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SPORTS
January 2, 2003 | Steve Henson, Times Staff Writer
Andre Woolfolk smiled and the gleaming metal of his braces distracted attention from the bandage on his chin. It was a fitting image. The cornerback was a key part of an Oklahoma secondary that proved its mettle in the Rose Bowl after taking it on the chin in two November losses.
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SPORTS
January 2, 2003 | David Wharton, Times Staff Writer
It was only a fluke, a quirk of the convoluted BCS machinery, that put Oklahoma in the Rose Bowl on New Year's Day. The Sooners came in place of the customary Big Ten representative. They had never made the trip to Pasadena before and, as far as they knew, might never be back. So, as linebacker Teddy Lehman said, "We wanted to enjoy ourselves while we had the chance."
SPORTS
January 2, 2003 | Randy Harvey
Life could be gloomier today in the Palouse. Instead of Mike Price coaching his last game for Washington State on Wednesday in the Rose Bowl, Bill Doba could have been coaching his first game for the Cougars. Imagine how Washington State fans would have felt if they had been ringing in the new coach with a 34-14 drubbing by Oklahoma. So, as it turns out, Price did the decent thing by coaching the Cougars one more time. This was his loss. The Bill Doba era begins next season without a blemish.
SPORTS
January 2, 2003 | Steve Henson, Shav Glick and Robyn Norwood, Times Staff Writers
Someday Quentin Griffin might regret turning down an offer to return to the Rose Bowl game with less than two minutes to play to chase an Oklahoma rushing record. This, however, was not the day. "I didn't want to go out there just to pad my stats," he said. Griffin, a senior tailback, rushed for 144 yards to finish with 1,884, eight behind the record set by Billy Sims in 1978.
SPORTS
January 1, 2003 | David Wharton, Times Staff Writer
Now that game day has finally arrived, everyone involved with the 89th Rose Bowl can take a deep breath and relax. No more grumbling. No more angry faxes and e-mails. No more schizophrenic news conferences where three coaches show up for two teams. Tournament of Roses officials can only hope the action between Washington State and Oklahoma on the field this afternoon is half as entertaining as the preceding machinations.
SPORTS
December 30, 2002 | David Wharton, Times Staff Writer
Squinting in the glare of a Southern California afternoon, his team just finished with practice, Oklahoma quarterback Nate Hybl said he doesn't mind playing in the shadows. The senior from Hazlehurst, Ga., ranks as one of the top passers in school history and owns a 19-3 record as a starter over the last two seasons.
SPORTS
December 29, 2002 | David Wharton, Times Staff Writer
The scoreboard glowed dumbly that gray afternoon, the clock melted down to zeros, no question about the outcome. Oklahoma had lost, 7-0, to Notre Dame, yet the Sooners could not believe it. "The players didn't leave the field," recalls Joe Rector, a tight end on the team. "I just got down on my knees and stayed there for what felt like an hour." Fans in Oklahoma Memorial Stadium were dumbstruck, planted in their seats.
SPORTS
December 28, 2002 | David Wharton, Times Staff Writer
When defensive linemen and linebackers have an off day, it rarely makes the highlight films. Cornerbacks aren't as fortunate. "With cornerbacks," Andre Woolfolk said, "we're the last ones that people see chasing the guy into the end zone." Woolfolk and his teammates in the Oklahoma secondary suffered that indignity twice this season, when Texas A&M and Oklahoma State connected on long touchdown passes and handed the Sooners their only two defeats.
SPORTS
December 28, 2002 | David Wharton, Times Staff Writer
Returning to Pasadena elicits vivid memories from Oklahoma offensive coordinator Chuck Long, who played in the Rose Bowl twice as a quarterback for Iowa. Long was the starter when the Hawkeyes faced UCLA in the 1986 Rose Bowl, but his favorite story dates to the 1982 game against Washington when he was a young reserve. With Iowa behind, 28-0, late in the fourth quarter, then-coach Hayden Fry turned to the bench and asked the freshman if he wanted to enter the game and get on national television.
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