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NCAA Game Summary - Oklahoma vs. Alabama



(Thursday, January 2nd)

Final Score: (11) Oklahoma 45, (3) Alabama 31

New Orleans, LA (SportsNetwork.com) - Trevor Knight threw across his body while falling out of bounds and found an open receiver in the end zone for the eventual game-winning touchdown early in the fourth quarter.

It was that kind of night for Oklahoma's freshman quarterback.

Knight had his way with Alabama's vaunted defense, throwing for 348 yards and four touchdowns as No. 11 Oklahoma upset the heavily-favored and third-ranked Crimson Tide, 45-31, in a wildly entertaining Sugar Bowl.

Oklahoma (11-2) needed something special going up against the powerful Tide, and head coach Bob Stoops tabbed the dual-threat Knight as its spark.

"Knight, of course, was exceptional," Stoops said. "I think he showed the whole country what we've been watching for two years in our practices and our scrimmages."

Knight did not need his legs, though, doing most of the damage with his arm as he found Jalen Saunders for two touchdowns, Lacoltan Bester for 105 yards and a score and Sterling Shepard for the aforementioned pivotal TD.

The surprising win was the Sooners' second straight in a BCS game after a five-game losing streak in the coveted bowls.

Alabama senior AJ McCarron went out on a losing note despite throwing for 387 yards and two scores. The Maxwell Award winner uncharacteristically threw two interceptions in the first half and was stripped-sacked on the Tide's final possession.

"You can put it (loss) all on me," McCarron said. "I had two turnovers, (they) ended up scoring 14 points and we lost by 14."

McCarron guided the Tide (11-2) to back-to-back national championships and a shot at a third this season that abruptly ended in an epic Iron Bowl loss to eventual SEC-champion Auburn in their final regular season game.

Derrick Henry accounted for a 161 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns for the Tide, who were making their fifth BCS appearance in the last six seasons.

Despite amassing 362 yards in the first half, the Tide trailed, 31-17, at the break because Oklahoma turned three Alabama turnovers into 21 points.

The track meet slowed down after the intermission, and the only score in the third quarter came 6:11 in when Henry ripped off a 43-yard touchdown run.

A battle for field position went Oklahoma's way when Knight went 6-for-6 for 92 yards through the air early in the fourth quarter. Knight moved the chains with a beautiful over-the-shoulder toss to Bester on 3rd-and-15, then connected with Shepard for a 9-yard score while falling out of bounds with 10:44 remaining to give the Sooners some breathing room.

Henry cut the Tide's deficit to 38-31 when he took a short pass 61 yards for a score with 6:22 on the clock.

Oklahoma, though, chewed up 5 1/2 minutes with timely passing and hard running from Brennan Clay, and Alabama took over at its own 18-yard line with 56 seconds remaining.

A storybook comeback for McCarron did not come to fruition, as he was hit from behind by Eric Striker and fumbled. Geneo Grissom scooped up the loose ball and went in for the punctuating score to clinch the upset.

The fumble recovery for a touchdown was a similar finish to Oklahoma's win over Oklahoma State in its final regular season game, which kept the Sooners' Bedlam rival from winning the Big 12 and vaulted them into an at-large BCS bid.

There were no punts in a breathless first half.

It took Alabama all of 1:49 to get on the board, as T.J. Yeldon took it in from a yard out following a 53-yard reception from Amari Cooper.

The Tide quickly got the ball back when Landon Collins made an acrobatic diving interception to end Oklahoma's first possession, but McCarron overthrew his intended receiver on the next play and was picked off by Gabe Lynn.

Oklahoma didn't waste any time cashing in on McCarron's sixth interception of the season, as Bester caught a pass along the sideline, turned it upfield and outran two defenders to the end zone for a 45-yard score.

DeAndrew White's 63-yard pickup set up Cade Foster's 27-yard field goal, and Oklahoma capped the seesaw opening frame with a 13-play, 78-yard drive that ended with Saunders' 8-yard touchdown catch.

The second play of the second quarter saw White get behind the defense and haul in McCarron's perfect heave in stride en route to a 67-yard TD.

