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Sugar Bowl notebook: Dionte Savage, Sooners' makeshift offensive line come up huge

by Jason Kersey Published: January 3, 2014
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photo - Oklahoma's Trevor Knight (9) huddles up with the offense during the NCAA football BCS Sugar Bowl game between the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) and the University of Alabama Crimson Tide (UA) at the Superdome in New Orleans, La., Thursday, Jan. 2, 2014.  .Photo by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman
Oklahoma's Trevor Knight (9) huddles up with the offense during the NCAA football BCS Sugar Bowl game between the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) and the University of Alabama Crimson Tide (UA) at the Superdome in New Orleans, La., Thursday, Jan. 2, 2014. .Photo by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman

The Sooners were forced to kick from their 20 with 1:05 remaining.

The Crimson Tide started the drive at their own 45 after a 35-yard return, then the Crimson Tide drove it to the 15 before Cade Foster's missed field goal ended the first half with the Sooners leading 31-17.

IKARD MEETS WUERFFEL

In early December, Sooners center Gabe Ikard was named the winner of the Wuerffel Trophy as the college football player "who best combines exemplary community service with athletic achievement."

As the Sooners came out of the tunnel for warmups before Thursday's Sugar Bowl, Ikard stopped short of the field for a photo opportunity.

Ikard met the award's namesake, former Florida quarterback Danny Wuerffel. The pair talked for a moment before Ikard ran down to the other end of the field to warmup.

Wuerffel was honored before the game along with the rest of the 2013 College Football Hall of Fame inductees.

Also honored was Oklahoma linebacker Rod Shoate. Shoate, who died in 1999, was represented by his brother and sister.

Former Southeast standout Don Trull, a former Baylor quarterback, was also among the honorees.

FANS FRUSTRATED WITH LINES

Some fans, including some members of players' families, missed the start of the game due to long, slow-moving lines getting into the Superdome.

Not long before kickoff, a family member of Sooners center Gabe Ikard tweeted that he had just made it into the stadium after a wait of one hour and 45 minutes.

At kickoff, much of the upper deck behind Oklahoma's end zone was empty. A smattering of fans wound up in the seats, though, as the game went on.

EXTRA POINTS

A large group of former Oklahoma players watched the game from the sidelines, including Minnesota running back Adrian Peterson, Tampa Bay defensive lineman Gerald McCoy, Washington offensive lineman Trent Williams and Arizona defensive back Tony Jefferson. … Oklahoma's 31 first-half points were the most since scoring 31 last season at West Virginia. The point total was Oklahoma's best in a bowl game first half in the Stoops era and its best in any bowl game first half since scoring 34 against Virginia in the 1991 Gator Bowl. … Sooners receiver Jalen Saunders became the 10th active player in the FBS with more than 200 career receptions and more than 3,000 career yards. … Saunders is the seventh different Sooners with multiple touchdown receptions in a bowl game and the first to do it since Ryan Broyles in the 2009 Sun Bowl. … Sooners tight ends had one reception during the regular season--Brannon Green's 16-yard reception against Oklahoma State. In Thursday's game, the Sooners doubled that total with receptions by Green and Taylor McNamara. McNamara's reception was the first of his career.

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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