Sun Bowl Presents Stiff Challenge

In two weeks, the Sooners will take the field for the final time in 2009, and it will be an interesting contest in a New Year's Eve Sun Bowl battle between OU and No. 19 Stanford for a number of reasons.

First, the Sooners will get a crack at outstanding power-running back and Heisman Trophy runner up Toby Gerhart.

Gerhart has had a magnificent year, leading the nation in rushing attempts, yards and touchdowns.

The senior multi-sport star, who also plays baseball and led the Cardinal to an 11-run ninth inning in a 2008 College World Series game against Florida State, has racked up 1,736 yards and 26 touchdowns on 311 carries this year.

His long was a 61-yard touchdown in a rivalry game against Cal a month ago.

So the Sooners will get a chance to stop one of the nation's best running backs.

Also, OU will get yet another chance to get off the bowl schnide.

The Sooners have lost three straight bowl games, including the Fiesta Bowl twice, in contests against Boise State and West Virginia, and last year's National Championship game against Florida.

Ironically, the last time OU won a bowl contest was against a Pac-10 team, Oregon, in the Holiday Bowl back in 2005.

"Yeah, you know, I think the last three or four bowl games we lost," said OU junior running back DeMarco Murray. "You know, with my class, I think we're 0-3, but, you know, this is going to be another tough match for us. We're just looking to erase all the losses and finally get a victory."

Something else that makes this matchup intriguing is the simple fact that, considering the season the Sooners have had, they are playing a ranked team in a much higher-profile matchup as opposed to a perhaps lesser opponent like the 6-6 Michigan State Spartans, who placed sixth in the Big Ten.

"You can say that," Murray said. "You know, if anything, in the Pac-10 this year did pretty well. I think they beat Oregon, so just listening to some of the coaches, they were the best two teams. I heard Coach Stoops stay that—Coach Stoops' brother is actually at Arizona—so just looking at the team, there are a lot of good teams down there, so it's a pretty good matchup."

So, the Sooners get a chance at knocking off a quality-opponent with this year's Heisman runner up in an intriguing Sun Bowl matchup.

Sooners Illustrated Top Stories