NEW ORLEANS — Not even the most sauced Sooner fan on Bourbon Street expects the Sooners to blow out Alabama in the Sugar Bowl. Which means for victory, OU will need to win a close one.
Don't count out the Sooners. They're suddenly quite efficient in crunch time.
In their last 15 games, the Sooners have thrice won with come-from-behind touchdowns in the final minute of regulation, including the Bedlam heartstopper on Dec. 7.
Some teams live on the edge like that. Not OU. Until the 2012 West Virginia game, the Sooners hadn't won with a come-from-behind TD in the final three minutes since the 2002 Alabama game.
Now they're doing it with regularity.
“This is the type of mentality I thought we'd have from spring practice,” said OU receivers coach Jay Norvell. “The couple of games that we came up short, we didn't get ourselves in position to be able to win it late.
“We gotta play that way, whether it's making plays on special teams, running the ball, keeping the game close, or making the plays we need to make in the passing game. That's kind of the formula we need to have in this game to win. It's trying to recreate that and be in position in the fourth quarter to make it happen.”
The Sooners have rallied in a variety of ways. Landry Jones quarterbacking against West Virginia. Landry, with touchdown duty from Blake Bell, in Bedlam 2012. Bell in Bedlam 2013.
In other words, OU's rediscovery of Sooner Magic doesn't seem to stem from one gold-dust player. It appears to be an attitude adjustment.
“It's like an emphasis Coach (Bob) Stoops has put on the team,” said defensive end Chuka Ndulue. “We've gotta win the fourth quarter … keep your composure. Listen to what your coaches are telling you. You'll be all right. And that's been going on.”