Why did Oklahoma beat Alabama? Sure the simple reason is that the Sooners scored more points. That's a given so let's get that one out of the way. But, there are several reasons why Oklahoma was able to stop the Alabama Crimson Tide football team. In case you missed the action - No. 11 Oklahoma took down the third-ranked Crimson Tide 45-31 on Thursday night. Here are three reasons why Oklahoma beat Alabama.
Turnovers & Protection
Let's face it, you can't turn the ball over to a team like Oklahoma more than twice and expect to notch a victory. AJ McCarron could have also used a little bit more pass protection. I'm sure that was discussed in the huddle and on the sidelines but the 'Bama QB took the heat for his team. AJ McCarron said it best when commenting on the Alabama lose after the game.
"Put it all on me. I had two turnovers, (Oklahoma) ended up scoring 14 points, and we lost by 14,'' said McCarron, who won 36 of his first 38 games before losing his last two. ''It's football. It happens. I wish it wouldn't have happened, but I'll definitely take the loss and definitely take the blame, because a lot of it is probably my fault.''
Give it up for the Oklahoma squad on being able to grab some takeaways and turn them into points. That's not luck, that's practice.
Knight explodes for the Sooners
Heading into the game no one seemed really sure who the starting QB would be for Oklahoma. Bob Stoops trotted out freshman Trevor Knight. It was a great decision. Knight completed a Sugar Bowl-record 32 passes for 348 yards and four touchdowns. His play seemed to completely throw off the Alabama defense at times.
''It's huge for our program, to get a win like this after no one gave us a chance all year,'' Knight said. ''We've got to ride this into next year. We can't settle with this. ... We want the big one.''
Was it just me or did it seem like Alabama expected to win even if they were out played?
Ok, this one is a bit strange. I have to admit it but I think after years of being a Atlanta Braves fan I can pin-point something that I've named the "Bravo Post Season Flu." This is when the TV shows the sidelines of the team playing the Braves (name any team playing the Braves in the post season) and that team is high-fiving, excited looking, pumped up and ready to go. Then, the TV shows the Braves dugout and everyone is sitting on their hands looking as if they are mad that they have to play a team so beneath them. The Braves always look like they expect to win, or expect some sort of miracle simply because they are the "Braves."
At times I picked up on that feeling from the Alabama team, and fans, during the game. Sure, there were plenty of images of the 'Bama players getting excited after a big run, and boy did the Alabama backs look impressive - that's a story for next season, or when the defense made a series of impressive stops. The problem was after those big plays Oklahoma did not fold up and crawl into a corner... they fought back. Oklahoma came out ready to deliver a knockout punch from the opening bell. Alabama seemed to be waiting on that "big play" or dominating series when they finally wore down Oklahoma. Well sports fans... Alabama never wore down Oklahoma - in fact it was the other way around.
So what's the real reason? Ask Nick Saban.
Does that mean that Alabama players were depressed by their lose to Auburn in the Iron Bowl and that they didn't play in the SEC Championship game? According to Nick Saban the answer lies in the fundamentals of football.
''I actually thought that the players responded in practice pretty well for this game,'' Saban said. ''We put over 500 yards of offense up. Somebody had to do something right. I don't think that we played as well on defense as we're capable of or should have.''
Wait! That's what I said to start out with as a joke. I think that statement answers the question. Oklahoma beat Alabama because of the funny statement I made at the beginning of the article. They scored more points. Chalk one up to a classic match-up of two storied football teams. One team just scored more points! It was a great game to watch. Just ask Bob Stoops on how he thought his team matched up against the National Powerhouse of Alabama.
''I have the utmost respect for Alabama, and I think this (the win) shows that obviously we can play with anybody,'' Stoops said.