BCS National Championship: Oklahoma Sooners bite the dust when it counts -- again
by Berry Tramel
Modified: January 9, 2009 at 11:07 pm •
Published: January 9, 2009
/articleid/3336534/1/pictures/533388"> Florida's Ahmad Black (35) intercepts a Sam Bradford pass intended for OU's Juaquin Iglesias (9) next to Major Wright (21) in the fourth quarter during the BCS National Championship college football game between the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) and the University of Florida Gators (UF) on Thursday, Jan. 8, 2009, at Dolphin Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla. The Florida Gators won, 24-14. PHOTO BY NATE BILLINGS, THE OKLAHOMAN
Bradford threw to Manny Johnson on a slant from the 6-yard line.
Not good. Even if Johnson had caught the ball, he might not have scored, particularly the way the Florida defensive backs bird-dogged OU receivers, and time would have run out, since the Sooners had burned all their clock stoppages.
The bounding ball hit Johnson and three Gators before settling into Major Wright's arms with three seconds left in the half.
Bad decisions didn't solely belong to Bradford.
The Sooners messed up an earlier red-zone possession. On third-and-goal from the Florida 1-yard line, big-time tailback Chris Brown failed to score, so the Sooners tried again on a stretch play, which is not quick-hitting. Better hit quick against the Gators; Brown was popped by Torrey Davis for a 2-yard loss.
More bad decisions came in the third quarter, when OU faced third-and-1 from the Florida 28-yard line. The Sooners tried the same stretch play, with the same result. Four-yard loss.
Then came a worse decision. Bob Stoops ordered a 49-yard field goal attempt on fourth-and-5. Jimmy Stevens, who has been inconsistent this season and has a long of 42 yards, drilled the kick into the Gator line.
And so it was simple why Florida won this game. It had four decent scoring chances, not counting a milk-the-clock possession to end the game. The Gators scored on all four.
The Sooners had five decent scoring chances. They scored on two.
Better score when you get a chance in the Big Bowl.
Despite the fourth-quarter stumbles, OU's defense played solid. This was an offensive defeat. Please, no more talk of greatest-offense ever.
Sure, it was a difficult environment. Dolphin Stadium was probably 2-to-1, Gator fans over OU fans, and the Floridians at times seemed to rival LSU's for obnoxiousness.
But they didn't turn Dolphin Stadium into Florida Field South.
“I didn't notice that at all,” Stoops said. “I don't think that was a big factor.”
The Sooners just got outplayed, pure and simple. They had a chance and didn't strike. They're now batting .250 in national championship games this decade, falling below Ohio State's .333, and who knows how long it will be before the Sooners return?
Berry Tramel: 405-760-8080. Berry Tramel can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal network, including AM-640 and FM-98.1.
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...