Cotton Bowl notebook: Millard staying
BY ERIC BAILEY World Sports Writer
Saturday, January 05, 2013
1/05/13 at 3:18 AM
Trey Millard announced he will return for his senior season at Oklahoma following the Sooners' 41-13 Cotton Bowl loss to Texas A&M on Friday night.
What helped him make that decision?
"Just the camaraderie with some of the guys," said Millard, the Sooners' versatile fullback. "Some of my best friends that I'll ever have in life are playing for this team and will be back next year.
"I definitely want to finish out my senior year here and get my degree."
Millard said he was leaning toward staying before the loss.
"This game wasn't a major factor in the decision," Millard said.
OU juniors Tony Jefferson and Kenny Stills are players to watch. They might announce they are leaving school early for the NFL Draft.
Stopping Manziel: Oklahoma discovered, like many SEC schools, how difficult it is to stop Aggies quarterback Johnny Manziel.
The OU game plan, defensive tackle Casey Walker said, was to try to create a defensive pocket and keep the Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback from scrambling. The Sooners wanted Manziel to beat them with his arm.
"We couldn't execute, much less do anything tonight," defensive end David King said. "Johnny went out there and did everything that he has done all year.
"We had him contained and then all of a sudden he got away and makes a pinpoint throw."
Manziel finished with 516 yards of total offense, including a Cotton-Bowl record 229 rushing yards.
"Best player I think I've ever played," OU defensive coordinator Mike Stoops said. "He just does so many good things. Like I said, he's got magic. He's throwing the ball better than he did early in the season and he understands what they're doing.
"His offensive line does a great job stretching plays for him. He'll have a chance to win four (Heismans) if he stays healthy."
Saying good-bye: Oklahoma will bid farewell to a senior class that was trying to end their careers with four consecutive bowl victories.
It was a tough locker room, Millard said.
"That was the first time I've cried in the locker room after a season since high school," Millard said. "Being around these guys so much ... it's like your second family and it was an emotional loss."
Quarterback Landry Jones' OU career ended at Cowboys Stadium with a loss, just like it started.
"I can't say enough about my experience here at OU and the things I've gotten to do here," Jones said. "Coach (Josh) Heupel and coach (Bob) Stoops, you can't say enough about those guys."
Tough stretch: Oklahoma had first-half possessions that lasted 18 plays and 16 plays. Both resulted in field goals.
OU became the first Texas A&M opponent in eight games to score first-quarter points when Michael Hunnicutt connected on a 23-yard field goal. But it was the 16th play that had second-and-goal from the Aggies 1.
The team's second scoring drive lasted 18 plays and covered 87 yards in 7:26. It was the longest scoring drive of the season in terms of both plays and time.
Touchdowns were preferred, Heupel said.
"It's never what you want," the co-offensive coordinator said. "You get inside the 10, you want to put points up. They did a good job of stopping us at the goal line (on the first drive). The second one, they went into a drop eight and we weren't able to find an open window."