Stanford (8-4) vs. Oklahoma (7-5)
Dec. 31, 2 p.m. (CBS)
The Sooners started the season with legitimate BCS title hopes and a No. 3 preseason ranking, but were doomed when tight end Jermaine Gresham was lost in August with a season-ending knee injury and returning Heisman Trophy winner Sam Bradford lasted less than two games before he was knocked out for the season.
Those losses only scratched the surface in an injury-ravaged season that was the worst run of injuries ever endured by a team coached by Bob Stoops. Freshman quarterback Landry Jones emerged as a starter, but had a streaky range of performances, including six touchdowns in one game, five TD passes in another and five interceptions in another.
After the Oklahoma defense was humiliated in a late-season loss at Texas Tech, the Sooners rebounded with their best performance of the season in a 27-0 beatdown over Oklahoma State. Wide receiver Ryan Broyles emerged as the Sooners’ most versatile weapon with 76 receptions and 12 touchdown grabs. His production will be big against the explosive Cardinal, who rank 10th nationally in scoring, 11th in rushing and 13th in total offense.
Stanford is led by all-purpose running back Toby Gerhart, a Heisman candidate who has rushed for 1,736 yards and 26 touchdowns this season. But he will be tested by the Sooners’ rushing defense, which ranks seventh nationally and has limited opponents to 88.6 yards per game. Winning the Sun Bowl will be huge for Stoops, who has lost five of his last six bowl games.