Saturday, December 31, 2011
Instant analysis: Oklahoma 31, Iowa 14
By Jake Trotter
TEMPE, Ariz. -- The Sooners took a three-touchdown lead into the fourth quarter, then held on to secure their third consecutive bowl victory.
Turning point: After two fourth-quarter-touchdowns, the Hawkeyes owned the momentum with just over 5 minutes to play. But with the ball at the Iowa 43-yard line, Oklahoma turned to the Belldozer package to convert a crucial third-and-2. Quarterback Blake Bell faked the jet sweep to Kameel Jackson to the right, then rumbled left off tackle for 7 yards and a first down. Michael Hunnicutt capped the drive with a 35-yard field goal to put the game away.
Player of the game: OU cornerback Jamell Fleming made himself some money, blanketing All-Big Ten wideout Marvin McNutt all night. McNutt was limited to just four catches for 46 yards despite numerous passes thrown his direction. Fleming also picked off a James Vandenberg pass in the first quarter and returned it to the Iowa 5 to set up OU’s first score. Fleming finished with seven tackles and three pass breakups.
Unsung hero of the game: OU punter Tress Way kept the field position in the Sooners’ favor all night. He tied an Insight Bowl record with a 67-yard punt from inside the OU 5-yard line. Way finished the night with a 50.3 average on six punts.
Stat of the game: With a 3-yard touchdown pass to tight end Trent Ratterree in the third quarter, Landry Jones snapped a streak of 15 consecutive quarters without a touchdown pass. Jones had been stuck on 28 touchdown passes since the Texas A&M game on Nov. 5, when leading receiver Ryan Broyles suffered a season-ending knee injury.
What it means: It wasn’t pretty, especially on offense, but the Sooners prevailed to take a little momentum into the offseason after a disappointing end to the regular season. OU should be a, if not the, favorite to win the Big 12 next season.