For about a quarter, it didn’t look good. For about a quarter all the bad things the Sooners couldn’t quite get right at times this season, they weren’t getting right against Florida.
After taking a big lead, they quit scoring. After taking a big lead, pretty much, they quit defending, too.
That Florida chose to run the ball on second- and third-and-goal after spotting the Sooners a trio of interceptions and 17 points, settling for a field goal may have been the biggest reason why the Gators eventually got back within three points yet never tied it up.
Yet … man was Oklahoma terrific after that.
For the record, this band of Sooners was not screwed over by any committee. They’re a better team than Notre Dame and maybe Ohio State, too, but they lost early and they lost again and they have no excuses.
What they are, however, or what they became, is a really, really, really good college football team and all’s good that ends well and, wow, did the season end well Wednesday night.
Pick you’re favorite moment, because there were plenty in what became a rollicking 55-20 victory, but it’s hard to go wrong with the play Brian Asamoah made to bring down Rick Wells, who’d just caught a short pass from by Emory Jones, the Gators facing fourth-and-goal from the 3 three snaps into the fourth quarter.
Asamoah had no help, but he’d sniffed out the play and whether watching from the press box, your couch or either sideline inside AT&T Stadium, it was clear Wells would go nowhere after catching the pass long before he caught the pass.
Jones and Wells executed the play they wanted to execute and it mattered not a bit.
“This is the most complete Oklahoma team in quite some time,” said former Sooner All-American and ESPN color guy Dusty Dvoracek around the time Asamoah made the stop.
He’s right, and the last Sooner teams to be so complete, he was on them, in 2003 and 2004.
It’s remains a mystery how OU lost the Big 12 title game and the national championship game the first of those seasons and got blown off the field in the national championship game the second of those seasons, but those were great teams that could run, throw and defend.
The Sooners played for it all again in 2008, but that team did not defend as well as this team has defended since ever escaping Texas inside the actual Cotton Bowl on Oct. 10.
Barring a running back room that includes neither Rhamondre Stevenson nor Kennedy Brooks would seem to be the only way next year’s Sooners are not equally complete. and then, should neither come back, maybe Alex Grinch’s defense — presuming the Sooner coordinator isn’t poached away — will be so good they might go all the way, anyway.
But that’s so next year.
Because it ended so well in the game called the Cotton Bowl despite not being played inside the Cotton Bowl, this season, despite the losses, has been pretty fantastic its own self, and in no game was OU any better than this game.
The Sooners gained 684 yards from scrimmage, 76 more than they picked up against Missouri State, their previous season high. OU’s 435 ground yards was 222 more than its previous season high at Texas Tech.
Meanwhile, though quarterback Spencer Rattler topped out at 249 yards through the air, three of his 14 completions went for touchdowns, he ran for another, and his two best throws?
Well, one was a bomb to Charleston Rambo, the last play of the first quarter, broken up by Jaydon Hill, and the other arrived the very next play, the first play of the second quarter, another bomb to Theo Wease that Hill, if you can believe it, broke up, too.
Yet the thing about both? Each one, his two biggest shots of the night, hit his receiver right in the hands and it’s hard to be better than that.
That the victory came against a team that gave Alabama all it wanted at the SEC title game less than two weeks ago is gravy. That OU posted 55 points, a touchdown more than it had ever scored in a bowl game is gravy, too.
Just maybe, it’s all gravy, a cherry on top of this horrendous year, something to appreciate as we trudge back toward normalcy, one vaccine shot at a time.
Whatever that’s going to look like, we should get there by the time the Sooners get back on the field, when we can once again safely pursue frivolous things like a college football season as though our lives, well being and mental health depend upon it.
When that happens, it would appear OU will be putting a team on the field worthy of all that energy.