There were some unusual sights in the Sugar Bowl.
AJ McCarron under pressure.
McCarron looking frazzled.
McCarron throwing the ball to players in the wrong colored jerseys and taking sacks and committing an intentional grounding penalty.
McCarron looked liked the redshirt freshman making his fifth career start, not the two-time national champ.
Oklahoma’s Trevor Knight had little experience before the Sugar Bowl, but he outplayed McCarron on Thursday night.
“He was exceptional tonight,” Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said. “He was outstanding.”
He had thrown for 471 yards all season, but finished with 348 yards and four TD passes in the Sooners’ 45-31 victory over Alabama and its vaunted defense.
Knight looked like the better, more composed QB. Oklahoma looked like the better team.
The Sooners played faster, better prepared, took advantage of Alabama turnovers and then held off the Tide’s attempted second-half rally.
They also rattled McCarron, the top winner at Alabama when it comes to QBs.
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) January 3, 2014
Oklahoma’s final score came in fitting fashion.
LB Eric Striker blew past LT Cyrus Kouandjio for what seemed like the millionth time, grabbed McCarron with one hand and swatted the ball out of his hand with the other. The ball was picked up and returned for the last TDs.
It was Oklahoma’s seventh sack. It was Alabama’s fourth turnover.
McCarron threw for 387 yards, but threw two turnovers and that fumble.
Many thought Alabama was a shoe-in for its fourth national championship in five years, but then Auburn’s Chris Davis shocked the world, as the players like to say, with his miraculous return, sending the Tide to another bowl.
Instead, Alabama finished on a two-game losing streak for the first time since the 2008 season.
Remember that season? Florida knocked off Alabama in the SEC title game and then Utah beat them in the Sugar Bowl.
AJ McCarron 1st Bama senior starting QB to finish career w/consecutive losses since John Parker Wilson in 2008
— Brett McMurphy (@McMurphyESPN) January 3, 2014
That all seemed incredibly unlikely until the last seconds of the Iron Bowl.
McCarron had an incredible career, but Oklahoma put the boom on him Thursday night.
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