Michael Hunnicutt tied the game at 17-17 with a 47-yard field goal a little later, and Oklahoma scored touchdowns off two Alabama turnovers to close out the half in style.

After Yeldon lost a fumble inside the Oklahoma 10-yard line, the Sooners retook the lead when Knight and Saunders again hooked up for a TD with 2:59 remaining. The long play came right after Oklahoma gained just enough on a 4th-and-1 try near midfield.

McCarron missed his mark on the ensuing drive, and Zack Sanchez stepped in front of the intended receiver and took the interception 43 yards down to the 13-yard line. Shepard scored on an end around on the next snap, and the Sooners went into the break with a 31-17 cushion after Foster missed a 32-yard field goal on the half's final play.

Alabama also had a punt return for a touchdown called back due to a penalty early in the third quarter.

Game Notes

Knight entered the game with 471 yards and five touchdowns through the air ... Alabama allowed 102 total points over its first 11 games and 79 over its final two ... Oklahoma recorded seven sacks ... Alabama had allowed just 20 points off turnovers coming in ... Oklahoma has won 11 games 10 times under Stoops ... No college football game has ever featured two teams with more combined bowl victories. Oklahoma picked up its 28th bowl win, while Alabama sits at a record 34.

01/03 02:34:10 ET

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
DUKE 47
TULA 13
Final
ECU 70
UNC 41
 
3rd
TOWSN 24
NCCU 17
 
3rd
NCSU 28
PRES 0
 
Final
KAN 2
DET 3
Final
CHC 8
LOS 7
Final
OAK 0
PHI 3
Final
NYY 3
TOR 6
Final
COL 5
ARI 1
3rd
BAL 0
BOS 2
 
3rd
PIT 0
MIL 0
 
3rd
TAM 2
CWS 0
 
7:10pm Tonight
MIN 0
CLE 0
3rd
ATL 0
NYM 3
 
3rd
HOU 5
SEA 1
 
4th
MIA 1
WAS 0
 
3rd
STL 5
CIN 0
 
8:40pm Tonight
SDP
SFG
9:05pm Tonight
ANA
TEX
Final
WISC 68
BGU 17
Final
MSU 73
EMICH 14
Final
VT 24
GT 27
Final
PITT 20
IOWA 24
Final
RICE 42
ODU 45
Final
UGA 66
TROY 0
Final
SYR 20
MD 34
Final
DUKE 47
TULA 13
Final
COL 21
HAW 12
Final
AKR 17
MARS 48
 
Final
WAKE 24
ARMY 21
Final
KU 24
CMICH 10
Final
ALA 42
UF 21
Final
FIU 3
LOU 34
 
Final
ECU 70
UNC 41
 
Final
NAVY 24
RUTG 31
Final
SMU 6
TEXAM 58
3:30pm Today
MICH 10
UTAH 26
Final
BYU 41
UVA 33
Final
WYO 20
FATL 19
 
Final
MIZZ 27
IND 31
 
Final
PSU 48
UMASS 7
 
Final
MINN 24
SJST 7
 
3rd
ILL 19
TXST 21
 
3rd
WASH 0
GASTATE 14
 
2nd
SMISS 14
APPST 0
 
7:00pm Tonight
TOL 6
BST 0
2nd
OHIO 17
IDAHO 0
 
2nd
CIN 7
UMO 14
 
2nd
MEM 12
MTST 7
 
2nd
LSU 0
MSST 14
 
2nd
ARK 21
NILL 0
 
2nd
ARKST 0
UTST 7
 
1st
SALABAMA 0
GASO 0
 
1st
WVU 0
OKLA 3
 
1st
VANDY 7
SCAR 0
 
8:00pm Tonight
FSU
CLEM
8:00pm Tonight
NEB
MIAMI
8:00pm Tonight
NMST
NMU
8:00pm Tonight
HOU
UNLV
10:00pm Tonight
ARZ
CAL
10:30pm Tonight
BSU
LALAF
10:30pm Tonight
WASU
OREG
10:30pm Tonight
ORST
SDST
3rd
TOWSN 24
NCCU 17
 
3rd
NCSU 28
PRES 0