ESPN veteran announcer Brad Nessler compared OU quarterback Trevor Knight's fourth touchdown pass in the Sugar Bowl to a famous touchdown pass that happened a decade before Knight was even born.
“It looked like Joe Montana to Dwight Clark,” Nessler said of the San Francisco 49ers' game-winning pass in the 1982 NFC championship game. “What a throw as he extended the play and it's a 9-yard touchdown."
Later he added, "Oh, what a Knight for Trevor!”
Nessler has called his share of big games, and he noted this year's Sugar Bowl was one of the most exciting games in the history of the bowl.
The Sooners' final touchdown also came on an amazing play as linebacker Eric Striker knocked the ball loose from Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron and Geneo Grissom picked up the ball and dived in for the score.
“We said he was an impact player despite his lack of size,” Nessler said of Striker. “He's got speed to burn.”
The Sooners' bowl win capped off an outstanding coaching effort by Stoops, analyst Todd Blackledge said after Stoops was doused with Gatorade. “What a great coaching job by Bob Stoops and his staff considering his injuries to quarterbacks and injuries to critical players. Maybe his best coaching job as he's had in a long time.”
Blackledge also credited OU offensive coordinator Josh Heupel for helping keep the Crimson Tide defense off balance. “Josh Heupel has called a brilliant game tonight.”
Late in the second quarter, Nessler admitted he was surprised by the Sooners' first-half output in leading 31-17 at halftime.
“If you had told me Oklahoma was going to score 31 in the first half against Alabama, I'd have thought you were on Bourbon Street way too long.”
The Sooners also surprised many of the ESPN experts, including Mark May and Lou Holtz. On the pregame show, May predicted Alabama would roll to a 48-10 win and Holtz picked the Crimson Tide, 35-21. Host Rece Davis joked about the accuracy of the picks at halftime.
“I said it was going to be a blow out,” May said. “I didn't say Oklahoma was going to win it.”
The ESPN analysts joked about what happened to OU's quarterback quandary. “He's inspired the football team,” Holtz said of Knight. “How many times have we said if you have great quarterback play, you have a chance to be a great football team.”
Blackledge, a former Penn State and NFL quarterback, was impressed with Knight's poise. “I think that's where the extra bowl practices have helped him, in the development of the passing game.”