NEW ORLEANS —
How could the Sooners not feel euphoric over what took place in the final weeks of the 2013 season? The win over Alabama was undoubtedly their biggest bowl victory since claiming the 2000 national championship.
Back then OU was a program ascending at a blistering pace. It returned to Norman with the same feeling.
Stoops argues that feeling never left. He never talked up the fact that OU was a massive underdog — at least publicly.
“We weren’t coming in on a load of wood. We’ve won some games around here,” he said.
But his team played like one bent on playing like one in that it was focused, determined and unafraid to stick its neck out.
Knight completed 32 passes to seven different receivers. Derrick Woods and tight ends Brannon Green and Taylor McNamara combined for three catches during the regular season. All three had critical catches Thursday night.
Unheralded defensive end Geneo Grissom was the game’s defensive MVP and had two sacks and two recovered fumbles. Players who started the season as projects put together dominant performances on the big stage against an elite team.
For the first time in years, OU closed a season giving every appearance that its best years are still ahead. Stoops was thinking about the future, not the past by Friday morning.
“To me it’s already gone,” he said. “I’m on to what’s coming next year all ready.”
Based on what happened in the Sugar Bowl there’s no reason not to. No one was talking about the Sooners’ postseason failures or even that they finished second in the Big 12 Conference title race. The ending overwhelmed everything that preceded it.
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