Oklahoma ended its recent bowl woes with an impressive 31-27 victory over Stanford in the Brut Sun Bowl.
Here’s a quick look at how the Sooners did it.
How the game was won: After allowing Stanford to score on three straight possessions in the second quarter to claim the lead, Oklahoma’s defense played with intensity in the third quarter to take over the game. The Sooners forced Stanford to go three-and-out on its first two possessions of the second half and allowed only one first down on their other drive to take control. Stanford obviously struggled without injured starting quarterback Andrew Luck.
Best call: Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones went to little-used tight end Trent Ratterree for a 36-yard gain down the left sideline late in the third quarter. Ratterree was pulled down at the Stanford 2, but it was his longest gain of the season. DeMarco Murray charged into the end zone two plays later to give the Sooners the lead for good.
Stat of the game: Oklahoma rolled up 480 yards of total offense and 27 first downs to dominate the game offensively and power the Sooners over the Cardinal.
Player of the game: Oklahoma wide receiver Ryan Broyles put a punctuation mark on a record-breaking season with 13 catches. When Oklahoma’s offense was sputtering early, Jones repeatedly went for Broyles to help pump some life back into the team. Broyles finished with a school-record 89 receptions and missed most of two games with a shoulder separation. And he should be even better next season.
Record performance: Broyles set Oklahoma bowl records with 13 receptions, 156 yards and three touchdown receptions. Jones passed for a school bowl record 416 yards. And Broyles led the Sooners with 17 touchdowns this season, becoming the first Oklahoma wide receiver in the 72 seasons that the school has been compiling individual statistics to lead the team in scoring.
What it means: Oklahoma’s bowl victory ended the Sooners’ celebrated recent bowl struggles as they posted their first bowl triumph since 2005. It was only the Sooners’ second bowl win in their last seven tries. It puts a positive ending on Bob Stoops’ disappointing regular season and provides them with some momentum heading into the offseason. Jones received some critical playing time and should be even more comfortable next year in his second season as starter. The defense will have to rebuild without Gerald McCoy in the middle, but younger players got their chance to develop. The Sooners should be back challenging for the Big 12 South Division title in 2010.