OU football: Remember Roland Sales
Iowa tailback Marcus Coker will miss the Insight Bowl, suspended for a violation of the Hawkeyes’ student-conduct code. Don’t expect the Sooners to offer much sympathy, since OU will be without starting tailback Dom Whaley, who missed the final half of the season with a fractured ankle, and Brandon Williams, who also is injured and plans to transfer anyway.
Coker, a sophomore, ran for 219 yards on 33 carries in Iowa’s 27-24 Insight Bowl victory over Missouri last season. Coker rushed for 1,384 yards on 281 carries this season, with 15 touchdowns. The Hawkeyes will miss him the way OU misses its weapons, like Whaley and Ryan Broyles.
But before OU gets too comfy thinking Iowa will struggle without its tailback, remember the story of Roland Sales.
On Jan. 2, 1978, Arkansas stunned the second-ranked Sooners 31-6 in the Orange Bowl. OU was a 17-point favorite over the sixth-ranked Razorbacks, in part because the Hogs were without four primary players, including leading rusher Ben Cowins and all-American guard Leotis Harris, suspended for disciplinary reasons.
Sales replaced Cowins as Arkansas’ tailback and responded with an historic night. Sales rushed 22 times for an Orange Bowl record 205 yards. Sales scored on two short touchdown runs and set up two more on runs of 35 and 38 yards.
Now comes another bowl in which the Sooners are heavily favored, 14 points, and the foe is missing its tailback. But Bob Stoops would be wise to tell his players the story of Roland Sales.
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