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Sugar Bowl: OU defenders Eric Striker, Geneo Grissom haunt 'Bama quarterback AJ McCarron

Striker and Grissom combine for five sacks, force fumble that leads to insurance touchdown.
by Ryan Aber Published: January 3, 2014


photo - Oklahoma's Eric Striker (19) reacts after a sack on Alabama's AJ McCarron (10) 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 Eric Striker (19) reacts after a sack on Alabama's AJ McCarron (10) 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 game said plenty for the Sooners present, as defensive coordinator Mike Stoops dialed up a new package of blitzes that had Alabama on its heels early, though there were a few defensive busts over the first two quarters especially.

But it also says plenty about the Sooners' defensive future.

Among the defensive starters against Alabama, only Lynn and cornerback Aaron Colvin are seniors.

“We're young and we're back,” Sooners freshman cornerback Zack Sanchez said. “This is huge going into next year.”

Sanchez looked like a freshman early, getting beat on a couple deep balls before settling in and making several big plays, including a second-quarter interception that set up a score to put the Sooners up 31-17 at halftime.

“It was tough at the beginning, I ain't going to lie,” Sanchez said. “I think it was some pregame jitters for me. But I settled down, the guys got on top of me and I never lost confidence in myself.

“It's kind of overwhelming. That's not an excuse though. I've got to make those plays. But to be able to bounce back and make those plays, it really helped my team.”

by Ryan Aber
OU Athletics Reporter
Ryan Aber has worked for The Oklahoman since 2006, covering high schools, the Oklahoma City RedHawks, the Oklahoma City Barons and OU football recruiting. An Oklahoma City native, Aber graduated from Northeastern State. Before joining The...
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