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OU football: Oklahoma has reasons to believe it might upend Alabama in Sugar Bowl

For the third time this season, OU will enter a game as a double-digit underdog. But here are five reasons why the Sooners might — might — have a better chance than most expect in the Sugar Bowl.
by Jason Kersey Published: December 15, 2013

NORMAN — For the third time this season, Oklahoma will enter a game as a double-digit underdog.

The Sooners are currently a 14-point underdog to Alabama for the Jan. 2 Sugar Bowl in New Orleans, and if that line holds, it would be the biggest line against the Sooners in the Bob Stoops era.

Here's a look at five reasons why Oklahoma might, might have a better chance than most expect in the Sugar Bowl:

1. The way each team's regular season ended.

Alabama lost a last-second heartbreaker to archrival Auburn in its regular-season finale, while Oklahoma went to Stillwater and mounted a stunning comeback in the final minutes and stunned the No. 6 Cowboys.

Alabama's loss not only cost it a shot at the SEC and national championships, it gave Auburn those opportunities. That could be a tough pill for the Crimson Tide players to swallow, and if they enter the Sugar Bowl disinterested or unmotivated, that might give OU a glimmer of hope.

2. The return of the Riverboat Gambler.

One of the most impressive, memorable risks Bob Stoops took early in his tenure at Oklahoma came against the Crimson Tide in Tuscaloosa.

With OU leading Alabama 13-10 late in the third quarter, it faced a fourth-and-10 play at its own 31-yard line. Stoops dialed up a fake punt, resulting in a 22-yard gain that set up the game-clinching touchdown a play later.

Stoops has grown more conservative in recent years, but a successful fake field goal against Oklahoma State would seem to indicate a possible return of the Riverboat Gambler.

If the Sooners are going to have any chance against the more talented Crimson Tide, Stoops will have to be willing to pull out all the stops again.

3. OU's demonstrated ability to run the ball effectively.

The Sooners have rushed for at least 200 yards eight times this season, including four games with at least 300 rushing yards.

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by Jason Kersey
OU Sports Reporter
Jason Kersey became The Oklahoman's OU football beat writer in May 2012 after a year covering high school sports and OSU recruiting. Before joining the newspaper in November 2006 as a part-time results clerk, he covered high school football for...
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