MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

OU

January 3, 2014

Sugar Bowl notepad

NEW ORLEANS — Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops turned into a punching bag for SEC loyalists starting last summer when he said he was tired of hearing propaganda about the league.

Stoops initially said he didn’t want to go into it again following Thursday night’s 45-31 victory over Alabama in the Sugar Bowl. But he couldn’t resist.

“I won’t have to dodge any punches, I guess you could say that,” he said. “But I would say, as I started off, I have the utmost respect for Alabama. And I think this shows that obviously we can play with anybody. So enough of that.

“And I just watched them go through their entire conference and play pretty well. And, again, I admire the way they play, I really do, and Coach Saban and the way they do things.  I’m not pointing any fingers, but I think sometimes the comparisons aren’t necessarily very true.”

The Sooners will face another SEC opponent — Tennessee — on Sept. 13 at Owen Field.

Short memory: OU cornerback Zach Sanchez was burned several times on missed tackles on Alabama’s initial drives. However, the redshirt freshman cornerback came up with one of the biggest plays of the game.

His interception of McCarron late in the first half set up Sterling Shepard’s 13-yard touchdown run with 65 seconds left before intermission that gave up a two-touchdown lead.

“There’s another redshirt freshman out there competing,” Stoops said. “You have to have a short memory in the secondary if you’re going to play the whole game. And he had his opportunity. He jumped it and had a great return with it.

“So you play out there long enough over an 80-play game, in the secondary, you’re going to have some plays on you. So you just gotta fight back and make yours on some third down, fourth downs, or come up with a pick here or there and a key deflection, and they did that.”

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