Sammie Stroughter, a third-team Associated Press All-American, and the No. 24 OSU Beavers defeated Missouri 39-38 in the Brut Sun Bowl in El Paso, Texas.

Sammie Stroughter and the OSU football team will head to the Sun Bowl
Sammie Stroughter and the OSU football team will head to the Sun Bowl

Wide receiver Sammie Stroughter played a big role in OSU’s success in football this season. He set a school record by returning three punts for touchdowns, ranked fifth in the nation and second in the Pac-10 in punt return yards per attempt, and was among the best receivers in the nation with 66 catches for more than 1,200 yards.

But football isn’t his entire life. When he’s off the field, Stroughter loves working with children. He says one of his dreams in life is to run a Boys and Girls Club somewhere. Before that, he says, he wants “to graduate from college with a 3.0 GPA and inspire others to do the same.”

The junior sociology major from Roseville, Calif., says his mother, Andrea Brown, is his biggest hero “for being both my mom and dad. I’ve never seen someone work so hard in my life.”

He knows the value of college to his future, and he says the most unforgettable moment of his life was “finding out I had received a scholarship for college. The look on my mother’s face was priceless, knowing that I was the first person in my family to go to college.”

Although the Beavers finished third in the Pac-10 to earn a spot in the Brut Sun Bowl this season, that success wasn’t a sure thing early on. When the Beavers lost three of their first five football games, a winning season and a bowl game looked like a long shot.

Now, with eight wins in their final nine games, including the Sun Bowl victory and thrilling last-minute victories over Rose-Bowl-bound USC, Oregon and Hawaii, the Beavers are ranked in the top 25 nationally.

“I’m really proud of the football team and have been all year long,” OSU head coach Mike Riley said after the Sun Bowl victory. “It was just another example of their heart, their character and their determination.”

OSU football Web site

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