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.”
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.