On January 2, 1956, Oklahoma University’s champion football team, the Sooners, defeat Maryland 20-6 in the Orange Bowl in Miami, Florida, winning the national championship and scoring their 30th straight victory in the middle of a winning streak that went on to stretch to 47 games.
Behind Coach Bud Wilkinson, the Sooners had lost the opening game of the 1953 season to Notre Dame and tied Pittsburgh the next week; since then, they had gone undefeated. The game on January 2, 1956, was a rematch of the 1954 Orange Bowl, when Maryland had been ranked first and OU fourth. During that game, the Terrapins twice had a first down with the ball inside the 10-yard line only to be shut down by the Sooner defense. The Sooners won 7-0 with the game’s single touchdown, scored by tailback Larry Grigg in the second period.
In 1956, OU came into the Orange Bowl as the defending national champions, with the No. 1 ranking in the country and a 10-0 regular season record. Maryland was ranked third, with only one regular-season loss. Trailing 6-0 at halftime, the Sooners kicked in their offense in the second half, scoring three times and posting a second Orange Bowl win and a second straight national championship.
The Sooners’ historic winning streak didn’t come to an end until November 1957, when they lost to Notre Dame 7-0. In addition to their two national titles, in 1955 and 1956, they won or shared 14 straight conference titles from 1946 to 1959, all but the first year under Wilkinson. Their record of 47 straight wins over three years still stands, as of the end of the 2006 season.