NORMAN — The senior day festivities before Saturday's OU win over Iowa State were as much about who wasn't there as who was.
Among the 16 seniors honored before the game was Austin Box, who died in May and would've been a senior.
Box's parents, Craig and Gail Box, and sister Whitney carried Box's No. 12 jersey during the pregame senior day festivities.
“It was good to see them,” Sooners defensive coordinator Brent Venables said as he choked up a bit. “Obviously for them this is still part of the healing process. For them to be here, and for us to hopefully bring them some comfort, you're happy for that.
During the festivities, Craig Box approached defensive end Frank Alexander and complimented him on his season.
“We were short one of our brothers out there,” Alexander said. “It was real emotional. I had to fight it back, since we were about to play a game. But I felt like he was out there with us.”
Jamarkus McFarland wore Box's No. 12 during the game.
With Ronnell Lewis out with a sprained knee he suffered in the loss to Baylor, Alexander was on the field even more than normal in his final home game.
Alexander was knocked out briefly in the fourth with a shoulder injury but came back to finish with six tackles, including one for a loss to add to his league-leading numbers in the category.
“The only way I was going to be on the sideline is if I was hurt,” Alexander said. “This was the last (home) game. You want to make a good name, leave your mark. I felt I had to be out there.”
No player savored the moment quite like tight end Trent Ratterree.
Ratterree grew up dreaming about playing for the Sooners and walked on to OU after a career at Weatherford High School.
“It's crazy because 15 years ago on Thanksgiving Day, that's the day I'd dress up in my football pads and go out and play and now I'm doing this on Thanksgiving (weekend),” Ratterree said. “It's a fun thing.”
Ratterree had one reception — a 10-yard catch early in the second quarter — in his final appearance at Owen Field.
“The feeling I get when all these people are yelling and screaming and asking for your gloves, the love you can feel when you're down there is unlike anything else,” he said. “Now, to know I will never step foot in pads on this field again, it's not a sad thing.
“Things end. It's just how life goes.”