Friday, January 24, 2014
Big 12 games of the year: No. 2
By Jake Trotter
We’re counting down the 10 best games of the year in the Big 12. Below is game No. 2, in which the Big 12 finally socked it to the SEC.
No. 2: Jan. 2 -- Oklahoma 45, Alabama 31
In one of the biggest upsets in bowl history, the Sooners toppled the two-time defending national champions in the Allstate Sugar Bowl.
What happened: Two minutes into the game, it looked like the Sooners were well on their way to getting blown out. In just four plays, Alabama punched the ball into the end zone.
Oklahoma, however, took the first jab and punched back. Again and again.
Freshman quarterback Trevor Knight was phenomenal for the Sooners. He threw for 348 yards and four touchdowns while outplaying Heisman runner-up AJ McCarron.
Defensively, the Oklahoma tag team of linebacker Eric Striker and Geneo Grissom placed McCarron under duress the entire game. The two combined for five sacks, and the rest of the Sooners defense bounced back from that opening drive to force five turnovers.
The Crimson Tide had one final chance to tie the game in the final minute. Instead, on the very first play of the possession, Striker popped McCarron from the edge to force a fumble. Grissom scooped it up and barreled into the end zone for the game-clinching touchdown.
Player of the game: Striker and Grissom were phenomenal, but Knight was the difference for the Sooners. He completed 32 of 44 passes and was accurate with the football. His only interception bounced off the hands of receiver Jalen Saunders and into the arms of an Alabama defender. Knight showed no fear from the very beginning, and the rest of the team fed off his energy. As a result, Knight was named the Sugar Bowl MVP
Stat of the game: In the first half, Oklahoma scored on five consecutive possessions to take a 31-17 halftime lead. The last time Alabama allowed an opponent to score on five consecutive drives in regulation was Oct. 4, 2003, in a loss at No. 11 Georgia. That was also the year Nick Saban won his first national championship -- as the head coach of LSU.
Quotable: “So much for the big bad wolf, huh?” -- Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops, speaking to a crowd of Sooners fans after returning to campus in Norman
The rest of the list: