Being the preseason No. 1 team, Oklahoma was already facing some disappointment playing in the Insight Bowl against Iowa. Losing to the Hawkeyes would have been worse.
Instead, the Sooners salvaged a 10-win season by holding on against a fourth quarter Iowa rally to beat Bob Stoops‘ alma mater 31-14. Oklahoma failed to accumulate 300 yards on offense and freshman quarterback Blake Bell was the team’s leading rusher with 51 yards and 3 touchdowns — the final one came with under a minute to play to seal the game for good.
But the Sooners made enough stops defensively — ESPN’s skycam did it’s part to stop the Hawkeyes offense too — to win the game and cap off a season of injury and heartbreak. Tonight, as ESPN reminnded us today, would have been Austin Box‘s last game with the Sooners. Box, a linebacker for the Sooners, tragically passed away over the summer. Tony Jefferson wore Box’s jersey this evening.
It was also the last game for Iowa defensive coordinator Norm Parker, who will hang up the headset after 13 seasons with coach Kirk Ferentz and 44 seasons as a collegiate coach. Earlier this month, Parker was named the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Assistant Coach of the Year.
The Sooners end the season at 10-3; Iowa falls to 7-6 to end a disappointing 2011 campaign.