The Sooners had never scored a last-minute, come-from-behind win in Bob Stoops’ storied career at Oklahoma. But Saturday night OU’s maligned senior quarterback Landry Jones calmly marched the offense down the field on a six-play, 54-yard scoring drive, tossing a 6-yard touchdown pass to Kenny Stills on fourth down with 24 seconds left in the game to cap a dramatic 50-49 win over West Virginia.
On a night when the OU defense got flat-out torched, the Sooners needed every single bit of Jones’ 554 passing yards and 6 TDs to avoid losing their first-ever game against the Mountaineers as conference mates. Speedy WVU scatback Tavon Austin abused OU’s struggling run D for 344 yards on the ground and 2 TDs. He added another 82 yards through the air for good measure. Stedman Bailey, Austin’s prolific partner in crime, caught 13 passes for 205 yards and 4 TDs.
To be fair, the 'Stache had a hand in contributing to OU’s near-demise, too, tossing a head-scratching interception in the second half to kill a promising OU scoring drive. Even so, he more than atoned for the gaffe with his clutch play late.
In and of itself, beating the Mountaineers doesn’t really amount to much. Neither does putting a whooping on WVU’s putrid defense. No matter how prolific the opponent’s attack, OU should never give up nearly 800 yards to anyone.
In the greater scheme of things, however, the Sooners shook off some major monkeys in the win.
This had all the makings of OU’s typical November collapses. (I predicted a loss – so much for blatant homerism.) The Sooners have a well-earned reputation for playing with a hand around their collective throat. When the going gets tough, OU has packed it in more often than Stoops and Sooner Nation would like to admit. A night game on the road against a fired-up opponent fits right in with the kind of spot where the fragile Crimson and Cream crater.
Wins in tight games for the Sooners – when they actually do win – usually come down to OU holding on against an upstart. OU plays passively, allowing teams to hang around and rally. Not this time.
OU has plenty of work left to do this year, and all of the Sooners’ glaring flaws were on display against the Mountaineers. For once, though, the Sooners can relish that they were the ones to take their destiny into their own hands and pull out a gritty win.