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The Road Warrior Report - Cotton Bowl Review - December 31, 2020

The Road Warrior Report - Cotton Bowl Review - December 31, 2020

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ARLINGTON, TEXAS – Oklahoma ran for 435 yards, broke the Cotton Bowl record for total offensive yards, tied the game record for points scored, and registered three interceptions in the first quarter en route to a 55-20 blowout of the Florida Gators at AT&T Stadium Wednesday night. The win closed out the Sooners’ pandemic season at 9-2, along with their sixth straight Big 12 title and a certain top-five national finish after the bowls.

Spencer Rattler was solid and efficient, completing 14 of 23 passes for 247 yards and three TDS. Seth McGowan led the Sooner receivers with 70 yards on three catches. Charleston Rambo had two for 45 and a score. Drake Stoops had two for 21, Trejan Bridges had two for 19, Theo Wease had one for 36 and a score, and Marvin Mims had one for 27 and a TD. Austin Stogner and Jeremiah Hall each had one for 12.

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Rhamondre Stevenson led all rushers with 186 yards and a score on 18 carries. Marcus Major added 110 yards and a TD on only nine carries. McGowan had only one carry, but it went for 73 yards. Rattler added 40 yards on seven carries.

The Sooners took the opening kickoff after winning the toss. Stevenson ran for five yards, then Rattler hit Rambo for 25 and a first down at the Gator 49. Stevenson carried again for 16 and six before Rattler lifted a ball to Mims for 27 yards and the TD. The Sooners led 7-0 with 12:59 to play in the first quarter.

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The lead would quickly double. On Florida’s second offensive snap, Heisman finalist QB Kyle Trask telegraphed an out route that Tre Norwood jumped and picked off at the Florida 45. He easily took it to the house from there, and the Sooners led 14-0 with 12:22 to play in the first quarter.

The Gators moved to the OU 32 on their next possession, but Brian Asamoah picked off a tipped Trask pass at the Sooner 16 and returned it out to the 45. Thirty yards worth of Stevenson runs left the Sooners with second and two at the Florida 25, but two incomplete passes stalled the drive there. Gabe Brkic came on for a 43-yard field goal, and it was 17-0 Sooners with 8:08 to play in the first quarter.

Florida again moved into OU territory on the ensuing possession, this time all the way to the 10-yard line. From there, Trask was picked off for the third time in the first quarter, as Woodi Washington grabbed an underthrown ball in the end zone to keep the Gators off the board.

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Two plays later, however, a Rattler fumble on a hit from behind gave Florida the ball at the Sooner 36. The Sooner defense held at the three-yard line, and the Florida field goal made it 17-3 with 31 seconds to play in the first quarter.

After a Sooner punt, Florida used their backup/wildcat QB to engineer a 16-play, 88-yard TD drive that made it 17-10 with 8:08 to play in the second quarter. A Stevenson fumble two plays later led to a Gator field goal, and all of a sudden it was 17-13 and things were looking a lot tighter.

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But the Sooner offense quickly resumed control. On the ensuing possession, Rattler hit McGowan for 18 yards, then Stoops for nine. Stoops fumbled on the play but was able to jump on the ball himself. On the following play, Rattler found Wease crossing the field (and behind the line of scrimmage) and Wease weaved through the Florida defense for 36 yards and a TD. The Sooner lead increased to 24-13 with 4:08 to go in the second quarter.

Florida was short on a 58-yard field goal attempt on the ensuing possession, and the Sooners took over at their own 40. A Rattler pass to Bridges for 20 yards and Stevenson runs of four and 11, followed by a 10-yard scramble from Rattler gave OU a first down at the Gator 21. Rattler then hit Stogner for 12 yards to the nine. Stevenson ran for eight, then Rattler kept it for the final yard and OU led 31-13 with 16 seconds to play in the second quarter. Florida kneeled out the clock, and that was the halftime score.

After two Florida punts sandwiched around an OU punt to start the second half, the Sooners extended their lead again. A 73-yard McGowan run moved the ball deep into Florida territory at the 11. The drive stalled at the three, and Brkic’s short field goal made it 34-13 with 7:51 to play in the third quarter.

The Gators picked up one first down on the ensuing possession, but had to punt. The Sooners took over on their 13 after a Mims fair catch. Stevenson started off the drive with a 50-yard run to the Florida 37. Stevenson then ran for three, Rattler for six, and Major for eight to make it second and two at the Gator 15. Stevenson took it in from there on the next play, breaking five Gator tackles in the process. The Sooners led 41-13 with 3:58 to play in the third quarter, and it was all over but the shouting.

The Gators moved to the OU three-yard line on the ensuing possession, but a fourth and goal try from there was snuffed out and the Sooner defense held. A 47-yard screen pass to McGowan sparked the ensuing Sooner possession, and a 25-yard Rattler run made it first down at the Florida 13. A holding penalty wiped out a TD run from there, but Rattler hit Rambo for 20 yards and the TD on the next play, and it was 48–13 with 10:30 to play in the game.

The Sooners would add a 46-yard TD run by Major to make it 55-13. Florida picked up their second TD of the game with 3:18 to play to forge the final score of 55-20.

After the game, Florida head coach Dan Mullen let loose with a string of pathetic excuses which are unworthy of repeating here. While it is true that Florida had several important offensive players opt out of the Cotton Bowl, that did not have anything to do with Trask’s three picks or the Sooners’ dismantling of the Florida defense. As usual, it just means more in the SEC only when they decide it does.

Next up for the Sooners – the Tulane Green Wave at Yulman Stadium in New Orleans on September 4. See you in the Big Easy. Hopefully by then things will be something closer to normal after this strangest of seasons.

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