November 24, 2012

Sooners victorious in Bedlam overtime thriller

NORMAN, Okla. — The No. 13 Oklahoma football team needed overtime to beat No. 21 Oklahoma State in Norman on Saturday in its second straight high-scoring nail-biter.

The Sooners won the game 51-48, and improved to 9-2 this season, 7-1 in Big 12 play. Oklahoma State dropped to 7-4, 5-3 in conference play.

“First, hats off to [Oklahoma State head] coach Mike Gundy and the Oklahoma State team, playing a really hard-fought game all night,” OU head coach Bob Stoops said. “Fortunately, we were able to make a few more plays down the stretch to win it.”

Landry Jones set the school record for both completions and passing attempts in a game, going 46-for-71 for 500 yards and three touchdowns, with one interception.

“Some days you’re going to throw it a little bit more than others,” Jones said with a laugh after the game. “At the end of the game I didn’t really realize how much we threw it until someone came up and told me. I’m sure I’ll have to put some ice [on my shoulder].”

Three Oklahoma receivers had more than 100 yards. Justin Brown led the way with 15 catches for 146 yards, Jalen Saunders caught 10 passes for 162 yards and one touchdown, and Kenny Stills had nine catches for 103 yards and one touchdown. Fullback Trey Millard had the other receiving touchdown for the Sooners.

Oklahoma State was in control of the game early on, scoring the first two touchdowns of the game in the first quarter. Cowboys quarterback Clint Chelf had success running the ball early on, setting up running back Joseph Randle for two early touchdowns.

“I knew coming in that I was going to have to be a ball carrier and take some shots and get up and show the team that it doesn’t matter what happens, just keep fighting,” Chelf said. “I was trying to do that.”

Chelf ran for 67 yards on seven carries in the first half, including a 38-yard run. He finished with 81 yards on 12 carries, and threw for 253 yards, one touchdown and one interception on 19-for-37 passing.

“I definitely know he has it in him,” Randle said of Chelf. “He played great, and he kept his composure in a hostile environment and our team played pretty good.”

Randle was the Cowboys’ leading rusher with 116 yards and four touchdowns on 21 carries, but wasn’t interested in dwelling on his individual success.

“Right now, it don’t really matter,” Randle said. “All that really matters is whether you got the win or the loss and we came up short.”

OU rallied to tie the game at 24 at halftime, and the two teams went back-and-forth for the rest of the game. The Sooners tied the game at 45 with a touchdown by backup quarterback Blake Bell with just four seconds remaining in regulation.

The Sooners had gotten the ball back from Oklahoma State with 6:18 to play. Initially, the plan was not to take the rest of the fourth quarter on the scoring drive, said offensive coordinator Josh Heupel.

“It’s not necessarily what the plan was in the first part of the drive, but as it went on, that was kind of the scenario that played out,” Heupel said. “We did a good job of handling the clock, executing, and shifting guys in and out.”

Oklahoma State got the ball first in the overtime, but the OU defense held the Cowboys to a field goal. On OU’s second play of its overtime possession, running back Brennan Clay took an inside handoff 18 yards for the game-winning touchdown.

Clay was Oklahoma’s leading rusher with 60 yards on 13 carries and one touchdown.

After passing the ball 73 times as a team, it was three straight running plays that won the game at the end for the OU offense.

“I believe in those guys, and their ability to execute,” Heupel said of his running backs.

The Sooners will close out the regular season with a road game against TCU on Dec. 1, with the time of the game to be determined. Oklahoma State will play at Baylor on Dec. 1, game time to be announced later.

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