At halftime of the 2011 Fiesta Bowl, the Oklahoma Sooners' 10-point lead over the Connecticut Huskies felt like it should have been closer to 30. Yet, when all was said and done, the Crimson and Crimson's 48-20 win almost felt like it should have been closer to a 10-point game.
Such was the bizarre nature of the Sooners' first BCS win in its last six tries. (Bob Stoops' postgame hairsplitting aside.)
UConn gave a game effort, capitalizing on the Sooners' occasional sloppiness. It got scores off of special teams and defense, which was a must if UConn was to have any hope of pulling off the shocker. And while it didn't quite pan out, coach Randy Edsall's frisky, but obviously outclassed, Huskies put together an offensive game plan that used misdirection, play-action passing and other strategies to force OU's defenders to read and react, a ploy that has worked well for upset-minded opponents this season.
For its part, OU did what it has done since the first game of the year. The Sooners raced out to a double-digit lead and started to coast in the second quarter, allowing an overmatched foe to hang around longer than it should have.
There were no true kill shots. Instead, it was like watching the class bully pin down a flailing weakling. Eventually, the nerd just gives out.
And if that sounds pretty unentertaining, well, you're right.
It was boring and definitely not the flawless, "OU is back!" kind of performance that Sooner Nation wanted to see. Still, OU's C+ game was way more than enough to produce a comfortable win.
The Fiesta Bowl certainly proved OU isn't an elite team right now. On the other hand, the victory could springboard the Sooners into that highest echelon in 2011 with a head full of steam.
Equally important, decorated senior stalwarts like running back DeMarco Murray and safety Quinton Carter can now leave Norman with the satisfaction of ending eight years of BCS futility at OU; to go along with three Big 12 titles in the last four seasons, of course.
Sounds like a good ending to me.