Oklahoma Sooners win Alamo Bowl as interim coach Bob Stoops returns to the sidelines

SAN ANTONIO — Bob Stoops and Oklahoma were winners together again, just like they used to be.

Kennedy Brooks ran for 142 yards and three touchdowns, Caleb Williams advanced for three more scores, and the 14th-ranked Sooners drove a dominant first half to a 47-32 win over No. 15 Oregon in the Alamo Bowl on Wednesday night.

The win marked a short and happy reunion for the coach and the school he led to a National Championship and 10 Big 12 titles from 1999 to 2016. Stoops was called off a golf course to come out of retirement after the abrupt departure to play the bowl game of Lincoln Riley for Southern California.

“I’ve been out, I’ve come back,” Stoops said. “It was fun. Most of all I appreciate the young people, the guys in the program, they hugged me, were all in and worked hard.”

Stoops earned career win No. 191 and raised his bowl record to 10-9. Getting the final win was arguably the easiest part of it all.

Equally important was the task of stabilizing the program as a whole after Riley’s westward flight rocked it. And Stoops had to build a stable bridge into the new era under upcoming coach Brent Venables, his former Oklahoma assistant who has spent the past nine seasons with Clemson.

“They’re getting a man with passion, a man who loves the game,” Stoops said. “A winner.”

And the coach who once earned the moniker Big Game Bob also turned into Big Hug Bob when he got to hug son and Sooners receiver Drake Stoops after a touchdown in the second quarter. Drake continued in Oklahoma in 2018 after Bob retired.

Oklahoma (11-2) raced to a 30-3 lead as Brooks and Williams backed the Oregon defense. Brooks had 127 yards on just 10 carries in the first half, scoring runs of 16 and 29 yards, and another 40-yard run that yielded Williams’ first touchdown pass to Drake Stoops.

Williams’ 55-yard TD pass to Marvin Mims Jr. hit the receiver perfectly in pass behind two Ducks defenders who were two paces late. Brooks then batted in the final score of the half.

The Sooners were so dominant at the time that they looked like some of Stoops’ old teams of bulldozers running backs, defenses and Heisman Trophy-winning quarterbacks.

But Oregon (10-4) didn’t give up and turned it into a game in the second half. The Ducks scored three touchdowns in the third quarter, two after long throws from quarterback Anthony Brown, to come in 44-25 at the start of the fourth. Brown finished with 306 yards passing and Travis Dye rushed for 153 yards and a touchdown for Oregon.

Oregon was led by assistant coach Bryan McClendon, elevated to interim head coach for the bowl game after Mario Cristobal left for Miami. Oregon has hired Georgia defensive coordinator Dan Lanning, who will take over for the Ducks after the College Football Playoff.

“It hurts,” McClendon said. “The way we played in the second half, it’s not a consolation prize.”

The sudden departure of Riley and several players leaving or transferring to the NFL early caused a bit of panic among fans of the program. Venables was at the game and was near the team during bowling practice. He should have a good idea of ​​where the Sooners are headed next season.

Venables’ biggest task is to build a potential future with Williams, who has not said definitively whether he plans to stay with the Sooners next year.

Williams did not fix the problem after the game. He called the past few weeks a “roller coaster” and said he is going on vacation with his family.

“Oklahoma picked the right man to come in here,” Williams said of Venables.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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