EL PASO, Texas — What happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object? Get ready to find out. Today in the 76th Sun Bowl featuring Oklahoma and Stanford, strength meets strength.
All-American running back Toby Gerhart and the overpowering Cardinal ground game vs. All-American defensive tackle Gerald McCoy and the stout Sooner front seven. One thing’s for sure: neither side will have any doubt about what’s coming. "There aren’t going to be any secrets. There’s no dodging what will happen,” said Stanford offensive coordinator David Shaw. "It’s going to be mano-a-mano. A test of wills. Their strength against our strength. "We’re looking forward to it, and, hell, they are, too.” It’s a good bet that whoever imposes their will in this battle wins the war. "There’s no weak spots,” said Cardinal coach Jim Harbaugh, "when you start talking about our run game against their run defense.” Gerhart spearheads a punishing Stanford run game that rumbled for almost 2,700 yards while averaging 5.4 yards a carry. As the season wore on and the competition stiffened, the Cardinal only surged. In November wins over Oregon, USC and Notre Dame, Stanford averaged 286 yards on the ground while amassing 13 rushing touchdowns. "The physical nature that they play, it’s very recognizable with our players,” said OU coach Bob Stoops. "They see it and see what a challenge it is to go against their offense." But Stanford is yet to come against a run-stuffing defense, or a run-stuffing tackle, like the one it will see today. With McCoy plugging the middle, opponents have averaged only 2.7 yards a carry against the Sooners.