MOORE — When Gabe Ikard first arrived at Oklahoma in 2009, the program was coming off a loss in the BCS Championship to Florida. Even though it was a devastating defeat, he must have thought the Sooners would make it back to the title game during his time with the program.
After five years in Norman, the Sooners were unable to play for another BCS championship. Yet, Ikard may have experienced the next best thing when Oklahoma knocked off Alabama 45-31 in the at the Sugar Bowl.
“It’s great. Great feeling. Great way to end the year,” Ikard said. “Really happy for the seniors and myself. Really can’t ask for much of a better way to end a college football career. Really excited for our fans and the football program.
“It was a huge win for us and really puts things in motion. Kind of legitimizes us as still one of the premier programs in the country led by the premier coach in the country in coach (Bob) Stoops.”
During the run-up to the Sooners’ trip to New Orleans, Ikard was the one who was sent out to talk the media on almost every occasion. He had to respond to questions asking if the Sooners stood a chance of even being able to compete with the Crimson Tide.
At no point did the senior loss his cool. He would calmly let people know he liked his teams chances.
“Most people were saying it was impossible,” Ikard said. “But we didn’t listen to that. We knew it was Alabama versus Oklahoma. Not SEC versus Big 12. It wasn’t that they had more all-Americans. It wasn’t that for us.
For us, it was what do you see on tape and how can we take advantage of their weaknesses. That’s what we did. We played our best game of the year in all three phases of the game and just out-executed them.”