OU QB legend Jimmy Harris dies at 76

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Jimmy Harris, the starting quarterback for much of Oklahoma's record 47-game winning streak in the 1950s, has died. He was 76.

The Osborn Funeral Home in Shreveport, La., says Harris died early Tuesday and his funeral is planned Saturday at the Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Shreveport. A visitation is scheduled for Friday afternoon.

Harris took over as Oklahoma's quarterback during the 1954 season and never lost a game, leading the Sooners to national championships in 1955 and 1956. He is one of only six quarterbacks to lead a school to back-to-back national titles.

Notre Dame's Johnny Lujack (1946-47), Nebraska's Jerry Tagge (1970-71), Oklahoma's Steve Davis (1974-75), Nebraska's Tommie Frazier (1994-95) and Southern California's Matt Leinart (2003-04) are the others.

"If it wasn't for Jimmy Harris, I don't think Oklahoma could have won," said Tommy McDonald, Oklahoma's Maxwell Award-winning running back during the streak. "He was a super guy. He had a lot of talent. He really had a lot of talent."

Harris had career totals of 1,237 yards rushing with 10 touchdowns and 745 yards passing with another 10 TDs. He also made eight interceptions while playing defense.

Harris went on to play four seasons in the NFL with the Philadelphia Eagles, Los Angeles Rams, Dallas Texans and Dallas Cowboys. He was credited with 11 career interceptions as a pro.

The Sooners' run of 47 consecutive wins started in 1953 and ran through 1957 and still stands as a Division I record. Toledo won 35 straight games between 1969 and 1971, but that's as close as any school has come in the half-century since. Miami and Southern California had 34-game winning streaks in the past decade.

McDonald said the streak was a result of a Sooners team stocked with leaders -- and Harris was one of them.

"That's how we worked," McDonald said. "That's why we won so much."