The last time Oklahoma and Oklahoma State took the field, the Sooners hit the deck early and didn’t even try to get back up. OU staggered through an array of haymakers from the Cowboys on Saturday night and came out victorious on the other end with a thrilling 51-48 overtime win in a Bedlam classic.
All of Oklahoma’s flaws were exposed again by the Cowboys. OSU’s offensive line beat up OU’s beleaguered front four, allowing the Pokes to run for more than 200 yards on 5 yards per carry. Spotty tackling occasionally enabled OSU ball carriers to turn 3-yard gains into 12. The Sooners’ running game was off and on, with a lot of off. Landry Jones had a befuddling boner.
Still, the Sooners proved a week ago that they had stones noticeably absent from previous OU teams, and they were on display again in this game. The Sooners trailed by 14 points for much of the first half and went down 11 to the Pokes late in the third quarter. Like the wild win against West Virginia, however, OU was able to string together a late scoring drive that sent the game into extra time.
The biggest cojones of all may belong to OU’s starting quarterback. As he has done so many times throughout Landry Jones’ four years as OU’s starter, Bob Stoops pinned his team’s hopes on the veteran’s right arm. On Senior Day, the ‘Stache delivered. All in all, Jones (46-of-71, 500 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT) might have given the best performance of his career in his final appearance at Owen Field.
However, as well as Jones played, maybe the most stunning part of a stunning game was the number of players who made huge plays throughout the game for Oklahoma. Brennan Clay ran with authority late in the game, including on the game-winning score in overtime. He joined four other Sooners who found the end zone in the game. Three OU wide receivers went over 100 yards receiving, a group that included Jalen Saunders, who added an 81-yard punt return for a touchdown. Six defenders made stops behind the line of scrimmage. Aaron Colvin had two of them, both sacks, to go along with an interception.
And on and on. That should mean something.
Close scrapes against teams like West Virginia and OSU won’t satisfy a fan base that typically doesn’t recognize wins by margins that can be counted on two hands. Sooner Nation won’t like admitting that OSU has all but closed whatever gap once existed between its program and OU, either.
Unfortunately, wishing things were different doesn’t change anything: OU doesn’t have an elite team this year. The Sooners are missing plenty of pieces that squads such as Alabama and Notre Dame possess.
Unlike past years, however, this year’s edition of the Crimson and Cream have shown a sense of resiliency that predecessors have lacked. It’s not a dominant team, but the past two weeks have been more fun than any OU has had in a while. After watching last year’s more talented squad crumble down the stretch, it’s a welcome change.