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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
NOR 3
DUR 5
 
Final
PIT 0
CAR 10
 
5:05pm Tonight
NOR
DUR
 
7:35pm Tonight
NOR
DUR
 
Final
CIN 7
CHC 2
Final
DET 3
NYY 2
Final
SFG 4
COL 1
Final
BAL 5
TAM 4
Final
NYM 1
ATL 6
Final
CWS 2
CLE 3
Final
KAN 5
MIN 11
Final
HOU 4
TEX 2
9th
ANA 3
OAK 3
 
7:05pm Tonight
PIT
CIN
 
7:05pm Tonight
BAL
MIN
 
7:07pm Tonight
TOR
NYY
 
7:10pm Tonight
TAM
BOS
 
7:10pm Tonight
NYM
PHI
 
7:35pm Tonight
ATL
MIA
 
8:10pm Tonight
KAN
CLE
 
8:10pm Tonight
CWS
DET
 
8:10pm Tonight
HOU
TEX
 
8:15pm Tonight
STL
CHC
 
9:40pm Tonight
ARI
COL
 
10:05pm Tonight
ANA
OAK
 
10:10pm Tonight
SDP
LOS
 
10:10pm Tonight
SEA
WAS
 
10:15pm Tonight
SFG
MIL
 
Final
SCAR 28
TEXAM 52
Final
LAMON 17
WAKE 10
Final
MISS 35
BSU 13
Final
TULSA 38
TULA 31
 
4th
WASU 38
RUTG 34
 
3rd
ARST 45
WEBER 7
 
3rd
VANDY 7
TEMPL 24
 
7:00pm Tonight
UCONN
BYU
7:30pm Tonight
WKENT
BGU
7:30pm Tonight
MSU
JVST
9:00pm Tonight
COL
COLST
9:00pm Tonight
HOU
TXSANANTO
10:30pm Tonight
ARZ
UNLV
Final
JAC 14
ATL 24
 
Final
BUF 0
DET 23
 
Final
CIN 35
IND 7
 
Final
GBP 34
KAN 14
 
Final
PHI 37
NYJ 7
 
Final
MIA 14
STL 13
 
Final
PIT 0
CAR 10
 
Final
NYG 16
NEP 13
 
Final
TAM 10
WAS 24
 
Final
NOS 13
BAL 22
 
Final
CLE 33
CHI 13
 
Final
DAL 3
DEN 27
 
Final
TEN 3
MIN 19
 
Final
HOU 13
SFX 40
 
Final
SDC 12
ARI 9
 
4th
OAK 38
SEA 31
 
Final
NOR 3
DUR 5
 
5:05pm Tonight
NOR
DUR
 
7:35pm Tonight
NOR
DUR