Oklahoma Notebook: Sooners' top receiver sidelined with early injury

Idaho StatesmanJanuary 2, 2007 

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Oklahoma's top receiver Malcolm Kelly was injured in the first half and did not return.

Kelly, a sophomore, made 62 catches for 993 yards and 10 touchdowns during the regular season.

In Kelly's absence, Manuel Johnson and Juaquin Iglesias were the top targets for Sooner quarterback Paul Thompson.

Kelly remained dressed on the sideline, but did not wear his helmet. OU sports information director Kenny Mossman confirmed Kelly was hurt, but said it is against school policy to disclose injuries during a game.

Raising the roof

The retractable roof at the University of Phoenix Stadium stayed shut for pregame ceremonies and the first half.

Original plans had been for the roof to be open during pregame ceremonies for paratroopers to descend in. Bowl officials nixed that plan because of safety concerns.

The pregame featured a military choir doing renditions of "America The Beautiful" and "The Star Spangled Banner," the latter performed as a flag the size of the field was unfurled.

The roof was partially opened at halftime, then closed in the third.

Alexander honored

Oklahoma linebacker Rufus Alexander was the recipient of the Fiesta Bowl's annual sportsmanship award.

Alexander, a senior linebacker from Baton Rouge, La., made a game-high 17 tackles and was a big reason why the Broncos finished with just 110 yards rushing.

Fourteen of his tackles were of the solo variety, and the consensus Big 12 defensive player of the year and All-American also forced a fumble, made two tackles for loss and had 1› sacks for seven yards.

Coaching Challenge

Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops used a coach's challenge on BSU's first offensive possession. He challenged the spot on a catch by BSU tight end Derek Schouman that gave the Broncos a first down.

BSU came out in a crazy formation on the next play — linemen were split wide — when Stoops threw the flag.

The call stood on the field, and BSU quarterback Jared Zabransky hit Drisan James on the next play for a 49-yard touchdown.

Family gets a house

Fiesta Bowl officials surprised a local family at halftime by informing them that Habitat for Humanity will build them a home.

The one-week "blitz build" will be completed by fans of Ohio State and Florida, the teams participating in next week's BCS National Championship game at the University of Phoenix Stadium.

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