Oklahoma routs Florida, ties record for most points

The Four Percent


Ryan Aber, The Oklahoman
Published 12:10 a.m. ET Dec. 31, 2020 | Updated 12:45 a.m. ET Dec. 31, 2020

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ARLINGTON, Texas — Oklahoma’s offense broke out in a big way and the Sooners defense made it a nightmare day for Kyle Trask in a 55-20 win over Florida in the Cotton Bowl on Wednesday.

It was the OU’s first bowl win since the 2017 Sugar Bowl under coach Bob Stoops.

“What a great night for Oklahoma football,” coach Lincoln Riley said. “We wanted to make a statement with the way we played.”

Here are five takeaways from the Sooners’ win:

Pick party

One of the most impressive things about Florida quarterback Kyle Trask’s season had been his ability to avoid mistakes.

Trask had thrown just five interceptions all season and only once had thrown multiple interceptions in a game.

But OU’s defense picked off Trask on each of the first three drives. 

Tre Norwood started it, returning an interception 45 yards for a touchdown. 

It was the Sooners’ first interception returned for a score since the second game of the 2019 season, a win over South Dakota.

OU hadn’t scored a defensive touchdown in a bowl game since Steven Parker’s fumble recovery return in the fourth quarter of the Rose Bowl against Georgia after the 2017 season and it was the first interception return by a Sooner in a bowl game since Jamell Plemind’s score against UConn in the FIesta Bowl after the 2010 season.

Norwood’s interception was his fifth of the season — all in the last six games. No Sooners player has had more interceptions in a season since Zack Sanchez had seven in 2015.

But the Sooners didn’t end it there.

Linebacker Brian Asamoah picked off Trask on the next drive before Dan Mullen started rotating Trask and Emory Jones at quarterback.

On the third drive, the Gators moved the ball downfield but Woodi Washington picked off Trask in the end zone.

“We capitalized on a couple of mistakes that they made,” Riley said. “A couple of times, we confused their quarterback with coverage, and he let go of a couple of throws that weren’t as decisive as we usually see him make.”

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Oklahoma linebacker Brian Asamoah (24) makes an interception against Florida. (Photo: Kevin Jairaj, USA TODAY Sports)

Run, run, Sooners

Florida’s defense had struggled plenty this season, especially in their last two games.

Then the Gators were without several defensive starters.

But even so, what the Sooners did on the ground was pretty impressive.

Rhamondre Stevenson ran for a career-high 186 yards with a touchdown.

But it wasn’t just Stevenson.

Seth McGowan had a 73-yard run on his only carry and little-used Marcus Major, playing a bigger role with T.J. Pledger having announced his decision to enter the transfer porter, had nine runs for 110 yards. 

The Sooners finished with 435 yards on the ground, more than double the most for OU this season. OU’s previous high this season was 213 on Oct. 31 at Texas Tech.

Defense plays bend but don’t break

The Gators finished with plenty of yards — 521 — but the Sooners made the Gators work for everything they got.

Florida had three drives of 10 plays or more and didn’t have a play longer than 28 yards all night.

Washington’s interception came on the 10th play of the Gators’ third drive.

Early in the fourth quarter, the Sooners’ defense stopped Florida after the Gators had a first-and-goal from the OU 8.

That drive lasted 11 plays before Asamoah stopped Rick Wells at the 3 on fourth down.

Ignite the offense

After the initial outburst of turnovers helped OU jump ahead 17-0, the offense slowed, the Sooners turned the ball over a couple times and Florida got back in the game, cutting the lead to 17-13.

But then the Sooners got a big kickoff return to get them going once again.

With Tre Brown opting out, wide receiver Charleston Rambo took over returning kicks. Brown’s two long kickoffs in the Big 12 Championship Game against Iowa State, the first coming not long before halftime, helped lift the Sooners to victory in that game.

Rambo’s 40-yard return put the Sooners in good position and the offense bounced back with a quick 4-play, 60-yard touchdown drive capped with Spencer Rattler’s 36-yard pass to Theo Wease.

After nearly letting yet another big lead slip away, the Sooners righted the ship and by halftime had actually extended their lead, to 31-13.

Rack up the records

Much will be made about Florida missing their top four receiving targets, and rightfully so.

But the Sooners’ performance all around was still one for the record books.

OU had never scored more than 48 points in a bowl game but set a new school bowl standard with 55 points, and also broke their bowl record for most total yards with 684.

It was the most for the Sooners against an FBS opponent since they had 702 in Bedlam 2018.

OU’s rushing total set a Cotton Bowl record, as did their 10.9 yards per running play and 10.5 average yards per play.

The Sooners tied a Cotton Bowl record for points, initially set by USC in the 1995 game.

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