The Oklahoma Sooners faced the Oregon Ducks in the Valero Alamo Bowl on Wednesday. Oklahoma came into the game the favorite by 7 points after a 10-2 season and a 3rd place finish in the Big 12. The 2 teams that beat the hard to touch Sooners were Baylor and Oklahoma State, two teams that faced off in the Big 12 Championship (Baylor won 21-16). Former Sooner starting QB Spencer Rattler, who transferred to South Carolina earlier this month, had his starting job taken by true freshman Caleb Williams during the Red River Showdown against Texas after Rattler had a bad start to the game, throwing 112 yards and a pick. Williams and Junior RB Kennedy Brooks lead the Sooners to a comeback win, outscoring the Longhorns 35-10 in the second half to win 55-48. Williams has been the starter since and has had 1,670 yards passing, 18 pass TDs and only 4 interceptions in 8 games. This is the first time in 5 years that OU is not in the Big 12 Championship and the first time in 7 years they are not in a New Years Six Bowl.
The Sooners have also had some problems with coaching as legendary Head Coach and Recruiter Lincoln Riley left the team after their final regular season game against Oklahoma State. Riley left for USC and has already gotten many 5 star recruits including RB Raleek Brown, ATH Makai Lemon and QB Malachi Nelson to flip from Oklahoma to USC. Former legendary OU Head Coach Bob Stoops was announced as the interim Head Coach for the Alamo Bowl while former Clemson Defensive Coordinator Brent Venables took over power for Oklahoma as their new Head Coach. Stoops was 190-48 at OU, set a school record of 18 consecutive bowl berths and was the only coach when he retired to win the Fiesta Bowl, Orange Bowl, Rose Bowl, Sugar Bowl and a National Championship. He had more wins than any Head Coach in the history of College Football over his first 18 seasons, and won 10 Big 12 Championships. He was ready to come back for a final game with Oklahoma and he wanted it to be a great Sooner performance.
The Oregon Ducks were in a similar boat when they came into the Alamo Bowl. They finished 10-2 in the regular season, won the Pac 12 North and faced Utah in the Pac 12 Championship. The Utes blew out the Ducks in the regular season in Salt Lake City and did the same in the Pac 12 Championship. This caused the incredible Oregon Head Coach Mario Cristobal to leave Oregon for Miami to become the Canes next Head Coach and he, like Riley, flipped a ton of recruits. Oregon hired Georgia Defensive Coordinator Dan Lanning as their next Head Coach and appointed WR Coach Bryan McClendon as the Interim Head Coach for the Alamo Bowl while Lanning was given power.
The Sooners got the ball first and were held to a three and out by the Ducks defense, but the OU defense was as strong as the Ducks defense. In Oklahoma territory, Oregon QB Anthony Brown threw a pass that was picked off by Justin Broiles at the OU 34 and was returned to the OU 46. The Sooners turned the pick into a 9 play, 54 yard TD drive that ended with Kennedy Brooks running for a 16 yard TD. The PAT was missed though, and OU took a 6-0 lead. Oregon responded with a 14 play, 66 yard drive that ended in a 24 yard field goal from Camden Lewis to make the score, 6-3. OU matched Oregon with a 40 yard field goal on their next drive from Gabe Brkic to make the lead 6 again. Oregon was held to a 1 yard 3 and out by the OU defense. OU turned it into a TD when Bob Stoops called on his son, Drake, to make a play for the Sooners and he did. Caleb Williams made a 6 yard TD pass to Drake Stoops to give Drake his 2nd TD of the season and to make the score, 16-3. After an Oregon punt, the Sooners made it a 20 point game on a beautiful 55 yard TD pass from Williams to Marvin Mims. Mims beat coverage well and Williams just dropped it right in front of him to score the TD. Oregon turned it over on downs and Oklahoma turned it into a TD when Kennedy Brooks ran 29 yards for the TD to expand the OU lead to 27. Oregon was held in their next drive and it lead to the end of the half with the score 30-3 OU.
Oregon came out of the tunnel guns blazing with a 9 play, 81 yard drive that ended with Junior RB Travis Dye scoring the first Oregon TD of the day on an 11 yard run to make the game a 19 point difference after Kris Hutson ran in the 2 point conversion. Oklahoma responded with a great drive that ended in a 6 yard TD pass from Williams to Eric Gray to make the lead 37-11, OU. Anthony Brown showed that he could play on the next drive with a beautiful 66 yard TD pass to Dont'e Thornton to make it 37-18, OU. OU responded to that with Kennedy Brooks' 3rd TD of the day which was a 6 yard run to make it 44-18, OU. Anthony Brown and Travis Dye lead the Ducks to another TD with a great drive and on 4th down from the OU 34 yard line, Brown dropped a bomb to Kris Hutson for a TD to make the game 44-25, OU. Oklahoma took 7 minutes off the clock, took the game into the 4th quarter and ended the drive with a 29 yard field goal from Brkic to make it 47-25. Oregon responded with the last score of the game when Anthony Brown dropped another bomb to Troy Franklin for a 30 yard TD to make it 47-32. Both teams were held to 3 and out before OU got the ball and closed the game out, winning the Alamo Bowl and securing a top 15 ranking in the final rankings.
Bob Stoops got his send off and OU can now transfer into the Venables era. Caleb Williams was 21 for 27, threw for 242 yards and 3 TDs. He ran 7 times for 34 yards. On the other side, Anthony Brown was 27 for 40, threw for 306 yards, 3 TDs and 1 pick. He also ran 9 times for 21 yards. Travis Dye lead Oregon in the rush attack, running 18 times for 153 yards and 1 TD, while Kennedy Brooks lead OU in rushing, running 14 times for 142 yards and 3 TDs. Dont'e Thornton, Troy Franklin and Kris Hutson lead the Ducks in receiving with Thornton going for 4 catches, 90 yards and a TD. Franklin also had 4 catches and a TD, but he had 65 yards. Hutson had 6 catches for 55 yards and a TD. Jalil Farooq and Marvin Mims lead the Sooners in receiving with Farooq having 3 catches for 64 yards and Mims going for 2 catches for 57 yards and a TD.
On the defensive side of the ball, OU had 3 sacks while Oregon did not have a sack. OU had 6 tackles for loss while Oregon only had 3. OU also had 5 QB hurries while Oregon had 3. Nate Heaukulani, Noah Sewell, Jordan Happle and TJ Bass lead the Duck defense. Bass had 9 tackles with 5 being solo, and Happe also had 9 tackles but only had 3 solo. Heaukulani had 8 tackles with 5 being solo and also a tackle for loss. Noah Sewell, the brother of Detroit Lions rookie Offensive Lineman Penei Sewell, has been a force to be reckoned with at Linebacker on the Oregon defense had 8 tackles with 2 being solo and also a QB hurry. He's had 53 solo tackles, 4 sacks, 2 forced fumbles and an interception this year. Pat Fields, Woodi Washington and Danny Stutsman lead the electric OU defense. Fields had 9 tackles (6 solo) and 1/2 a tackle for loss. Washington had 7 total tackles with 4 being solo. Stutsman also had 7 tackles, but only 3 were solo.
Kris Hutson had 7 kickoff returns for 151 yards with his longest being 28 yards while Eric Gray had 1 kickoff return for 24 yards. Marvin Mims had 1 punt return for OU for 24 yards. Tom Snee had 3 punts for 144 yards for Oregon with his long being 65 yards while Michael Turk punted twice for OU for 99 yards and a long of 52 yards. OU dominated the game the first half on and won 47-32. Both teams can now transfer into a new era of their programs with new coaches easily and start recruiting for the future.