No Kelly, big problems
For the second straight Fiesta Bowl, Oklahoma wide receiver Malcolm Kelly was a non-factor. Kelly did not play Wednesday night after suffering a leg injury during the Sooners’ preparations for the game in Arizona.
Kelly suffered a knee injury early in last year’s Fiesta Bowl against Boise State.
The junior, who could leave school early to enter the NFL draft, hasn’t caught a pass in a bowl game since pulling down seven for 79 yards in the 2005 Holiday Bowl.
Kelly’s absence was noticeably felt by the OU offense. West Virginia crowded the line of scrimmage and dared the Sooners to throw deep.
OU’s receivers did a better job of getting open in the second half. Most of quarterback Sam Bradford’s yardage and all of his touchdown passes came after the intermission.
Other than Bradford’s 45-yard completion to Quentin Chaney to set up Garrett Hartley’s second first-half field goal, big plays were nonexistent by the Sooner offense.
Flags were flying
Wednesday’s game included the most combined penalties of any game this season. The Sooners were penalized 13 times for 113 yards. West Virginia amassed eight for 110 yards, including four personal fouls on two plays.
In the Sooners’ case, the penalties continued a trend over their last four bowl games. OU has averaged 7.5 in its last four postseason games.
It averaged 6.3 penalties for 53.2 yards a game during the regular season.
No Slaton, no problem
OU wasn’t the only team on the field missing an offensive star. West Virginia lost running back Steve Slaton, who had rushed for 1,053 yards and 17 touchdowns during the regular season, left the game on the Mountaineers’ second possession.
It didn’t affect them much. West Virginia had a more than adequate backup. Noel Devine averaged 8.6 yards per carry during the regular season and rushed 110 yards on just 13 carries Wednesday. He also scored two touchdowns.
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