Hello once again, ladies and gentlemen! We’re back at it with another installment of our 2019 Countdown to Kickoff! Don’t look now, but there are only 45 days remaining until the Oklahoma Sooners start the college football season. For today’s edition, I’m revisiting OU’s 2014 Sugar Bowl win over Alabama, which saw the Crimson & Cream score a Nick Saban era-high 45 points against the Tide.
In the final season of the BCS in college football, storied programs Oklahoma and Alabama were pitted against each other in an apparent mismatch on paper. Fortunately, this amazing game is played on turf, and what transpired on that cool January evening in New Orleans will be remembered by Sooners’ fans for years.
After the Crimson Tide went down the field and scored a touchdown on the opening possession of the game, it looked like it could be a long night for Oklahoma. Thankfully Bob Stoops and QB Trevor Knight had other plans, as OU answered every blow with one of their own.
The Sooners not only answered the Tide, they strung together their own run in the first half. Knight found receivers Lacoltan Bester and Jalen Saunders for a trio of scores, while Sterling Shepard and Michael Hunnicutt also contributed to OU’s 31-17 halftime lead.
Of course, a Saban coached team is never out of the game until the clock strikes zero, and sure enough Alabama fought back to keep it within a single score late into the night. What happened next? Just a dash of Sooner Magic.
Oklahoma’s Eric Striker and Geneo Grissom teamed up on an AJ McCarron sack-fumble-scoop-and-score to seal the deal for the Sooners, and one of the greatest moments in recent OU history was realized.
Now let’s cover any days we missed since our last countdown post:
46 and 47 Days! - No. 46 punter Reeves Mundschau and No. 47 kicker Gabe Brkic
After four productive seasons with Austin Seibert playing the role of Oklahoma’s placekicker, punter and kickoff man, the FBS career scoring leader is now in the NFL with the Cleveland Browns. Expected to step up in his place are redshirt sophomore punter Reeves Mundschau and redshirt freshman kicker Gabe Brkic.
While Mundschau, a New Braunfels, TX native, did not log any snaps during the 2018 season, Brkic was actually a beneficiary of the new redshirt rule that allows players to make up to four separate game appearances without having to lose that year of eligibility. In the season opener versus FAU, the Chardon, Ohio product kicked an extra-point in the second half and also recorded three touchbacks on four kickoffs.
Recently, Lincoln Riley spoke at Big 12 Media Days about the new names to watch for at the special teams positions, and it appears both Mundschau and Brkic have both made strides this offseason to become OU’s next starting punter and kicker, respectively.
48 Days! - The highest scoring team (48.4 ppg) in the FBS over the last five seasons.
In 2018, the highest scoring team in the FBS was none other than Oklahoma, who averaged 48.4. points per game. That included eclipsing the 50-point threshold seven times. More over, the 48.4 benchmark not only led the FBS last season, it would have actually led the nation in each of the past five seasons. Not bad.
Since Lincoln Riley arrived as the Sooners’ offensive coordinator in 2015, OU has averaged 43.5, 43.9, 45.1, and 48.4 points per game, showing consistent and gradual growth as different impact players come and go.
It’ll be a steep challenge to top last year’s scoring output now that Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray is with the Arizona Cardinals, but it’s probably safe to say this team will still rank among the nation’s best when it comes to putting points on the board.
49 Days! - Charleston Rambo emerges
Going into the Orange Bowl CFP semifinal bout versus Alabama, this redshirt freshman receiver had a total of five catches for 51 yards to his name. With All-American Marquise Brown hampered by a foot injury sustained in the Big 12 Championship game, somebody else needed to step up in his place. Behold the emergence of Charleston Rambo.
In retrospect, that incredible 49-yard touchdown connection between Kyler Murray and Rambo was bigger than the moment itself. On the night he totaled three grabs for 74 yards. Sure, it wasn’t nearly enough to bring the Sooners all the way back in that game, but it can still serve as the ideal springboard to a promising career for the Cedar Hill native now entering his third year at Oklahoma.
After redshirting in 2017, the former four-star recruit logged his first collegiate catch against Kansas State last October for a 17-yard gain and a first down.
Rambo also served as one of the receivers Kyler Murray threw passes to during his Pro Day session. Bestowing him with that responsibility spoke volumes about both the wideout’s own ability as well as the trust his coaches and teammates have in him. It’s a day this young man will remember for a long time, and he can brag if he wants to because he straight up balled out for K1.
Maybe Kyler’s best ball so far to Charleston Rambo. He’s 61/67. pic.twitter.com/Z9fawnxWng— George Stoia III (@GeorgeStoia) March 13, 2019
Following ‘Hollywood’ Brown’s departure to the NFL as a first round pick by the Baltimore Ravens, there’s a major void left to be filled in Lincoln Riley’s offense. Even with the highly touted receivers Oklahoma signed in the 2019 recruiting class, Rambo is as poised as anyone to take on a large portion of that responsibility.
With two and a half years in the system, eight catches for 125 yards on the season, plus that monstrous 49-yard TD snag on the brightest stage, Charleston Rambo is a player you shouldn’t have any trouble finding on the field this fall.
Follow Crimson & Cream Machine on Twitter!