It was that way when the Sooners only went backwards after reaching the 1-yard line halfway through the second quarter. It was that way late in the third when Bradford hit Quentin Chaney for 25 yards and Iglesias for 13 before facing third-and-1 at the Florida 28, only to hand the ball to Chris Brown for a 4-yard loss.
Not once could the Sooners break on through to the other side. Again and again the Gators wouldn’t let it happen.
By converting third down after third down after third down, they wouldn’t let it happen. And by stone cold stopping OU just as Bradford and the offense appeared to be hitting a stride, they wouldn’t let it happen.
It didn’t matter that Brown ran for 110 yards. It didn’t matter that Jermaine Gresham was knocked out of the game only to return and catch a game-tying touchdown. It didn’t matter because one team had the answers and it wasn’t OU.
It didn’t really matter that Tebow ran for 109 yards and threw for 231. It only mattered that one team did all that was required and the other couldn’t.
“In the second half, down the stretch, down in the fourth quarter there, we came up a play or two short. They made them,” Stoops said. “But it was a heck of a game.”
That is the Sooner Nation’s solace. But after five consecutive BCS bowl losses, it’s not a whole lot to take into another tormenting offseason.
Last season concluded in embarrassment. The year before was a lark of a loss as Boise State converted miracle after miracle.
Two years prior it was another embarrassment, right here at Dolphin Stadium, to USC.
The year before OU closed with a Sugar Bowl thud.
The only thing Thursday night had in common with all the rest was the part about the other team finishing with more points than OU.
At least it wasn’t a flop.
Florida was just too good.