The Award-Winning Magazine Offering The Most Complete Coverage of Sooner Sports
More Recent Stories

Hall of Fame Bound

To The Point

Road Warrior

King's Corner

Road Warrior

Shane Beamer Q&A

King's Corner

Josh Norman Q&A

Queen's Corner: Keilani Ricketts

To The Point

King's Corner


Playoff Preview

Charleston Rambo Q&A

Red River Revival

Tyrese Robinson Q&A

King's Corner

Road Warrior

Top Gun

Catching On!

Versatile Playmaker

Hurts So Good

To The Point

To The Point

National Spotlight

Marquise Brown Q&A

Road Warrior

The Greatest Rivalry

Road Warrior

Hard Work

Road Warrior

To The Point

King's Corner

The Draft

To The Point

NFL Bound

Looking Back: Billy Vessels

Road Warrior

King's Corner

NFL Spotlight

Boomer Bio

Lincoln Riley Q&A

Keys To Success

End of an Era

Stepping Down

Dominating Force

2017 Recruiting

OU finished off a memorable 2016 season on high note

Road Warrior

Emmanuel Beal Q&A

Fast & Furious

Road Warrior

OU vs. Texas: By The Numbers

King's Corner

Steven Parker Q&A

Orlando Brown Q&A

Speed Burner

King's Corner

Next Step

Welcome Home

QB Questions?

Common Cause

Right on Target

Flying High at No. 1

Headed North

Playoff Bound

Dominique Alexander Q&A

California Connection

Red River Rejuvenation

To The Point

Ty Darlington Q&A

Aaron Ripkowski Q&A

Sooner Flashback: Jakie Sandefer

Next Generation

Hiring Time

Sooners hire new offensive coordinator

Samaje Perine Q&A

Aaron Ripkowski Q&A

Mike Stoops Q&A

Josh Heupel Q&A

All in the Family

Road Warrior

On Point

King's Corner

Sugar Bowl Review


OU to meet Alabama in Sugar Bowl

Josh Heupel Q&A

Josh Heupel Q&A

Boomer Bio

The Closer

Sooner Success

Mike Stoops Q&A

Bill Bedenbaugh Q&A

Spring Football Review

Spring Football Review

To The Point

Boomer Bio: Julian Wilson

Boomer Bio: Chuka Ndulue

Boomer Bio: Bronson Irwin

Jalen Saunders Q&A

Patience Rewarded

Boomer Bio: Sterling Shepard

Taylor-made for Oklahoma

Tony Jefferson Q&A

Attention Getter

A Change of Plans

A Change of Plans

Proud Heritage

Hot Commodity

Boomer Bio; James Winchester

Boomer Bio; James Winchester

Boomer Bio: Aaron Ripkowski




Strictly Striker

Javon Harris Q&A

Boomer Bio: Austin Haywood

Locked In & Loaded

Ben Habern Q&A

Landry Jones Q&A

The Classics

Top Ten Recruits

Bonus Prospects

Oklahoma Influences

Tight End Tough

Marquis On The Mark

Sooner Stars Set To Return

Jeremy Beal Q&A

Jamell Fleming Q&A

Boomer Bio: Trey Millard

Stacy McGee Q&A

Red River Tradition

Red River Tradition

James Patton Q&A

Boomer Bio: Eric Mensik

Quarterback Race

Quarterback Race

Boomer Bio: Kenny Stills

Boomer Bio: Marshall Musil

Getting His Kicks

Making The Right Moves In Recruiting

Bradford looks sharp in workout

No Doubt About It

Boomer Bio: Willie Martinez

Boomer Bio: Ronnell Lewis

Boomer Bio: Ronnell Lewis

Norman Bound

Showdown In The Sun

Jay Norvell Q&A

Jay Norvell Q&A

Boomer Bio: Dejuan Miller

Adrian Taylor doing just fine

Joseph Ibiloye Q&A

The Real Deal

Road Warrior

Meet Dusty Dvoracek This Saturday!

