The Norman Transcript

Sports

January 2, 2010

Sooners feel good about season

EL PASO, Texas -- The 2009 football season will always be remembered more for what Oklahoma didn't have than what it did. The injuries began before the season opener and piled up all the way through Thursday's Sun Bowl.

Sooner coach Bob Stoops, who wrapped up his 11th season at OU with Thursday's 31-27 victory over No. 19 Stanford, has been around the college game for 30 years as a player and a coach.

He freely admitted the ailments his team suffered were one-of-a-kind. He'd never seen anything like it before and prays he never sees it again.

That why, Thursday, he looked like the captain of huge ship that hit an iceberg and ran into a "perfect storm," but still managed to make it back to port.

"They just never got dejected," Stoops said about his team, which finished 8-5. "Everyone kept positive and worked through it; and worked through it in a pretty good way."

Thursday's victory was the Sooners' second straight over a Top 25 team, dating back to a convincing 27-0 victory over Oklahoma State Nov. 28. It left the door open for the Sooners to get back in the polls. They won't be out until after the BCS title game.

But OU made a case it belongs in there with Saturday's performance. It was able to overcome obstacles that were too vast to cleanly dodge.

The Sooners started the season ranked No. 3. Some of the major reasons were players like quarterback Sam Bradford, tight end Jermaine Gresham, tight end/offensive lineman Brody Eldridge and defensive end Auston English. Those four and several others were in street clothes Thursday due to season-ending injuries.

"It's no one's fault, with all the different people that haven't been able to play," Stoops said. "It just breaks my heart seeing Jermaine Gresham, (Sam Bradford), Brody Eldridge in the locker room and can't ... they're dying to play. So, you just feel for them,"

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