win was nice, but the trip being over and paid for was even better.
Oklahoma returned home from the trip to blast Kingfisher College 17-0, shutting out the Kingfisher team for the second time that season. The first season that you could actually call a season, nine games, was over and the Rough Riders posted a 6-3 record. With Head Coach McMahon the boys were 5-1, proving their decision to hire the young Texas graduate after knocking on their hotel door to be a good one. Meanwhile, college football was preparing for another defining moment.
Between the 1902 and 1903 seasons John Heisman, one of the legendary names in college football’s illustrious history, made a simple request to the college football rules committee that would later reshape the game. Heisman, then the Head Coach at Clemson University, wanted to legalize the forward pass…he was summarily rejected. Later that season Harvard University would build a 30,000 seat stadium, but not before being the victim of an all-timer of a trick play, later described by Glenn “Pop” Warner in Collier’s Magazine:
“The ball sailed far and high down the center of the field, and was caught on the five-yard line by Jimmie Johnson, our little quarterback, who was an All-America that year.
The Indians gathered at once in what now would be called a huddle, but facing outward, and Johnson quickly slipped the ball under the back of Charlie Dillon’s jersey. Charlie was picked as the “hunchback” because he stood six feet and could do a hundred yards in ten seconds. Besides, being a guard, he was less likely to be suspected of carrying the ball.
“Go!” yelled Johnson. And the Carlisle players scattered and fanned out toward the sidelines, each back hugging his helmet to his breast, while Dillon charged straight down the center of the field. Talk about excitement and uproar! The Indian backs were chased and slammed, but when the tacklers saw that it was only headgear they were cuddling, not the ball, they began to leap here and there, yelping like hounds off the scent. Nobody paid any attention to Dillon, for he was running with both arms free, and when he came to Carl Marshall, safety man, the Harvard captain actually sidestepped what he thought was an attempt to block and dashed up the field to join the rest of his team in a frantic search for the ball.
The stands were in an uproar, for everybody had seen the big hump on Dillon’s back, but the Harvard players were still scurrying wildly around when Charlie crossed the goal line. One of his mates jerked out the ball and laid it on the turf and, as I had warned the referee that the play might be attempted, he was watching carefully and ruled that the touchdown had been made within the rules.”
Before this game ever took place the University of Oklahoma was dealt a vicious blow. David W. Levy recounts the night of January 6, 1903 in his The University of Oklahoma, A History:
We do not know precisely how David Ross Boyd spent the afternoon and evening on Tuesday, January 6, 1903. The University’s official Christmas vacation had ended the day before, the students had returned, and school had started smoothly again. … We cannot know what he was thinking that evening. It is unlikely that he indulged himself in a meditation on what he had accomplished during these last ten years. … It would be pleasant to think that Boyd felt some of the satisfaction that he deserved to feel that night as he turned down the lights and went off to bed. Unfortunately, he was not destined to sleep through the whole night.