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Sports > Mizzou > Story
Bradford adds to outstanding season
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
12/02/2007
Big 12 Championship
Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford delivers a completion against Mizzou in the Big 12 Championship game.

SAN ANTONIO — With the names of Missouri's Chase Daniel, Florida's Tim Tebow and Arkansas' Darren McFadden being bandied about, the Heisman Trophy hopes of Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford will have to wait.

But not for long.

Bradford, the Sooners' redshirt freshman, is in the midst of a record-breaking season and will probably find himself counted among the nation's elite players for years to come.

Saturday, in the Big 12 championship game at the Alamodome, Bradford turned in a workmanlike effort as the Sooners captured their fifth league title in eight seasons, defeating Missouri 38-17. And Bradford, who completed 18 of 26 passes for 209 yards and two touchdowns, becomes the fifth Sooner signal-caller to lead his team to a Big 12 championship.


"Sam was fantastic, but that's the way he's played all season,'' Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said. "His poise, his numbers, they stack up with all the quarterbacks people are talking about. He doesn't have to take a backseat to anybody.''

In Saturday's victory, the Sooners relied on a balanced attack, getting two touchdown runs from Chris Brown and another from Allen Patrick. But Bradford made the plays to get Oklahoma into the red zone for those rushing scores and also hooked up with Jermaine Greshman and Joe Jon Finley on 5-yard touchdown passes in the second half.

"It was a great team effort,'' Bradford said. "The defense was incredible, and we finally got it going a little offensively there in the second half.''

Bradford may be the fifth different quarterback to lead the Sooners to the Big 12 title, but the others were seniors.

— Josh Heupel, the team's current quarterbacks coach, was the Heisman Trophy runner-up after leading the Sooners in a 27-24 victory over Kansas State in the 2000 game. The Sooners would go on to win the national championship that season.

— Nate Hybl was at the helm in 2002 as the Sooners defeated Colorado 29-7 for the Big 12 title.

— In 2004, Oklahoma blasted Colorado 42-3 as eventual Heisman winner Jason White threw for three first-half touchdowns and then-freshman Adrian Peterson ran for 171 yards and three scores. In 2003, White finished third in the Heisman voting.

— Last year, Paul Thompson threw a pair of touchdown passes to Malcolm Kelly and directed the longest scoring drive in Big 12 Championship Game history — an 11-play, 99-yarder — to help the Sooners beat Nebraska 21-7.

Bradford, who entered Saturday's game as the national leader in passer efficiency (182.2) and with the NCAA record for touchdown passes by a freshman (32), is among the 10 nominated for the 2007 Manning Award, which is presented annually to the nation's top quarterback. That who's who list also includes Missouri's Daniel and Florida's Tebow as well as Boston College's Matt Ryan, West Virginia's Patrick White, Tennessee's Erik Ainge, Hawaii's Colt Brennan, Oregon's Dennis Dixon, Texas Tech's Graham Harrell and Kentucky's André Woodson.

Entering Saturday's game, Bradford had completed better than 70 percent of his passes while throwing for 2,670 yards. In 282 attempts before Saturday, he had been picked off just seven times.

Bradford is from Oklahoma City and is a certified Cherokee Indian.His father, Kent, lettered as an offensive lineman with the Sooners in 1977 and 1978.

jlyons@post-dispatch.com | 636-255-7205
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