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Sam Bradford, Oklahoma Sooners run out of firepower against Florida Gators in BCS title game

UF linebacker Brandon Hicks sacks Oklahoma sophomore QB Sam Bradford in the first quarter.

BRIAN CASSELLA | Times

UF linebacker Brandon Hicks sacks Oklahoma sophomore QB Sam Bradford in the first quarter.

MIAMI — As he watched his last pass get knocked harmlessly to the ground, Oklahoma's Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback, Sam Bradford, looked more stunned than saddened.

He was both.

Bradford and the rest of the Sooners' offensive players had been amassing points as if they were playing a video game … right up until they had to deal with Florida in the Bowl Championship Series finale and fell short 24-14.

That was the fewest points by the Sooners since a 28-10 loss to Texas in 2006. And consider: They entered Thursday night's showdown as the highest-scoring team in the modern era of major-college football (702 points). Even more remarkably, they were riding an unprecedented streak of five straight games with 60 or more points.

"Obviously, they're a great defense," said Bradford, who completed 26-of-41 passes for 256 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. "I don't know if there was any one thing they did."

It wasn't just OU's small number on the scoreboard, but its large number of missed opportunities.

• With the score tied at 7 in the second quarter, the Sooners got the ball on Tim Tebow's second interception and reached the 1-yard line, but were stopped on third- and fourth-down runs by former Armwood star defensive tackle Torrey Davis.

• The Sooners had first and goal at the 6-yard line 10 seconds before halftime only to be shut out again when safety Major Wright intercepted a ball that had been tipped by three different players at the 3.

Entering the game, Oklahoma had scored on 76 of 80 red-zone trips with, remarkably enough, 69 touchdowns. It was 1-for-3 in such situations in the half.

"We had some opportunities to really make a difference in the first half and came up short," said coach Bob Stoops, whose team has lost five straight BCS games, including three national title shots.

• In the waning moments of the third quarter, OU was stopped again on third and 1 from the 28 and the Gators blocked a 49-yard field goal to deny OU again and maintain a 14-7 lead.

• Then Bradford threw his second interception of the game on second and 7 from midfield with 9:59 left. He had thrown just six interceptions all season and one in his previous seven games combined.

"In the second half when we needed to make plays," Bradford said, "we just couldn't do it."

Sam Bradford, Oklahoma Sooners run out of firepower against Florida Gators in BCS title game 01/09/09 [Last modified: Sunday, January 11, 2009 7:09pm]
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