Casey Walker Q&A

Best of The Red River Rivalry

Bradford To Start Against Baylor

Facebook & Football

Tackling Machine

Keith Jackson Appearing this Friday in Norman

Josh Heupel Q&A

Boomer Bio: Stephen Good

Top Targets

Brent Venables Q&A

Boomer Bio: Cory Brandon

Tisdale and Griffin

Wayman Tisdale Dies

Sam Bradford Q&A

Auston English Q&A

Blake Griffin earns Naismith Award

Ryan Reynolds Q&A

The Wait Is Over

Outlook for 2009

Outlook for 2009

Staying Put

Bradford, Gresham, Williams Coming Back

Make Room For Sam

Lendy Holmes Q&A

Bradford Wins Heisman

Heisman Material

Boomer Bio: Frank Alexander

Sooners Headed To KC For Big 12 Title Game

Sudden Impact

Sudden Impact

Gerald McCoy Q&A

Gerald McCoy Q&A

Offensive linemen Roundtable

Boomer Bio: Mossis Madu

Boomer Bio: Mossis Madu

Travis Lewis Q&A

Travis Lewis Q&A

Auston English Q&A

Jackie Shipp Q&A

Bob Stoops Q&A

Boomer Bio

They’ve Got It Covered

Bradford Talks About Sooner Experience

Big Dreams

Plenty Of Things To Chew on this Offseason

Marcus Walker Q&A

Looking Ahead

Greater Expectations

Manny Being Manny

The Big Easy

Super Sidekick

English Lesson

Revved Up & Remodeled

Firmly Committed

A Cut Above

The Definition of Rivalry

On The Rise

Irresistible Force


Bradford Named Starting QB

Venables Verbatim

Sooner Spectator & Teaming Up

Final Chapter

Catching Up With Sumlin

Welcome Back Little Joe

Wilson’s Defensive Wisdom

Reggie Smith Q&A

Malcolm Over The Middle

Fantastic Five

Thompson & Alexander To Sign Autographs



OU’s Greatest

Boomer Bio: Brody Eldridge

Boomer Bio: Fred Strong

Dual Threat: Stephen Garcia

Thirty Reasons Why OU will beat Texas

Double Duty

Kody Cooke: A Conversation

Boomer Bio: Lendy Holmes

Welcome Back

Quick Five With Nic Harris

Road Warrior

The Opposition

Defensive Backing

Recruiting: Crimson Bloodline

Wilson Weighs In

Replacing Runnels?

Defensive Outlook

Top Shelf: Austin Box

Rufus Revelations

Reaction to Capel Hiring

A.D. Unscripted

OU will miss Sampson

OU Scrimmage Report

Joey Halzle Q&A

Gray, OU prep for The Dance

Moore is Better

Sooners eye stretch run

Haskell remains a lost treasure

Boomer Bio: Patty Gasso

Sherri Coale Conversation

Taylor Made

Future Considerations

McCoy becomes a Sooner

Michael Neal Q&A

Recruiting: Dominique Franks Q&A

Strong Willed

Football Recruiting Notes

Remembering Billy Ball

Enough Gloom & Doom

Back In Business

Endowed Scholarships Announced

USC or Texas: The Lesser of Two Evils?

