Game Report: OU Wins Sun Bowl!

The Oklahoma Sooners (8-5) were able to hold off a feisty Stanford Cardinal (8-5) 31-27 with a dominating defensive performance in the second half.

First Quarter

The Oklahoma Sooners wasted little time flexing their defensive and offensive muscles against Stanford in the Sun Bowl on Thursday afternoon.

Three plays in to Stanford's opening drive Tavita Pritchard would drop back on 3rd and 9 to deliver a pass but it sailed over his receiver and in to the chest of safety Jonathan Nelson who deflected the ball in to the waiting arms of Travis Lewis.

Three plays later the Sooners would hit pay dirt when red-shirt freshman quarterback Landry Jones threw a perfect 30-yard touchdown strike to Ryan Broyles to put OU out on top 7-0.

But then the momentum would swing in the direction of Stanford.

Adrian Taylor would suffer a brutal injury when he would get rolled on in the pile making a tackle on Toby Gerhart, breaking his leg in such a manner that they would not even play it back on the television broadcast.

The defense would still hold tight and force a Stanford punt, but Jones would try to force a ball in to Broyles but Stanford defender Bo McNally was laying in wait and intercepted the pass and return it all of the way down to the OU 14-yard line.

three punishing Gerhart runs later the Cardinal would draw even at seven after the Heisman finalist gave way to Owen Marecic who pounded it in from one yard out.

OU would pick itself up off of the mat and drive down the field and walk-on kicker Patrick O'Hara would knock in a 28-yard field goal. On the drive DeJuan Miller pulled in four passes for 55 yards, exploiting the soft coverage of the Cardinal defense.

Second Quarter

In the second quarter it would become obvious that game was going to become a track meet and the scores would come quick and often.

OU would start the second quarter much like it started the game, with an interception. Pritchard threw an ill-advised toss in to double coverage and Quinton Carter would be the beneficiary. But the OU offense would go three-and-out for the first time of the day and give the ball back to Stanford at its 24.

And that is when the Cardinal offense would get going after a 42-yard pass completion to Ryan Whalen Stanford would do what it does best; feed Gerhart the rock. They would do it in a unique fashion as well, as Gerhart lined up in the ‘Wildcat' formation for the first time. OU would take a time timeout to talk about how to defend the formation, but Gerhart would not be denied. He would get the snap and then bowl past the OU defense to cash in a 19-yard TD to put Stanford on top for the first time 14-10.

OU would not take long to answer with its own TD, as Jones continued to pick apart the weak Stanford pass defense. After a penalty on the kick-off OU would take over possession of the ball way back at its 7-yard line. Seven plays later OU would cash it in when Jones would hook up with Broyles for a second TD on a 13-yard pass in between three Stanford defenders. On the drive Jones was a perfect 5-for-5 for 69 yards.

Just over two minutes later Stanford would come right back down the field and put itself back out on top 21-17. Gerhart would carry the ball four times for 35 yards, but the big play would come on a 13-uard TD scamper up the middle of the OU defense. Freshman phenom Ronnell Lewis would make a veteran play to knock the ball out of Gerhart's hands as he approached the goal line, but Jonathan Nelson was unable to fall on the ball and Gerhart would eventually recover the ball in the end-zone for the Cardinal score.

The Sooners would quickly go three-and-out and then Richard Sherman would come in untouched to block a Tress Way punt and the Cardinal would take over possession at the OU 10-yard line. After a chop-block penalty moved the ball back 15 yards Stanford would settle on a field goal to extend its lead to 24-17.

And that is how it would head to the half....

Halftime Stats

PASSING: Oklahoma, Landry Jones: 17/27-231-2-1; Stanford, Tavita Pritchard: 5/9-84-0-1

RUSHING: Oklahoma, Chris Brown 4-17: DeMarco Murray: 10-14, Landry Jones 1 (-3); Stanford, Toby Gerhart: 17-78 (2 TD), Tavita Pritchard: 1-14, Stepfan Taylor: 1-5, Owen Marecic: 1-1 (1 TD)

Third Quarter

Trailing by seven the first drive of the second half would be an important one for OU, especially considering how it stumbled to end the second quarter. And Landry Jones would come out looking sharp going 6-for-8 for 79 yards and Broyles would snag his third TD pass of the afternoon to draw the Sooners even at 24-24. On the drive Jones would pass the 3,000 yard mark for the season.

The OU defense would hold strong forcing a Stanford punt (but star DE Jeremy Beal would be forced to exit the game with an ankle injury), but the offense would not be able to take advantage of a solid drive, as Murray would be stonewalled at the Cardinal 35 on a 4th and 1 run. But the OU defense would force another three-and-out and the teams would exchange punts again before OU would strike. A 36-yard pass from Jones to Trent Ratterree would set up a leaping one-yard Murray run to put OU up a TD (31-24).

The Sooners would force another quick Stanford three-and-out and all of the momentum was on OU's sides and that is when all hell would break loose………

Ryan Broyles was back to return the punt by was hit by a Stanford defender before he could control possession of the ball. Stanford would recover but a flag was thrown and the play was blown dead. After a consultation the referees would conclude that Bademosi was blocked in to Broyles by Jonathan Nelson, but after looking at the replay it appears that was not the case. But the end result was that the Cardinal would gain possession of the ball at the OU 35, the spot where they recovered the muffed punt.

Stoops was irate on the sidelines at the call and his Sooners reflected that emotion on the field. After a personal foul penalty call on Gerald McCoy the Cardinal would keep possession at the OU 25-yard line. To end the third period.

Fourth Quarter

The defense would hold Stanford out of the end-zone and retain a 31-27 lead by forcing a 21-yard Whitaker field goal.

The Sooners gave the ball right back to the Cardinal after a quick three plays, but a Tress Way 60-yard punt would pin them deep in OU territory. McCoy would bring down Pritchard inside the 10-yard before exiting the game with what looked like a hip or back injury. On the very next snap Gerhart would bust off a big 26 yard run against what had been a healthy defensive line. But again the OU ‘D' would step up and force a Stanford punt.

After a block in the back penalty by Desmond Jackson OU would take over possession well inside of its 20-yard line. But then they would go to work on their most methodical drive of the day, and it could not have come at a better time as the clock was winding down. Broyles would convert a third down on a middle screen and then Chris Brown would convert a third and one. After a quick 11-yard strike to Murray Jones would be tested with a third and long situation, and he would come through to convert it as well with a 11-yard bullet in to the arms of Ratterree at the 30-yard line. Two plays later Jones would face a 3rd and 3 and that is when DeJaun Miller pulled down his seventh pass of the day for an 8-yard gain to the Stanford 15. But after the drive stalled out O'Hara would miss a chip-shot 32-yard field goal leaving the door open for Stanford to possibly win the game.

Stanford would face a 4th and 2 from its own 28-yard line and everyone in the country knew that Gerhart was getting the ball, but Stanford would pass! The Sooner coverage was exemplary and after running around Pritchard would try to force a pass in to Gerhart, but freshman corner Demontre Hurst would knock it to the turf.

OU Wins! 31-27

Putting a wrap on a Sun Bowl win and a great second half performance by the OU defense that held Stanford to three points (and that was a gift) in the stanza.

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