National chomps: Gators sink Sooners
January 9, 2009
MIAMI ” Points were tough to come by for the high-scoring Oklahoma Sooners, even when they had Florida backed up to the goal line.
Twice the Gators stopped Oklahoma inside the 10, stands that proved pivotal in the Gators’ 24-14 victory in the BCS national championship game Thursday night.
The Sooners scored an NCAA-record 702 points during regular season, averaging 54 a game. When reaching the opposing 20-yard line, they had scored of 76 of 80 times, including 69 touchdowns. But they were stopped twice in the first half by Florida, and later had a field-goal attempt blocked.
The Gators ranked eighth nationally in yards allowed, and they kept Heisman Trophy winner Sam Bradford guessing with lots of blitzing. Oklahoma made 25 first downs but totaled only 363 yards, well below its regular-season average of 562, and Major Wright and Ahmad Black had interceptions against Bradford, who threw only six during the regular season.
With the score 7-all, 295-pound defensive tackle Gerald McCoy dropped into coverage to make an interception and give the Sooners the ball at the Florida 26.
Oklahoma picked up a first down at the 9, and two carries by Chris Brown advanced the ball to the 1.
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But on third down he was halted for no gain by 298-pound tackle Torrey Davis, and on fourth down, Davis again stopped Brown for a 2-yard loss.
The Sooners forced a punt and drove 74 yards in the final 2:32 of the first half. But with a first down at the 6 and 10 seconds left, Bradford tried to throw to Manuel Johnson, and Florida’s Joe Haden tipped the ball. Three other defenders also touched it, and Wright made the interception at the 3.
Another missed chance for the Sooners came in the third quarter. After Florida marched 75 yards for a touchdown to take a 14-7 lead, Oklahoma picked up two first downs. But on third-and-1 at the 28, Brown was stopped for a 4-yard loss by Ryan Stamper, and Jimmy Stevens’ 49-yard field goal attempt was blocked by Carlos Dunlap.
With Florida leading 17-14, Bradford threw long to Juaquin Iglesias. Black snatched the ball out of Iglesias’ hands for an interception at the Gators 24.
Twice in the first quarter, the Sooners crossed midfield but were forced to punt. The Gators’ defense sealed the victory by stopping Oklahoma on downs at the Sooners 36 with less than 3 minutes left.
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