What a week… The football scheduling gods smiled down on the Big 12 this week and fans were treated to an outstanding weekend of football even though it was spread across only two games. We had 3 teams with identical league records all vying for the Big 12 Championship. All 4 teams were playing for a BCS bowl berth with respective wins and had the possibility to drop all the way to the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl with a loss. This truly was a lay-it-on-the-line weekend with Bedlam kicking things off at 11 in Stillwater and the encore at 2:30 played by Texas and Baylor in Waco.
There had to be a price to pay for such an outstanding pair of games. Jack Frost sat in his frozen weather station giggling… Both games were affected by atypical arctic weather, which brought ice and snow to the roadways and into the stadiums. The fans that attended these games were rewarded in both cases with tingling, frozen extremities and amazing football.
Oklahoma 33 @ Oklahoma State 24
Throw everything out of the window when you have a major rivalry game. The result is never predictable regardless of the statistics and line going in. Although Oklahoma has won 9 of the last 10 Bedlam matches, Oklahoma State has been peaking at the right time and Stillwater has been a shut-down location for visitors (just ask any Baylor fan…).
I am sure that if you would have asked Coach Gundy if he would accept having the opponent's starting quarterback out for a big chunk of the game and having more yards passing and rushing than Oklahoma while holding the Oklahoma offense to 6 points through 59 minutes and 41 seconds, he would take that deal every time. Unfortunately for Coach Gundy and OSU it was just the sort of game. All of those things came true, but turnovers, general mistakes, lack of finishing drives and dreadful special teams play doomed the Cowboys. Oklahoma by no means played a solid game, their offense scored a touchdown for the first time with 19 seconds left on the clock. They figured out a way to win though, and that was all that mattered;.
The game got off to a great start for the Pokes with a 75-yard rushing touchdown by Desmond Roland on the first play from scrimmage. Unfortunately it was called back due to a holding penalty. The pokes had 3 penalties on their first series, which was uncharacteristic of their normally effective offense. Those mistakes ended up being a portent for the future. The Cowboys did score midway through the first quarter and seemed to take some of the momentum with them
The OSU defense was stifling the Sooner offensive attack and through the first quarter the Sooners had 3 first downs and were going nowhere. They got the spark they needed though from Jalen Saunders with 1:13 left in the quarter. He made a routine punt return look not so routine and 64 yards later had tied the ballgame. OSU 7 – OU Special Teams 7.
2 minutes into the second quarter the Cowboys were lined up first and goal and ready to re-take the lead. They had gotten there on a Desmond Roland 51 yard dash. Four straight runs later the Sooners took over on downs at the 2 yardline. An opportunity squandered by the Pokes. They did get the ball back after a 3 and out and came away with a field goal to make the score 10-7 with 8:40 left in the half.
The Sooners first sustained drive came at the end of the second quarter with Brennan Clay hammering the defensive line time and time again. The field goal that resulted knotted the score at 10 going into halftime. Trevor Knight dislocated his shoulder on a goal line run immediately prior to the field goal and would not be seen again in the game.
To start the second half, Kendal Thompson of play-my-son radio fame, came into the game in relief of the injured Trevor Knight. His first play from scrimmage was an interception. Clint Chelf proceeded to turn the takeaway into a touchdown with a brilliant series of passes. He hit Brandon Sheperd for 38 and the TD pass of 15 yards went to Desmond Roland out of the backfield. OSU clearly was in position to take over the game with a red-hot start to the second half. The game began to stall though with both teams trading 3-and-outs. Late in the third though after a Julian Wilson interception of a Chelf pass and a 37-yard run from Saunders, the Sooners were again in position to tie the ball with first and goal. 3 straight plays and -1 yards later, the field goal unit trotted onto the field and executed a downright beautiful fake. Holder Grant Bothun to placekicker Michael Hunnicut in the corner of the endzone and just like that the score was tied again at 17. OSU 17 – OU Special Teams 14, OU Offense 3.
OU took its first lead of the game early in the fourth quarter on another Hunnicut field goal. The drive was helped by a 15-yard pass interference penalty on OSU. It just seemed that the game was slipping away at this point. If I were in the shoes of an OSU fan I would be thinking, "I can’t believe we are losing this game, what the heck is going on, frustrated…". OU fans were saying, "kind of lucky that we are where we are with 14 points from special teams, but hey, we have a chance to win this thing…"
OSU was not about to roll over and with 1:46 on the clock and another brilliant set of passes by Chelf, Roland took it over the line for a 24-20 lead. Chelf completed 4 passes in a row on the drive that covered 84 yards. OSU was trying to administer the coup-de-grace and with the struggles that the OU offense was having (6 points total production) it seemed likely that OSU was going to hang on to win.
With Blake Bell at the helm and doing his best Clint Chelf impression, the Sooners drove straight down the field and proved that they still had some fight in them. With 19 seconds on the clock, Bell hooked up with who else but Jalen Saunders, in the corner of the endzone to take a 27-24 lead.
After a crazy, hail-Mary pitch-back returned by the defense for a touchdown disaster, OU stood on top 33-24. OSU 24 - OU Defense/Special Teams 21 + OU Offense 13
Monday Morning Quarterback
What a heck of a weekend. For those of us, a record 51,728 of us I might add, in Waco on Saturday afternoon, we were thoroughly frozen and utterly content at the end of the night. A hotly contested first half shifted into a Baylor run-away win in the second with Case McCoy forced to throw. The defense came to play and the offense got on track. KJ, we all know that touchdown was yours, but it was nice to see Glasco put the nail in the coffin one play later.
Storming the field for the Case Closeout was an outstanding experience as well. After going to games in Floyd Casey for almost 40 years, this was an absolute perfect ending to the Floyd Casey era. Take that back, another 35 degrees on the mercury would have made it perfect. Everything else was spot-on though.
Everything seemed to fall into place throughout the whole weekend for the Bears and a BCS berth, from the Bowling Green Falcon victory, to the crazy finish in Bedlam, but none of it mattered without a Baylor win over Texas. On a frigid night in Waco the 2013 Baylor Bears were not to be denied.
Congratulations Bears on a huge win, an 11 win season, a Big 12 Championship, and a BCS bowl game. You deserve the praise.
Sic UCF, 11-1