Berry Tramel: Standout performance reminds Sooners what could have been
NORMAN — Bob Stoops cracked. Sergeant Stoic's shoulders slumped.
Mister Keep-Your-Chin-Up gave in to discouragement. Maybe even said the magic words. Why me? Why us?
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Another Sooner star, this time tackle Trent Williams, would miss Bedlam, courtesy of a practice concussion. Add another patch to a threadbare offensive line.
"I was doing my darndest to stay positive, but it was tough," Stoops said in the most unStoopslike comment he's uttered in 11 Oklahoma football seasons.
The OU tribulations indeed were enough to make a grown man tell the truth.
But Saturday afternoon, the Sooners salvaged what little was left of this 2009 gut-punch.
They obliterated Oklahoma State's Fiesta Bowl dreams 27-0, keeping alive OU's Owen Field winning streak and restoring a little panache to a season gone sour.
"We had a lot to prove today, especially for the seniors," said defensive end Jeremy Beal. "We've had a difficult year."
The Williams concussion could only make the Sooners laugh at the absurdity of it all. OU's Senior Day festivities seemed to include as many ballplayers out of uniform as in. Williams. Jermaine Gresham. Brody Eldridge. Ryan Reynolds. Auston English. Sam Bradford on the video board.
This was a shell of the team expected to contend for a national championship.
Of course, the Cowboys could say the same thing. Without Dez Bryant, exiled by the NCAA, OSU's offense has been punch-and-Judy. No power hitting in this lineup.
Sans Dez, OSU has been playing station-to-station football most of this season. Three yards here, four yards there.
With a salty quarterback like Zac Robinson, that can work most of the time. But try that against this OU defense, and you're mincemeat. You have to hit home runs against the Sooners.
"Wish we would have played better," said State coach Mike Gundy. "Don't feel like we gave them our best."
Easy to say after six first downs, none in the first half. Easy to say after the Cowboys never got closer than the OU 45-yard line.
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