Stoops is not leaving OU

Sooners down Ducks in Holiday Bowl

Biding His Time

Kelvin Sampson Q&A

Next Stop Division I

Boomer Bio: Allen Patrick

Chris Messner Q&A

Bob Stoops' take on Bedlam Victory

Terrance Anderson's Journey

OU vs. Tech: The Answers

OU vs. Tech Matchups

Road Warrior

Stoops talks about OU's 36-30 win

OU vs. A&M matchups

OU Coaches’ Roundtable

Recruiting: Derek Burton

Boomer Bio: Juaquin Iglesias

Carl Pendleton Q&A

Sooners topple Huskers in Lincoln

OU-Nebraska Matchups

Recruiting: Ugo Chinasa

Sooners top Baylor

OU vs. Baylor Matchups

Recruiting: Offensive Line

Recruiting: Adron Tennell

Sooners top Jayhawks

OU vs. Kansas Matchups

Boomer Bio

A Pleasant Conversation

Texas tops Oklahoma

Red River Rivarly Matchups

Dusty Dvoracek: In The Trenches

Sooners Roll Past K-State

OU vs. K-State Matchups

Recruiting: Replenishing The Backfield

Boomer Bio

Sooners give one away

Recruiting Demarco Murray

C.J. Ah You Q&A

The Answers: OU vs. Tulsa

Not Pretty, But Sooners Win

Spectator Sneak Preview

Bob Stoops' take on TCU loss

Texas Christian Sacks Sooners

Moses leads Sooner tight ends

Rufus Alexander Q&A

Thompson gets nod at QB

Birdine Lost For Season

Sampson to Visit Kuwait for Hoops with Troops

Walk-on making noise at WR

Travis Wilson Q&A

Clint Ingram Q&A

Sooners open fall practice

Brent Venables Q&A

Sooner single-game tickets go on sale Monday

Questions about Sooners' aura not surprising

Joseph talks about summer workouts

OU at Big 12 Media Days

Kim Named to U.S. Walker Cup Team

Sooners name Golloway

Stephenson decides to stay at Wichita State

Stephenson takes OU head baseball job

Soon to be Sooners

New Sooner Nic Harris excited about new digs

2005 Season Preview Issue Available Now!!

Letter from the Editor

Q and A

Ever Elusive

Sooner Selections

Ole Miss powers past Sooners

OU's Weekly Sports Report

OU inks JUCO point guard

OU's Kim wins Big 12 Golf Title

White and Vermeil talk about first day of rookie camp

White gets a chance with Kansas City

Red Rallies to Down White

Big crowd expected

Prelude To Greatness?

Breaking Down The Offense

Spring football eases pain

On Sale Now At Newsstands!
Showdown In The Sun
Sooners set to meet Stanford in New Year’s Eve battle at El Paso

Maybe this is the year.

Oklahoma hasn’t won a Bowl Championship Series game since 2002. The Sooners’ only bowl victory of any kind during the last seven years came in 2005 at the Holiday Bowl.

So maybe playing in the Sun Bowl on Dec. 31 is just what OU needs to cure its bowl ills.

“We’ve been kind of struggling here at bowl victories lately, the past couple years,” said running back DeMarco Murray. “So just getting that bowl victory is gonna be big for us, key for us next year for all the young guys that are gonna be here and the rankings and stuff like that.”

Only one problem: Stanford.

The Cardinal (8-4) was good enough to make a late run at the Pac-10 Conference title (they tied for second) and have arguably college football’s best running back in Heisman Trophy finalist Toby Gerhart. Stanford is making its first bowl appearance in eight years — predating even OU’s BCS drought —- and will be hungry for postseason glory.

“We’re tickled to play a team with such great tradition as Oklahoma,” said Cardinal coach Jim Harbaugh.

Indeed, this could become one of those bowl moments where a program from outside the college football elite finds an opportunity to strike down one of the game’s powerbrokers. Emotions could be running high for the Cardinal.

“I look to it as a major challenge,” said OU coach Bob Stoops.

Bowl droughts don’t concern this 7-5 Oklahoma team as much as adding another victory to a season gone awry and getting the offseason started with a positive push.

“We just want to go down there and get a win and be able to play the best we can,” said redshirt-freshman quarterback Landry Jones. “We want to go down there and get a good solid win against a good solid opponent.”

Under Harbaugh— the former Michigan quarterback who played in the NFL for the Chicago Bears, Indianapolis Colts and San Diego Chargers — Stanford has gained renown for its offense.

Gerhart, a senior, leads the nation in total rushes (311), rushing yards (1,736) and touchdowns (26), and the Cardinal ranks 11th nationally as a team by rushing for 224.3 yards per game.

Therein lies the game’s best matchup. OU’s defense ranks seventh nationally against the run, allowing only 88.6 yards per game.

“Just incredibly impressed with Toby,” said Stoops. “His toughness, everything about him — his power, his patience to see the holes.”

Said Harbaugh, “Toby really epitomizes everything that the Heisman Trophy stands for. He put our team on his back this year. Toby is a shining star for our football team.”

Of course, Stanford’s rushing success is not Gerhart’s alone. The Cardinal has one of the nation’s best offensive lines, starting with senior right tackle Chris Marinelli (first-team All-Pac-10, 38 career starts) and junior center Chase Beeler (second-team All-Pac-10, 19 starts).

Beeler, OU fans will recall, was a Sooner in 2006 after an All-State career at Jenks, Okla. Beeler played in seven games (with one start) as a true freshman before deciding to pursue other academic interests in Palo Alto.

“I’m sure he’s doing great out there. I’m sure he’s doing well because his team’s doing well,” Stoops said. “I’m happy for Chase. I’m sure it’s been a very rewarding experience for him.”

According to Harbaugh, Beeler has found memories of his short time at OU.

