EL PASO, Texas — Tears flooded G.K. McCoy’s face. Here he was, trying to win a bowl game before the curtain closed on his glorious college career, and his brother lay on the Sun Bowl turf with a leg so mangled CBS wouldn’t even show the replay. Oklahoma’s Adrian Taylor writhed on the ground, pain probably shooting all the way to his throat, because that’s what happens when your bones go sideways. The Sooners were stunned, seven snaps into their sortie with Stanford. None moreso than McCoy, who has no brothers in his family but found one in Taylor, his long-time roommate and defensive tackle sidekick. Now that brother was being carted off the field, and the Sooners had to slap themselves back to the mission at hand. "Man, it was tough,” said cornerback Dom Franks. But some three hours later, tears flowed again down McCoy’s big cheeks. This time, he was celebrating. The Sooners had defeated Stanford 31-27, and McCoy had his bowl victory. All these Sooners did. Landry Jones’ and Ryan Broyles’ pitch-and-catch chemistry set records. Stanford tailback Toby Gerhart was so beaten up, his biceps were redder than his Cardinal jersey. A batch of guys who you never thought would play in a pivotal game — David King and Jaz Reynolds and Eric Mensik and Ronnell Lewis and DeMarcus Granger and Demontre Hurst and Jamarkus McFarland — filled in for the fallen. And for the first time since that 2005 Holiday Bowl against Oregon, the Sooners go into an offseason feeling good about themselves. Don’t try telling these Sooners bowl games don’t matter. Don’t try telling these Sooners teams don’t care if they win bowls. Their jubilation said otherwise. Their jubilation and their hugs. McCoy hugged offensive tackle Trent Williams. Hugged linebacker Travis Lewis. Hugged defensive end Jeremy Beal. Wouldn’t surprise me if he hugged the Sun Bowl queen and headed downtown to hug the border guards. "I haven’t won a bowl game,” McCoy said. "A few days ago, I asked all the fellas, I told ‘em, ‘This is a great team we’re about to play. I would really love to go out with a win.’ They really stepped up.” This was a solid victory, even if it came against Stanford’s backup quarterback. Maybe freshman Andrew Luck, Stanford’s starting QB all season, would have made a difference, but don’t trot out that excuse on Bob Stoops. In the locker room before the game, Stoops saw Sam Bradford, Jermaine Gresham and Brody Eldridge — all injured — in sweat pants. "Breaks my heart,” Stoops said, "...sitting there, can’t play.” Then to see Taylor carted off, and Jeremy Beal limp off in the second half, and even McCoy go out for a couple of plays in the fourth quarter with a hip-pointer, well, this was a well-earned win. And Taylor’s gruesome was a part of that. He and McCoy pointed at each other as Taylor was wheeled off, and Taylor told Stoops to tell the guys to hold down the fort. "That was his last words to me,” Stoops said. Consider the fort defended, and while the BCS losing streak remains at five, part of the bowl slump was sent fleeing across the Rio Grande. "It’s amazing,” Franks said. "This is my first (bowl win) in four years. The things we’ve been through the whole season, it’s amazing.” The Sooners did more than say such things. They acted like this was a big deal. Mossis Madu led an impromptu victory dance, encircled by teammates. Flanker Brandon Caleb waved a giant OU flag in front of the band. Most amazing of all, stoic strength coach Jerry Schmidt smiled. "Over the last three weeks, everything we put in, sacrificed, the practices we’ve had, the players were more into this than any bowl preparation,” linebacker Ryan Reynolds said. "All that we had invested into it, to come out on top, felt great.” And when it was over, this game and his OU career and this Shakespearean season in which so many of his fellow heroes fell, and G.K. McCoy had cried for reasons both sad and happy and celebrated with darn near everyone on Sun Bowl mountain, he had one last job. There was a brother waiting with a broken leg but a joyous heart. "When I get back in the locker room,” McCoy said, "we’re going to have a real long hug.” Berry Tramel: 405-760-8080; Berry Tramel 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.