3 Sooner Takeaways: OU Clamps Down On Florida’s Heisman Trophy Finalist To Win Cotton Bowl Classic


Wednesday, December 30th 2020, 10:43 pm
By: Nate Kotisso


OKLAHOMA CITY -

The Oklahoma Sooners defense continued its stellar play against one of the top quarterbacks in college football.

Florida quarterback Kyle Trask threw three interceptions in the first quarter. I could explain just how the Sooners capitalized off those turnovers, but I’d rather let these photos of Florida football fans tell you instead.

The mood after the first pick:



The mood after the second pick:



The mood after the third pick:



Florida fans sure seem like a relaxed bunch.

Oklahoma ran the Gators off the field in a convincing 55-20 victory at the 2020 Cotton Bowl Classic on Wednesday night.


First Takeaway: From Underdogs To Favorites

A week ago, the line for this year’s Cotton Bowl Classic pegged Florida as 3-point favorites over Oklahoma. As a series of opt outs on the Florida side flooded in, the line moved in favor of the Sooners by 8.5 points.

While that’s all well and good, a Vegas line means nothing in the trenches. Oklahoma would still have to run out on the field and take care of business.

The offense went through a few hiccups after going up 17-0, but it ended the first half thanks to OU’s own budding quarterback.

Trask is a finalist for this year’s Heisman Trophy, but Oklahoma quarterback Spencer Rattler was the only guy on the field who looked like a Heisman Trophy finalist.

Rattler completed 14 of 23 passes for 247 yards and three touchdowns. He also added a 1-yard score on the ground just before halftime.

It seems like ages ago when Rattler tried to force passes in tight spots resulting in turnovers. The new Spencer Rattler now knows when to extend a play with his legs, knows when to give up on a play when the pocket collapses and knows where to place the ball for his receivers to make a play.

Rattler’s development throughout the season has resulted in notable stats like the one below.




His future has never been brighter.


Second Takeaway: The Option

If we’re being honest, tonight’s bowl game was meaningless. All it does it allow the winning team to end the season on a high note.

Unlike the ol’ pre-BCS and College Football Playoff days, winning doesn’t get Oklahoma nor Florida any closer to winning a national championship this season.

With the goal of winning it all no longer possible, several key Florida receivers and defenders, including its top four receivers (Kadarius Toney, Kyle Pitts, Trevon Grimes and Jacob Copeland) and top tackler (linebacker Ventrell Miller), decided to sit out the Cotton Bowl Classic and prepare for the NFL. Senior cornerback Tre Brown did the same on the OU side.

The idea of players opting out of bowl games to get ready for the NFL Draft rankles some, but an important question must be asked: If these players were on teams competing in the College Football Playoff, would they also skip that/those playoff game(s) to prep for the pros? Probably not.

Even if they would, why not? After countless days, weeks, months and years of dedicated service to their coaches, institution and fans, it would be silly to call into question a player’s character, integrity or commitment to their teams simply because they didn’t see a need to play a pointless exhibition in, say, Shreveport, Boise or Arlington, Texas.

Players have always had the power to carve a path for their futures. Now, more of them are choosing to wield that power sooner rather than later.

Isn’t that what adults are supposed to do anyway?

                                                                                       

Third Takeaway: What’s Next For OU

Wednesday night’s game may as well have been played in September because it’s time to look ahead to the 2021 season.

It’s somewhat safe to assume guys like Rattler, wide receiver Marvin Mims and tight end Austin Stogner will suit up for OU next year, but there are several players who may be on the fence. Among them are stalwart defensive linemen Ronnie Perkins and Perrion Winfrey.

Oklahoma Ford Sports Blitz analyst Dusty Dvoracek, who also provided TV commentary for the Cotton Bowl Classic on Wednesday, offered some insight on who may plan on another year in Norman.

Related: How Good Can OU Be In 2021?

OU’s ability to break into the playoff picture next year will likely hinge on a strong defense from start to finish. The secondary will already be without the steady presence of cornerback Tre Brown, so players like Woodi Washington and Jaden Davis will have to grow up in a hurry.

If defensive pieces like Perkins, Winfrey, Nik Bonitto or any of these two choose to return next season, look out.