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OU Sooners can finally walk tall with BCS gorilla off their backs

After beating Connecticut 48-20 in the Fiesta Bowl, Oklahoma players finally let the truth slip out about how badly their BCS lapses bothered them.

By Berry Tramel Modified: January 2, 2011 at 12:39 am •  Published: January 2, 2011
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/articleid/3528845/1/pictures/1319999">Photo - Oklahoma's Jamell Fleming (32) and Oklahoma's Quinton Carter (20) celebrate after a interception for a touchdown by Fleming during the Fiesta Bowl college football game between the University of Oklahoma Sooners and the University of Connecticut Huskies in Glendale, Ariz., at the University of Phoenix Stadium on Saturday, Jan. 1, 2011.  Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman
Oklahoma's Jamell Fleming (32) and Oklahoma's Quinton Carter (20) celebrate after a interception for a touchdown by Fleming during the Fiesta Bowl college football game between the University of Oklahoma Sooners and the University of Connecticut Huskies in Glendale, Ariz., at the University of Phoenix Stadium on Saturday, Jan. 1, 2011. Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman
“They have the guy that can pull the trigger and they got the running back (DeMarco Murray) to go with it.”

But enough bad-Fiesta memories bubbled — two Connecticut returns for touchdowns, a couple of turnovers — kept the game interesting and made the Sooners work for that gaudy trophy that rightfully means so much to them.

OU returned two interceptions for touchdowns itself; Ryan Broyles and Cameron Kenney kept making huge plays; Jeremy Beal’s proud defense refused to let Connecticut reach the end zone; and soon enough the BCS jinx was over.

“It’s huge,” linebacker Travis Lewis. “It’s huge to get this monkey off the back. To come out and play defense, it’s huge. Coming into next year, the sky’s the limit for this team.”

The Sooners suddenly end this season on a five-game winning streak, their best stretch drive since the 2000 national championship season.

After that Nov. 6 loss at Texas A&M, Lewis said the Sooners told themselves “we’re a better team than this. If we can stop shooting ourselves in the foot, I think we’re the best team in the country.”

Even playing like this, OU is not the best team in the country. But the Sooners could be the best team in the country next season, and this Fiesta Bowl could launch such a bid.

And they will walk tall, with the gorilla gone.

Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at btramel@opubco.com. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including AM-640 and FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.


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