NEW ORLEANS —
Special Teams: The Sooners had one defined edge over Alabama heading into the Sugar Bowl: kicker Michael Hunnicutt. It turned out to be a major difference as Hunnicutt connected on a 47-yard field goal attempt early in the second quarter. Alabama’s Cade Foster missed a 32-yard attempt as time expired in the first half.
“That was a big difference in the game,” Alabama coach Nick Saban said.
Tight end involvement: Tight ends had only been a tiny sliver of OU’s offense this season. However, Brannon Green and Taylor McNamara were both involved in the passing game Thursday. Green had a critical 13-yard first down catch in the third quarter. McNamara had a 4-yard grab — his first of the season — in the first quarter.
“I feel that’s our team this year,” OU quarterback Trevor Knight said. “We had guys step up all year. It’s very easy when you’re not playing, sitting on the sideline, to put your head down. But that shows that our team, quarterback position and every position, that we just stayed the course. We kept battling every day at practice.
“So when it was our time to shine, we could go out and do that.”
Record day: Knight’s four touchdown passes matched the Sugar Bowl record and outside linebacker Eric Striker matched the sack record with three. Also Knight, witch 348 passing yards and Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron (387) became the first opposing quarterbacks to throw for 300 yards in Sugar Bowl history.
Familiar spot: Thursday’s Sugar Bowl marked OU’s seventh appearance in the game. It’s the most of any non-SEC school. Alabama made its record 14th appearance.
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