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Bedlam reigns again as Sooners deny OSU a BCS bid
Stillwater, OK (SportsNetwork.com) - Beating a rival is a blissful event. Thwarting an adversary's bid at a conference championship makes the triumph even sweeter.
The 18th-ranked Oklahoma Sooners played spoiler on Saturday afternoon, topping Oklahoma State by a 33-24 score in the latest edition of the Bedlam Series while also denying the No. 6 Cowboys the Big 12 title and the conference's automatic BCS bid.
Blake Bell, subbing for an injured Trevor Knight, threw the go-ahead, 7-yard touchdown pass to Jalen Saunders with 19 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter.
Oklahoma answered Desmond Roland's 1-yard touchdown run, which had given the Cowboys a 24-20 lead a little over a minute earlier.
The decisive Oklahoma drive began with 1:46 to play and two Sterling Shepard catches along with a defensive pass interference penalty set up a first down at the Oklahoma State 30.
Saunders, who returned a punt for the Sooners' first touchdown, made a 13-yard grab on 3rd-and-10 and a 10-yard Brennan Clay reception preceded the game- winning score.
On the game's final play, a desperation lateral led to an Oklahoma State fumble that Eric Striker returned for a 3-yard touchdown.
Bell had 140 yards on 10-of-16 passing in relief of Knight, who injured his non-throwing shoulder late in the opening half.
Clay totaled 70 yards on 24 carries for Oklahoma (10-2, 7-2 Big 12), which defeated a Cowboys team that had won seven games in a row and snapped Oklahoma State's home winning streak at nine games.
Clint Chelf completed 19-of-35 passes for 200 yards with a touchdown and an interception for the Cowboys (10-2, 7-2), who needed a win to secure their second conference title in three years and earn, in all likelihood, a spot in the Fiesta Bowl. They will instead finish in a three-way tie for second in the league standings, one game behind Baylor, which beat Texas in a de facto title game later Saturday.
"I'm very proud of our players for what they've done up to this point," said Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy. "I told them that in the locker room. I'm certainly not disappointed in them; I'm just disappointed for them because they've been a really good group for us. They've been fun to coach and be around and just to see how they've developed as a team. Unfortunately, we just came up a little bit short today."
Roland rushed 21 times for 144 yards and two scores and he also caught a TD pass.
Both teams capitalized on turnovers in the third quarter.
Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops initially went to Kendal Thompson at quarterback following the injury to Knight. The redshirt sophomore was picked off to begin the second half and the takeaway resulted in Roland's 15-yard TD catch.
Later in the frame, it was Chelf's turn to throw an interception. A 37-yard dash by Saunders on a double reverse set up a first-and-goal at the OSU 7. Daytawion Lowe dislodged a would-be TD pass to Brannon Green on third down.
The Sooners were in formation to attempt a field goal, but ran a fake and the holder Grant Bothun threw an 8-yard TD pass to kicker Michael Hunnicutt, tying the game at 17-17 with 2:35 left in the third.
"I felt at that point, here we are on our third quarterback and I just thought a field goal wasn't going to be good enough," Stoops said. "I knew we were going to need more than that, we had a numbers advantage out to that side and the way they were lining up and it worked out that way. Grant Bothun and Hunnicutt executed it really well."
Hunnicutt drilled a 39-yarder to put Oklahoma up 20-17 with 10:01 to go in the fourth quarter.
The Cowboys appeared to get off to an electrifying start, but Roland's 75-yard TD run on the opening snap from scrimmage was called back because of a holding penalty.
Oklahoma got into Cowboys territory on both of its first two possessions, but were forced to punt and twice downed the ball at the Oklahoma State 1-yard line.
The Cowboys, starting from the shadow of their own end zone a second time, orchestrated a 10-play, 99-yard drive that Roland capped with a short TD run.
Oklahoma State went three-and-out on its next drive and Saunders tied the game by returning the ensuing punt 64 yards for a touchdown with 18 seconds to go in the first quarter.
The Cowboys looked to counter and Roland's 51-yard scamper highlighted the team's march to the Oklahoma 1. However, the Sooners came up with a huge goal-line stand as Roland was stopped for a loss on fourth down.
Oklahoma State did regain the lead on Ben Grogan's 41-yard field goal, but the Sooners knotted the score again on Hunnicutt's 21-yarder with 38 seconds left in the second quarter.
The Oklahoma game-tying drive consisted of 15 plays, including a fourth-down conversion. Facing a 4th-and-1 at the Oklahoma State 44, Knight moved the chains with a play fake and an option pitch to Saunders, who ran for 12 yards.
Knight was shaken up on the play prior to the Hunnicutt field goal when he was forced to scramble and knocked out of bounds at the Oklahoma State 4.
The Sooners have registered at least 10 wins in a season for the 12th time under Stoops ... Hunnicutt set a single-season OU record with 23 field goals ... Saunders became the first Oklahoma player with multiple punt return TDs in a season since Antonio Perkins had four in 2003 ... The Cowboys have forced at least one turnover in 20 straight games.
12/07 19:08:46 ET
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