NEW ORLEANS — Oklahoma's offensive line, missing two starters, was a big question mark heading into the Sugar Bowl.
The Sooners were down two starters and started Dionte Savage for the first time.
But the unit more than held their own allowing just one sack in OU's 45-31 upset victory over Alabama.
“It's hard to say right now but really proud of him,” Sooners offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh said of Savage's play. “He kind of got down when he wasn't playing and just kept fighting and battling and against a D-line like this — obviously they're one of the best defenses in the country. That's no lie, so really proud of what he was able to do.”
HUNNICUTT MOVES UP SCORING LIST
With his first extra-point of the night, Sooners kicker Michael Hunnicutt broke a tie with Steve Owens for second place on Oklahoma's all-time scoring list.
Hunnicutt scored nine points in the win, moving to 351 points in his career.
With one season of eligibility remaining, Hunnicutt is closing in on DeMarco Murray's record of 390 points in a career.
Hunnicutt's second-quarter 47-yard field goal was his longest of the season and tied for the third-longest of his career.
TURNOVERS NEW FOR 'BAMA
It didn't take long for Oklahoma's defense to accomplish something that no team had vs. the Crimson Tide in several years.
Just one play after Trevor Knight was picked off by Alabama's Landon Collins early in the first quarter, Gabe Lynn intercepted AJ McCarron's pass. A play later, the Sooners tied the game at 7.
The turnover was Alabama's first in a bowl game since the Crimson Tide turned it over twice in its 2009 BCS Championship win over Texas.
The Sooners forced three Alabama turnovers in the first half.
SHEPARD FLAGGED FOR 'SUPERMAN'
On Oklahoma's final touchdown of the first half, a 13-yard pass to Sterling Shepard, the Sooners nearly helped give Alabama the momentum entering halftime.
After Shepard's touchdown, he put his hands together near the center of his chest and ripped them apart in a "Superman" motion, mimicking Carolina quarterback Cam Newton's touchdown celebration.
Officials flagged Shepard for unsportsmanlike conduct, taking the gesture as a "throat slash" motion that is prohibited.
The Sooners were forced to kick from their 20 with 1:05 remaining.
The Crimson Tide started the drive at their own 45 after a 35-yard return, then the Crimson Tide drove it to the 15 before Cade Foster's missed field goal ended the first half with the Sooners leading 31-17.
IKARD MEETS WUERFFEL
In early December, Sooners center Gabe Ikard was named the winner of the Wuerffel Trophy as the college football player "who best combines exemplary community service with athletic achievement."
As the Sooners came out of the tunnel for warmups before Thursday's Sugar Bowl, Ikard stopped short of the field for a photo opportunity.
Ikard met the award's namesake, former Florida quarterback Danny Wuerffel. The pair talked for a moment before Ikard ran down to the other end of the field to warmup.
Wuerffel was honored before the game along with the rest of the 2013 College Football Hall of Fame inductees.
Also honored was Oklahoma linebacker Rod Shoate. Shoate, who died in 1999, was represented by his brother and sister.
Former Southeast standout Don Trull, a former Baylor quarterback, was also among the honorees.
FANS FRUSTRATED WITH LINES
Some fans, including some members of players' families, missed the start of the game due to long, slow-moving lines getting into the Superdome.
Not long before kickoff, a family member of Sooners center Gabe Ikard tweeted that he had just made it into the stadium after a wait of one hour and 45 minutes.
At kickoff, much of the upper deck behind Oklahoma's end zone was empty. A smattering of fans wound up in the seats, though, as the game went on.
A large group of former Oklahoma players watched the game from the sidelines, including Minnesota running back Adrian Peterson, Tampa Bay defensive lineman Gerald McCoy, Washington offensive lineman Trent Williams and Arizona defensive back Tony Jefferson. … Oklahoma's 31 first-half points were the most since scoring 31 last season at West Virginia. The point total was Oklahoma's best in a bowl game first half in the Stoops era and its best in any bowl game first half since scoring 34 against Virginia in the 1991 Gator Bowl. … Sooners receiver Jalen Saunders became the 10th active player in the FBS with more than 200 career receptions and more than 3,000 career yards. … Saunders is the seventh different Sooners with multiple touchdown receptions in a bowl game and the first to do it since Ryan Broyles in the 2009 Sun Bowl. … Sooners tight ends had one reception during the regular season--Brannon Green's 16-yard reception against Oklahoma State. In Thursday's game, the Sooners doubled that total with receptions by Green and Taylor McNamara. McNamara's reception was the first of his career.