The Norman Transcript

Sports

January 9, 2009

Bad plays, bad decisions cost Sooners the title

MIAMI — Sam Bradford might have made his poorest decision of the year, trying to hit Manny Johnson as the first half neared an end. Instead of scoring seven or three points after reaching the 6-yard-line, Oklahoma scored none.

Stunningly, again, in a huge game that became a loss, Bob Stoops made a strikingly bad decision, sending Jimmy Stevens out to kick a 49-yard field goal that barely cleared the offensive line, rather than going for it, facing fourth-and-5, at the Florida 32.

The Sooner defense stepped up for 31⁄2 quarters on the biggest stage of all and part of it included two interceptions of Florida quarterback Tim Tebow, the same number last season’s Heisman Trophy winner had thrown over his previous 13 games. Only the highest scoring on offense in the history of the modern collegiate game failed to put points on the board with either gifted drive.

The Sooners did not do so much of what they had done all season long Thursday night at Dolphin Stadium. And yet for all of that, OU did not lose its third BCS championship game in six seasons 24-14 to Florida so much as the Gators took it away. And quite literally at that.

“They just made the plays at the end,” Sooner defensive tackle Gerald McCoy said.

Tebow made plenty of them with his feet and even his arm, yet none was singularly as big as the one turned in by Gator strong safety Ahmad Black, who ripped the ball right from the arms of Juaquin Iglesias, who only appeared to have set the Sooners up at the Florida 24 with 10 minutes left to play.

It was the play of the night and the story of the game. Of the contest’s other 143 snaps, none were so crushing to Sooner fortunes, yet plenty were just another example of what Florida was able to do in the moment and of what OU was not.

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