NORMAN — Before the Sooners could win their third consecutive Big 12 Championship in 2008, they had to win the first in 2006. Ahead by only a score over Nebraska and facing third-and-long from its own 1, Oklahoma turned to a seldom-used, freshman tight end.
Turned out, that player would develop a penchant for shining in similar moments. Jermaine Gresham hauled in a 35-yard grab along the sideline to not only convert the first down, but ignite OU’s game-clinching scoring drive. Ever since, Gresham has been Big-Game Jermaine, saving his best games for the biggest stages. "I remember that play against Nebraska,” said defensive tackle Gerald McCoy. "Jermaine is the man. You can always depend on Jermaine to make that big play. "You know what they say, big-time players make big-time plays in big games. He’s just that guy.” Last season in big games against Cincinnati, Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma State, Missouri and Florida, Gresham averaged seven catches for 97 yards and totaled eight touchdowns. In OU’s eight other games, Gresham averaged three catches, 46 yards and scored six touchdowns. "I think really, it’s my mentality of getting it done,” said Gresham, trying to explain his propensity for playing his best in the biggest games. "How I approach things.” Gresham has been a Longhorn killer, totaling three touchdown catches over the last two seasons. But he was especially big down the stretch, when OU closed the year against No. 2 Texas Tech, No. 12 Oklahoma State, No. 20 Missouri and then No. 2 Florida in the BCS National Championship. In a 24-14 loss to the Gators, while the rest of the Sooner offense struggled, Gresham coolly operated underneath the Florida defense as quarterback Sam Bradford’s go-to guy.