Sugar Bowl notebook: Dionte Savage, Sooners' makeshift offensive line come up huge

by Jason Kersey Published: January 3, 2014
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photo - Oklahoma's Trevor Knight (9) huddles up with the offense during the NCAA football BCS Sugar Bowl game between the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) and the University of Alabama Crimson Tide (UA) at the Superdome in New Orleans, La., Thursday, Jan. 2, 2014.  .Photo by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman
Oklahoma's Trevor Knight (9) huddles up with the offense during the NCAA football BCS Sugar Bowl game between the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) and the University of Alabama Crimson Tide (UA) at the Superdome in New Orleans, La., Thursday, Jan. 2, 2014. .Photo by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman

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.

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by Jason Kersey
OU Sports Reporter
Jason Kersey became The Oklahoman's OU football beat writer in May 2012 after a year covering high school sports and OSU recruiting. Before joining the newspaper in November 2006 as a part-time results clerk, he covered high school football for...
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