Sugar Bowl Preps: Stoops and Malzahn speak with media
NEW ORLEANS, LA- Sunday morning marked the final media availability before Monday night's Sugar Bowl between 7th ranked Oklahoma and 17th ranked Auburn. Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops and Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn posed for pictures in front of the trophy and proceeded to answer questions during a formal press conference.
OU is making its 50th bowl appearance and its 8th in the Sugar Bowl, the most of any program not in the SEC. The Sooners go for their 10th straight win, as they've already recorded their 14th season of at least 10 wins under Stoops. He is 6-4 against teams from the Southeastern Conference, including the last three matchups.
"Our offensive line has done an excellent job of gelling as we went through the season, just getting better and better," said Stoops. "We're going to face a great defensive line. The two guys that really stick out are Carl Lawson and Montravius Adams, great players up there. But all the guys that rotate in there with them do an excellent job with them, so really physical, active, upfront, so it will be a challenge."
"I think it all starts with the pass rush and the front line," said OU quarterback Baker Mayfield. "I think they allow their linebackers and secondary to play very aggressive, and you have that, it makes a lot of plays happen. You can just down a run game and force people to pass and that's when they play well."
The Tigers' defense enters the Sugar Bowl ranked fifth nationally in scoring defense (15.6 ppg) and 20th in total defense (348.4 ypg). On the other hand, the Sooners rank third in the country in scoring offense (44.7 ppg), total offense (557.3 ypg) and are first in pass efficiency rating (194.9).
"Our defense has played well all year and they're going to have to play well again tomorrow night," said Malzahn. "It's a huge challenge. The quarterback, I'm very impressed with him. He's an outstanding playmaker, he makes good decisions when things break down. He plays with that edge. All the big time quarterbacks have that edge. He has that."
The Sooners and Tigers face off in the Sugar Bowl Monday night at 7:30 pm.