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OU football: CeeDee Lamb, Brendan 'Bookie' Radley-Hiles talk excitement of playing in Rose Bowl

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CeeDee Lamb

Freshman wide receiver CeeDee Lamb attempts to catch the ball during the Rose Bowl against Georgia Jan. 1.

No. 5 Oklahoma (2-0) will take the field against UCLA (0-2) Saturday in one of college football's most historic stadiums: the Rose Bowl.

The stadium, initially built in 1922, has housed some classic games in its time. National championships, College Football Playoff games, Super Bowls and even an Army-Navy game in 1983.

The last time the Sooners played here, however, ended in heartbreak. In the 2018 College Football Playoff semifinal, the Sooners squandered a 31-14 lead to Georgia and lost 48-45 in double overtime.

The game ended a magical run by the Sooners, highlighted by quarterback Baker Mayfield's Heisman Trophy win and the emergence of Lincoln Riley as one of the game's best head coaches in his first year on the job. 

Junior wide receiver CeeDee Lamb was in his first year at Oklahoma when the game was played. But even in his first year, Lamb was a critical part of the offense by hauling in 46 catches and seven touchdowns.

Now, he's the Sooners' top target and one of the nation's premiere wide receivers. 

"That was kind of my second favorite game here," Lamb said. "Obviously it didn't end well, but it was definitely a very memorable game ... with a lot of NFL guys on the field. Me being young, you learn a lot. It was a great experience and a learning experience for sure."

In what is likely his last year of playing college football, it's unclear when Lamb will get to play at the Rose Bowl again. Despite that, Lamb stays focused on the game first as opposed to worrying about the sentimental significance of it. 

"At the end of the day, you still gotta go play football," Lamb said. "It's not necessarily mandatory for me to think about where I'm playing. After the game, if we win, then I'll get to think about it." 

The game even serves importance for some players who weren't on the 2017-18 Sooners team, most notably sophomore defensive back Brendan "Bookie" Radley-Hiles.

The reigning Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week hails from Inglewood, California. At the time of the 2018 Rose Bowl, Radley-Hiles had just completed his senior season at IMG Academy. 

On Jan. 6, 2018 — five days after the game — Radley-Hiles committed to Oklahoma and enrolled about a month later. 

It will be the first game Radley-Hiles has played in California since high school, so naturally, it holds significance for him.

"The UCLA vs. USC game was a tradition of ours that my family and I would go to," Radley-Hiles said. "Playing college football, the Rose Bowl is just going to be a major venue to play at, so I'm just thankful for the opportunity."

The Bruins and Sooners will kick off at 5:00 p.m. CT Saturday in Pasadena, California. 

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