Before we look ahead to what should be a heavily anticipated 2014 season for Oklahoma, one last reflection at the 2013 Sooners that went 11-2 and won the Allstate Sugar Bowl.
Sooners Illustrated is doing a countdown of the top 20 plays of OU’s season after looking back at the “OU Film Review” series that ran on SoonersIllustrated.com following every game. Here are the top four plays of the season as voted by the SoonersIllustrated.com readers.
Each first place vote was four points, second place was three points, third place was two and fourth place was one.
Play No. 4: Knight connects with Bester for the touchdown
The game: OU 45, Alabama 31
Key players: QB Trevor Knight, WR LaColtan Bester
Vote totals: 150 points.
The first series ended with an interception so there was no way of knowing how the OU coaches were going to approach the second series. They decided to keep their foot on the gas pedal.
Not going conservative, OU took another shot down the field. This time Knight was right on target with LaColtan Bester, who had nothing but green turf ahead of him.
Bester dove for the end zone and scored from 45 yards out to tie the game at 7-7. It was the first of many statements made by the Sooners and Knight throughout the night.
Play No. 3: Striker makes his presence known
The game: OU 35, Notre Dame 21
Key players: LB Eric Striker, LB Corey Nelson
Vote totals: 156 points.
What better play to start with than OU’s first touchdown. Notre Dame faced a third-and-seven on its first drive. Quarterback Tommy Rees was waiting for something to develop when OU sophomore linebacker Eric Striker hit him from behind, jarring the ball loose.
It fell right into the hands of linebacker Corey Nelson, who went 24 yards to give the Sooners a 7-0 lead before everybody even had a chance to settle down.
Striker came off the edge all game long and made a big impact. He didn’t always get to the quarterback, but he gave Rees something to think about.
Nelson finally caught one. Nelson had two chances against Tulsa for an interception but couldn’t hold onto it. This time he had no issues and took it to the house.
Play No. 2: Striker, Grissom seal the deal
The game: OU 45, Alabama 31
Key players: DL Geneo Grissom, LB Eric Striker
Vote totals: 244 points.
It could have been a magical moment for Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron in leading a last-minute drive to tie the game.
Instead it was one final statement by the OU defense, in particular Geneo Grissom and Eric Striker. On the first play, Striker recorded his third sack of the game, forced a fumble and Grissom recovered it and took it for a touchdown.
Striker had three sacks on the night, while Grissom had two and two fumble recoveries. The Sooners were assessed two celebration penalties, but it didn’t matter. It was game, set, match for OU in a remarkable showing against Alabama to prove experts wrong.
Play No. 1: Bell puts his signature on Bedlam
The game: OU 33, Oklahoma State 24
Key players: QB Blake Bell, WR Jalen Saunders
Vote totals: 283 points.
What more needs to be said? Bell found Saunders in the corner of the end zone for a 7-yard game-winning touchdown with 19 seconds left in the game.
“Right coverage,” Bell said. “I was even licking my chops because I was ready for that one. Once we got the play call and Jalen ran a great route on that play. I just put it out there to him and he went and got it.”
OU went 66 yards on eight plays in 1:27 to reclaim the lead.
***Click here for Part I***
***Click here for Part II***
***Click here for Part III***
***Click here for Part IV***