Bob Stoops against Oregon.

After Lincoln Riley left the Oklahoma Sooners’ football team for USC in late November, another prominent coach made the reverse trek from Los Angeles to Norman. That would be Bob Stoops, Oklahoma’s head coach from 1999-2016, whose current main job is as a college football analyst for Fox Sports (he replaced Urban Meyer in March after Meyer left for the Jacksonville Jaguars). In the wake of Riley’s departure, Stoops stepped in to serve as the Sooners’ interim head coach for their bowl game (Wednesday’s Alamo Bowl against the Oregon Ducks), and he produced some good results, leading Oklahoma to a 47-32 win.

Former Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables was announced as the new permanent Sooners’ head coach in early December, but he and Stoops worked together ahead of the bowl game, with Stoops focusing on bowl preparation and Venables focusing on recruiting and preparing for next year. And Stoops (seen above during this game) got an impressive performance out of this Oklahoma team; the Sooners were ranked 16th in the final CFP rankings and 14th in the final pre-playoff AP poll, versus #14 and #15 for Oregon, but came out firing early and put up a 30-3 lead by halftime, then survived a 22-14 third quarter to hang on for an eventual 15-point win. Here are some highlights from that, including a touchdown pass from Caleb Williams to Stoops’ son Drake (a redshirt junior receiver) and a touchdown run from Kennedy Brooks:

After the game, Oklahoma shifted focus back to their future coach in Venables, who addressed the crowd after receiving Stoops’ visor:

That’s a nice transition, and this interim arrangement with Stoops seemed to work out pretty well for all sides. Stoops got to coach again at a place that’s meant a lot to him, and he got to get a nice bowl win over a good team. Meanwhile, Oklahoma got a good, high-profile voice of security and continuity with strong ties to the program to step in in the wake of Riley’s sudden exit, and that probably helped limit the amount of quick transfers and bowl game opt-outs. And Venables got to spend his early days with the Sooners focused on building for the upcoming year rather than trying to quickly get to know a team ahead of a bowl game while also recruiting and building his future staff. There’s certainly some logic to this kind of interim coach arrangement, and it seemed to work out particularly well here.

[ESPN; photo from Daniel Dunn/USA Today Sports]

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz is a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. He previously worked at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.