EL PASO, Texas — Temperatures were falling and the sun was setting, yet University of Oklahoma football fans declined to leave the Sun Bowl stadium 30 minutes after the game Thursday.
It was time to celebrate. Their Sooners had just beaten Stanford 31-27 in the Sun Bowl for OU's first bowl victory since 2005.
"I'm relieved; it's a long time coming," said OU fan Darren Heusel of Yukon. "Get that friggin' monkey off my back. I've been waiting on this."
The Sooners had lost two Fiesta Bowls and a BCS national championship game since their last bowl victory, a 17-14 win over Oregon in the 2005 Holiday Bowl. But the win over Stanford put a solid finish to a disappointing 2009 season, back-to-back victories over ranked opponents to give OU an 8-5 record.
"We definitely showed we're on our way back," said OU fan Tyler Marks of Oklahoma City. "I think for sure this ends the bowl slump. We beat a good Stanford team today."
The only downer for the Sooners was the gruesome injury to junior defensive tackle Adrian Taylor, who suffered a broken ankle in first quarter that sent his foot in a direction opposite of what nature intended.
But the Sooners rallied in Taylor's absence, and by game's end were whooping and hollering over their victory.
And after the Sun Bowl trophy presentation and team photo in front of the scoreboard, the Sooners ran to the celebrating fans and slapped hands with their supporters.
"I love our fans," said all-American defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, whose final game as a Sooner will be long remembered.