“He has nothing but good things to say about Oklahoma and the coaches and the Sooner program. We’re just glad he decided to transfer to Stanford. He’s been a good player for us,” added the Cardinal coach.

Left guard Andrew Phillips has 23 career starts, and the other two spots have been ably manned by redshirt freshmen. David DeCastro has started every game this year at right guard, and left tackle David Martin has 10 starts. In addition to Stanford’s rushing success, the O-line has allowed just six sacks this season, second-best in the nation.

Keeping pass rushers on their heels — keyed as much by Gerhart casting fear in defenses — has allowed redshirt freshman quarterback Andrew Luck to blossom. Luck was a high school All-American in Houston and some NFL Draft analysts have suggested the son of former Houston Oilers quarterback Oliver Luck is the best pro prospect in the college game today.

In his first season as the starter, Luck ranks 26th nationally in passer efficiency, completing 56 percent of his passes with 13 touchdowns and four interceptions. He averaged 214.6 yards per game through the air.

Unfortunately for Luck, he might not play. He broke the index finger on his throwing hand in the fourth quarter of the Cardinal’s season-ending victory over Notre Dame and had surgery on Dec. 1. He hasn’t been ruled out of the Sun Bowl, but Harbaugh said he expected backup Tavita Pritchard to start.

That’s not as bad for Stanford as it sounds.

Pritchard, who threw just three passes this season, is a senior who made 19 career starts before Luck won the job last spring. Pritchard has thrown more interceptions (22) than touchdowns (15) in his career, but he was the guy who engineered Stanford’s monumental upset of No. 2-ranked USC, a 41-point favorite, in 2007. Just that week, Pritchard stepped into the starting lineup for T.J. Ostrander, who had suffered a seizure. Pritchard threw the fourth-and-goal pass in the final minute to beat the Trojans 24-23.

“Tavita has the complete respect and admiration of this team,” offered Harbaugh. “I think they’ll rally around him like they always have.”

Pritchard — or Luck — will have plenty of options. Senior tight end Jim Dray (10 catches, 132 yards, 3 TDs) was second-team All-Pac-10. Junior wide receiver Ryan Whalen led the Cardinal with 54 catches for 861 yards and scored four touchdowns. Sophomore Chris Owuso (36 catches, 665 yards, 5 TDs) is Stanford’s big-play threat.

Owusu contributed just as much on special teams, where he was named honorable mention All-Pac-10 while racking up 1,106 yards and three touchdowns (and a 32.6-yard average) on kickoff returns. Senior punt returner Richard Sherman also had a TD runback while averaging 10.4 yards.

If Oklahoma can straighten out its offensive inconsistencies away from home, the Sooners might find success against Stanford’s defense.

“I know their offense can score a lot of , but I don’t know too much about their defense,” said OU senior left guard Brian Simmons. “Our coaches have said their linebackers are very impressive, along with their defensive front.”

The Cardinal ranks 85th nationally in total defense, allowing 396.5 yards per game, and 65th in scoring defense, allowing 26.2 points per game. While Stanford stands 61st nationally against the run, it’s only 105th against the pass, an average of 252 yards per game. Only 16 teams have allowed a higher percentage of pass completions than Stanford’s 63.4, and only 11 teams collected fewer interceptions than Stanford’s seven.

Still, the Cardinal has talent on defense. Though no Stanford defenders made first- or second-team All-Pac-10, junior defensive tackle Sione Fua, strong safety Delano Howell, defensive end Thomas Keiser and middle linebacker Clinton Snyder gained honorable mention accolades.

Howell leads the team with 76 tackles, and Keiser has a team-best 14.5 tackles for loss, including nine quarterback sacks.

“It’s a pretty good matchup,” added Murray. “Stanford’s a pretty good team. Their defense is real good. So is their offense. So I think it’s gonna be a pretty good game.”

From a historical standpoint, the Sooners will be making their third Sun Bowl appearance, having won each of its previous two (40-14 over Houston in 1981 and 41010 over Texas Tech in 1993).

OU has faced off with Stanford on four other occasions — all of which unfolded between 1978 and 1984 — with the Sooners winning three times.
Meeting No. 5 should have plenty of twists and turns this New Year’s Eve.

(Editor's Note: This story appears in the 2009 Bowl Preview Issue of Sooner Spectatator, now available. To subscribe or to get more information, go to our on-line store at ...