Rocky Calmus poked the football loose. Roy Williams gobbled it up. Two plays later, a touchdown all but sealed Oklahoma's seventh national championship.
If OU is to make a run at an eighth, Calmus, a senior linebacker with a knack for making plays, and Williams, a big-hitting, junior strong safety, will play important roles. They appear up to the challenge.
"They're both as good as there is out there, OU co-defensive coordinator Mike Stoops said. "At their positions, I don't think there's a better player anywhere in the country.
Both could be headed for national honors. Calmus, who was an All-American last year, is a preseason favorite for the Butkus Award, given annually to the nation's best linebacker. Williams, a first-team all-conference selection in 2000, is a potential All-American this season.
Both say they don't care about individual honors.
"I love football, but I don't need the attention, said Williams, echoing an oft-heard Calmus sentiment.
On the field, neither is really vocal certainly nothing like former Sooner linebacker Torrance Marshall's blue-streak motivational rants of a year ago.
But that's fine.
"They're our leaders, Stoops said. "They're our most steady players and our most experienced players, as well.
"We'd like them to be a little more vocal. We'd like them to be spiritual leaders and leaders by example. But the way they play is the way they lead our team.
"Nobody practices harder, nobody prepares harder, nobody plays harder. That's enough. We don't need a bunch of cheerleaders.
Both Calmus and Williams, according to sophomore defensive end Dan Cody, "bring hat.
It's one of the highest compliments he could bestow. Essentially, it means Calmus and Williams hit hard. But there's a hard-nosed, smash-mouthed attitude wrapped around the phrase.
And that, Cody said, makes them easy to follow.
"They've got that personality about them that kind of lights you up, he said.
So who's better, Calmus or Williams? Depends on who's asked.
Williams is more versatile. He'll spend plenty of time this year playing the equivalent of strongside linebacker in OU's five- and six-defensive backs packages.
"He can play any position behind the front four, Stoops said.
Calmus can play middle or weakside linebacker, though he's best at the latter. From there, he simply makes plays.
Senior offensive tackle Frank Romero on Calmus: "unbelievable.
Junior quarterback Nate Hybl on Williams: "special.
Calmus led OU with 125 tackles, including four sacks, last season; Williams had 94, with four sacks.
Williams had two interceptions, and returned one for a touchdown. Calmus had one pick; he returned it for a score, too.
Romero said the Sooners were propelled last year by Josh Heupel's leadership. And Romero has volunteered Calmus to play that role this season.
"He has that look in his eyes, Romero said. "He's an old-fashioned tough guy. He brings out the best in everybody. When we're going against him in practice, looking across at him, he makes us want to beat him.
Apprised of Romero's assertion, Calmus nodded.
"I'm trying to get that role, he said. "I'm not real vocal, but I try to lead by example.
Meanwhile, Hybl's eyes are focused on Williams too often, Hybl said, "because he's coming right at me.
"On the field, he's just amazing, Hybl said. "I wouldn't want to play against him. I'm glad I don't.