2011 Fiesta Bowl Champions: The Oklahoma Sooners
Well, it wasn't the most dominating performance in the history of college football, and it didn't go exactly according to the script, but the end result was as expected in the Fiesta Bowl.
Oklahoma rode a fantastic offensive performance as well as key defensive stops to a 48-20 victory over the Connecticut Huskies.
The win ended a five-game losing streak in BCS bowl games for the Sooners and sent the Huskies back to Connecticut disappointed after the first BCS bowl appearance in school history.
The game was closer than the final 28-point margin of victory indicates, although not by much.
Anyone who thought that UConn wasn't going to put up a fight isn't a very smart person. Give any decent team a month to prepare and the motivation of playing a big name school in their first BCS game in school history, and something happens.
What happens is the underdog believes they can win, and the Huskies played the entire game with that mindset. Kudos to them for not coming to enjoy the fun events. They came to win.
Unfortunately, they ran into Oklahoma, a team that ends the year as one of the hottest teams in college football. The Sooners came into the game having won four straight, including three in a row away from the friendly green grass of Owen Field.
Plain and simple, Oklahoma was the better team in every aspect of the game. UConn had the better running back in Jordan Todman, but the Sooners defense effectively neutralized him and never allowed him or the UConn offense to get in a rhythm.
When it seemed the Huskies were beginning to start someting, OU clamped down and made some big defensive stops when it needed to and held the Huskies offense to two field goals.
The stat line that shows the Oklahoma defense outscored the Connecticut offense is the most telling of the game.
Ok, I lied. The final score was pretty indicative of the game.
For the Sooners, the Big Three had a great finale with senior DeMarco Murray running for 93 yards and a touchdown, Ryan Broyles hauling in 13 catches for 170 yards and a score and quarterback Landry Jones throwing for 433 yards and three touchdowns.
Senior receiver Cameron Kenney finished his OU career with another phenomenal game to end a three-game stretch in which he caught 19 passes for 360 yards and three scores. Kenney had seven catches for 154 yards and a 59-yard touchdown that helped Oklahoma break the game open in the second half.
Sure, the Sooners beat a UConn team that only got to this game because of the horrific system that is currently in place (Note: shot against the BCS, NOT UConn) to end their losing streak, but it's a mental thing.
This losing streak in BCS games had become a very sore subject for everyone involved in the football program, from coaches and players all the way down to the fans. This win ends that for all of them.
Sure, it would have been nice to be a higher ranked opponent, but again, the system assured that it wouldn't happen that way.
In the end though, the Sooners closed a successful 2010 campaign and opened 2011 with a solid win in a BCS bowl game.
You really can't ask for much more than that.