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If Sooners keep it close, they will have a chance to beat Alabama

SUGAR BOWL - Not even the most sauced Sooner fan on Bourbon Street expects the Sooners to blow out Alabama in the Sugar Bowl. Which means for victory, OU will need to win a close one. Don't count out the Sooners. They're suddenly quite efficient in crunch time.
by Berry Tramel Modified: December 30, 2013 at 10:00 am •  Published: December 29, 2013

The turnaround seems to go back several years. In the last four seasons, OU is 11-3 in games decided by eight points or less. In Stoops' first 11 seasons, the Sooners were 18-15 in such one-possession games.

This year alone, OU has beaten TCU 20-17, Texas Tech 38-30 and OSU 33-24 (with two TDs in the final 30 seconds). The Sooners' defeats were 36-20 to Texas and 41-12 to Baylor.

“That's what he's been pounding in our heads this year, win the fourth quarter,” said linebacker Eric Striker. “Finish. Finish the fourth quarter. The game's not over no matter what the score is. So we've been believing and living it out.”

The Sooners are outmanned against Alabama. Heck, they were outmanned against OSU, so they're going to be outmanned against Nick Saban's mighty Crimson Tide, which is 60-6 over the last five years, with only one of the defeats by more than seven points. And only six of those 60 wins were one-possession games. Which means in the last five years, Bama is 6-5 in close games.

Have the Sooners found Saban's Kryptonite? Keep it close?

“That's kind of what we're going to have to do in this game,” Norvell said.

Keep it close, and hope Sooner Magic has indeed returned.

Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at