NCAA Game Summary - Oklahoma vs. Alabama|
(Thursday, January 2nd)
Final Score: (11) Oklahoma 45, (3) Alabama 31
New Orleans, LA (SportsNetwork.com) - Trevor Knight threw across his body
while falling out of bounds and found an open receiver in the end zone for the
eventual game-winning touchdown early in the fourth quarter.
It was that kind of night for Oklahoma's freshman quarterback.
Knight had his way with Alabama's vaunted defense, throwing for 348 yards and
four touchdowns as No. 11 Oklahoma upset the heavily-favored and third-ranked
Crimson Tide, 45-31, in a wildly entertaining Sugar Bowl.
Oklahoma (11-2) needed something special going up against the powerful Tide,
and head coach Bob Stoops tabbed the dual-threat Knight as its spark.
"Knight, of course, was exceptional," Stoops said. "I think he showed the
whole country what we've been watching for two years in our practices and our
Knight did not need his legs, though, doing most of the damage with his arm as
he found Jalen Saunders for two touchdowns, Lacoltan Bester for 105 yards and
a score and Sterling Shepard for the aforementioned pivotal TD.
The surprising win was the Sooners' second straight in a BCS game after a
five-game losing streak in the coveted bowls.
Alabama senior AJ McCarron went out on a losing note despite throwing for 387
yards and two scores. The Maxwell Award winner uncharacteristically threw two
interceptions in the first half and was stripped-sacked on the Tide's final
"You can put it (loss) all on me," McCarron said. "I had two turnovers, (they)
ended up scoring 14 points and we lost by 14."
McCarron guided the Tide (11-2) to back-to-back national championships and a
shot at a third this season that abruptly ended in an epic Iron Bowl loss to
eventual SEC-champion Auburn in their final regular season game.
Derrick Henry accounted for a 161 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns for
the Tide, who were making their fifth BCS appearance in the last six seasons.
Despite amassing 362 yards in the first half, the Tide trailed, 31-17, at the
break because Oklahoma turned three Alabama turnovers into 21 points.
The track meet slowed down after the intermission, and the only score in the
third quarter came 6:11 in when Henry ripped off a 43-yard touchdown run.
A battle for field position went Oklahoma's way when Knight went 6-for-6 for
92 yards through the air early in the fourth quarter. Knight moved the chains
with a beautiful over-the-shoulder toss to Bester on 3rd-and-15, then
connected with Shepard for a 9-yard score while falling out of bounds with
10:44 remaining to give the Sooners some breathing room.
Henry cut the Tide's deficit to 38-31 when he took a short pass 61 yards for a
score with 6:22 on the clock.
Oklahoma, though, chewed up 5 1/2 minutes with timely passing and hard running
from Brennan Clay, and Alabama took over at its own 18-yard line with 56
A storybook comeback for McCarron did not come to fruition, as he was hit from
behind by Eric Striker and fumbled. Geneo Grissom scooped up the loose ball
and went in for the punctuating score to clinch the upset.
The fumble recovery for a touchdown was a similar finish to Oklahoma's win
over Oklahoma State in its final regular season game, which kept the Sooners'
Bedlam rival from winning the Big 12 and vaulted them into an at-large BCS
There were no punts in a breathless first half.
It took Alabama all of 1:49 to get on the board, as T.J. Yeldon took it in
from a yard out following a 53-yard reception from Amari Cooper.
The Tide quickly got the ball back when Landon Collins made an acrobatic
diving interception to end Oklahoma's first possession, but McCarron overthrew
his intended receiver on the next play and was picked off by Gabe Lynn.
Oklahoma didn't waste any time cashing in on McCarron's sixth interception of
the season, as Bester caught a pass along the sideline, turned it upfield and
outran two defenders to the end zone for a 45-yard score.
DeAndrew White's 63-yard pickup set up Cade Foster's 27-yard field goal, and
Oklahoma capped the seesaw opening frame with a 13-play, 78-yard drive that
ended with Saunders' 8-yard touchdown catch.
The second play of the second quarter saw White get behind the defense and
haul in McCarron's perfect heave in stride en route to a 67-yard TD.
Michael Hunnicutt tied the game at 17-17 with a 47-yard field goal a little
later, and Oklahoma scored touchdowns off two Alabama turnovers to close out
the half in style.
After Yeldon lost a fumble inside the Oklahoma 10-yard line, the Sooners
retook the lead when Knight and Saunders again hooked up for a TD with 2:59
remaining. The long play came right after Oklahoma gained just enough on a
4th-and-1 try near midfield.
McCarron missed his mark on the ensuing drive, and Zack Sanchez stepped in
front of the intended receiver and took the interception 43 yards down to the
13-yard line. Shepard scored on an end around on the next snap, and the
Sooners went into the break with a 31-17 cushion after Foster missed a 32-yard
field goal on the half's final play.
Alabama also had a punt return for a touchdown called back due to a penalty
early in the third quarter.
Knight entered the game with 471 yards and five touchdowns through the air ...
Alabama allowed 102 total points over its first 11 games and 79 over its final
two ... Oklahoma recorded seven sacks ... Alabama had allowed just 20 points
off turnovers coming in ... Oklahoma has won 11 games 10 times under Stoops
... No college football game has ever featured two teams with more combined
bowl victories. Oklahoma picked up its 28th bowl win, while Alabama sits at a
01/03 02:34:10 ET